Collaborations will Speed Improvements in Health

Collaborations will Speed Improvements in Health

By Kelly Brooks-Staub

Illustration by Becky Heavner

“Science moves forward more rapidly when research integrates knowledge from several disciplines to solve specific health problems,” says Victoria Mock, DNSc, ACCN, FAAN. That’s the philosophy behind the creation of the Center for Collaborative Intervention Research (CCIR), the school’s newest initiative to advance knowledge that promotes health and improves health services.


Through start-up funding and the provision of centralized resources, the new center will act as a catalyst to stimulate research alliances among health care disciplines at Johns Hopkins—including Nursing, Public Health, and Medicine—and between health care organizations and institutions. “All funded center studies will have an interdisciplinary team,” notes Mock, the CCIR’s director and principal investigator. The center is funded by a five-year, $1.59-million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health.

The center will start this year with three pilot studies, which are being conducted by School of Nursing researchers Hae-ra Han, Linda Rose, and Benita Walton-Moss.
Hae-ra Han, PhD, RN, is collaborating with the Korean Resource Center, located in Ellicott City, Maryland, to develop a training program for nurse/community health worker teams to support Korean American seniors with hypertension and diabetes. Han plans to recruit and train one supervising nurse and 10 community health workers to promote chronic disease management, minimize complications from chronic illnesses, and enhance health-related quality of life in Korean American seniors. “As our health systems are not adequately equipped to provide culturally competent care,” says Han, “caring for these linguistically isolated individuals in home settings is not only a better financial solution but also a way to preserve fundamental human dignity in the later stage of an individual’s life.”

Linda Rose, PhD, RN, is collaborating with the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry to study transitional care for the mentally ill. “This study addresses a major gap in follow-up services for persons with severe mental illness and their families,” says Rose. “The long-term goal is to provide community-based care to patients and families that is feasible, cost-effective, and enhances their well-being and quality of life.” Rose will work with 10 patients and their families over the course of two months, providing
assistance with discharge planning, health assessment, and intervention, and enhancing their skills in managing both the illness and treatment.

Benita J. Walton-Moss, DNS, RNCS, FNP, is working with the House of Ruth domestic violence shelter and the Program for Alcohol and Other Drug Dependencies (PAODD) at the Johns Hopkins Hospital to examine a new way to address issues of domestic violence for women in substance abuse treatment. “The coexistence of domestic violence (DV) and substance abuse among women represents difficult treatment challenges particularly in drug treatment settings,” says Walton-Moss. “Our study will help determine whether having a peer helper intervention can benefit women more than existing group therapy.” Two women in a group therapy program will be recruited as peer helpers, receiving training from a nurse supervisor, an expert in substance abuse, and an expert in domestic violence. Women from the group will be compared to a control group for outcomes including domestic violence incidence, social support, safety, and drug use.

Mock predicts the CCIR will strengthen research initiatives, promote the development of knowledge by fostering greater collaboration among investigators from various disciplines, and create an environment for established scientists to mentor developing investigators.

“The center will encourage research faculty who have previously worked independently in individual research programs to bridge new paradigms through interdisciplinary research,” Mock predicts. “As a result, the studies facilitated by the center will improve the rigor, depth, breadth, and cross-disciplinary nature of intervention research, and research findings can be more readily applied in clinical practice to improve health.”


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