TSET Health Promotion Research Center Awards Seed Grants

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TSET Health Promotion Research Center Awards Seed Grants

The TSET Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) recently announced awardees for its FY24 seed grant program starting on July 1, 2023. Each grantee will receive up to $100,000 to conduct their innovative research project over 2 years. Funding will be awarded to 6 investigators across 3 institutions including Oklahoma State University, the University of Tulsa, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. HPRC-awarded seed grants will focus on understanding and addressing factors related to obesity in Oklahomans, including physical activity and eating behavior, in addition to projects focused on tobacco and substance use.

Dr. Stephanie Sweatt, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a grant for her project titled, “Emotion Dysregulation in Binge Eating: Development of a Personalized Mobile Intervention.” Binge eating is a significant public health concern that can negatively impact physical health and increase adverse mental health outcomes. This project aims to develop a time-limited emotion regulation-based intervention that teaches individuals how to regulate emotions, reduce impulsivity, and promote behavior change in order to reduce binge eating episodes.

Dr. Amy Cohn, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at OUHSC and researcher at the HPRC, has been awarded a grant to support a third cycle of her ongoing cohort study titled, “Investigating Medical Marijuana Perceptions and Associations with Alcohol, Cannabis, and Tobacco,” which will include one wave of data collection for each of the next two years. This multi-wave cross-sectional study has already completed five waves of data collection (≈7,000 Oklahoman adults and youth) and examines the prevalence, correlates, patterns, and trends of cannabis and other substance use in Oklahoma.

Dr. Erin Vogel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at OUHSC and researcher at the HPRC, has been awarded a grant for her project titled, “Daily Associations of Social Media Use with Young Adults' Nicotine Vaping.” To reduce tobacco-related disease in future generations, there is a pressing need to prevent e-cigarette use (“vaping”) initiation and to encourage cessation among young adults–the age group most likely to vape. Frequent, intense social media use is broadly associated with vaping; however, some social media activities may be more harmful than others. This project will address noteworthy research gaps by examining how specific social media activities (e.g., use of image-based platforms, passive browsing) are associated with vaping and identifying potential mechanisms (e.g., content exposure, social comparison, mental health) linking social media use to vaping among young adults.

Dr. Katelyn Romm, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at OUHSC and researcher at the HPRC, has been awarded a grant for her project titled, “Elucidating real-time minority stress influences on tobacco use at the intersection of sexual identity and rurality: An ecological momentary assessment study.” Given higher tobacco use rates, greater nicotine dependence, and poorer tobacco cessation outcomes among sexual minority (vs. heterosexual) and rural (vs. urban) young adults, this study will assess disparities in tobacco-related outcomes and effects of daily minority stress factors on tobacco use outcomes (i.e., tobacco use frequency, nicotine dependence severity, quit attempts, quit confidence, quit readiness) at the intersection of sexual identity and rurality. Findings will identify targets for tobacco cessation efforts tailored toward sexual minority-identifying young adults residing in rural versus urban areas.

Dr. Lurdes Queimado, Professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at OUHSC and researcher at the HPRC, has been awarded a grant for her project titled, “Inflammatory Markers as Biological Correlates and Predictors of Health Risk in Cannabis Users and Co-users of E-cigarettes.” The use of cannabis products has increased in Oklahoma since the legalization of medical marijuana in 2018. However, the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of cannabis use are not fully understood. This study aims to characterize the mechanisms by which cannabis and cannabinoid use alter oral inflammation and oral cancer cells with the ultimate purpose of informing medical and public health decisions that benefit cancer patients and the public in general. The discovery of unique mechanisms of action could lead to the design of targeted therapies.

Dr. Eric Wickel, Professor and John C. Oxley Endowed Chair in the Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitative Sciences at the University of Tulsa, has been awarded a grant for his project titled, “Evaluating the capability of emergent assessment methods to advance physical behavior research in Oklahoma.” Nearly 70% of worldwide deaths are attributable to non-communicable diseases, and there is growing interest in understanding the influence of modifiable risk factors (e.g., daily physical behavior) on non-communicable diseases. This study will examine the feasibility and acceptability of wearable tools to inform physical behavior research. Additionally, the study will aim to assess the validity of the ACT24 previous day recall tool to estimate sedentary and activity time compared with criterion standard wearable devices.

The mission of the HPRC is to reduce the burden of disease in Oklahoma by addressing modifiable health risk factors such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and risky alcohol and other substance use through research, novel intervention development, and dissemination of research findings. Preliminary data resulting from these innovative research projects will enable investigators to successfully compete for national research grants in the future.

For more information on the TSET Health Promotion Research Center, please visit https://healthpromotionresearch.org/.

The HPRC receives funding from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust contract number STCST00400_FY24 and the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center via an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA225520). The University of Oklahoma is an Equal Opportunity Institution.