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Collaborative Research Seed Grant Awards

Global Health Initiative Collaborative Research Seed Grants support research workshops that bring Georgetown faculty together with colleagues at other institutions to share their research and develop formal proposals for outside research funding. Grants of up to $15,000 will cover eligible travel and meeting expenses.

The Georgetown Global Health Initiative, formally launched April 25, 2017, selects projects for seed funding with the goal of supporting research on an unmet global health needs. Georgetown faculty are invited to apply for the grants, totaling up to $15,000 for each award, to convene small group meetings or symposiums.

“These seed grants support the critical first step of gathering the preliminary data necessary that can then be potentially leveraged for larger, external grants and awards,” says GHI initiative co-leader Edward B. Healton, M.D., MPH, executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center.

GHI COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS FALL 2019

Title: Adaptation of Programa de ARBOLES Familiares for Latin America: Planning and Feasibility of a US-Latin America Collaborative Effort
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Kristi Graves, Hurtado de Mendoza
Department Engaged: Department of Oncology

This GHI grant will fund two workshop meetings is to adapt an existing training program,  Programa de ARBOLES Familiares for implementation in Latin America. Programa de ÁRBOLES Familiares (Family Tree Program) is currently funded through a training grant (R25) from the National Cancer Institute in the United States (U.S.). The goal of the training program is to improve trainees’ knowledge, self-efficacy and skills related to identifying and navigating individuals at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) to appropriate genetic services. To date, we have trained 116 community health educators, lay health advisors and patient navigators about HBOC from across the U.S. Our initial results suggest that trainees have significantly improved knowledge about HBOC and report significantly greater self-efficacy in identifying and navigating high-risk individuals to appropriate genetic services. We seek to build a collaborative effort to adapt ARBOLES Familiares with partners from three countries in Latin America: Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala. We will leverage the existing R25 to train up to 6 trainees from Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala in our next training cohort, planned for March 2020 in California, USA.  The GHI Grant will support two workshop meetings to plan, adapt and collect pilot data for a larger external proposal to support implementation and evaluation of ÁRBOLES Familiares in Latin America.


Title: Develop and pilot a quality of care assessment tool in China
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Wu Zeng
Department Engaged: Department of International Health

Improving quality of care (QoC) has become increasingly critical in the global health agenda. However, while in high income countries, outcome (e.g. mortality rate) and process (e.g. use of X-ray for tuberculosis diagnosis) quality indicators are often used for QoC assessment in developing countries these studies are limited and inadequate. One of the reasons for the limited studies on QoC in developing countries is the lack of valid quality assessment tool accustomed to countries’ context.  With funding from GHI we will conduct a comprehensive review of existing quality of care assessment approaches in primary care settings in developing countries, and design and pilot a quick quality assessment tool in China. The success of implementing this pilot study would generate valuable lessons in designing QoC assessment tools that could be adapted in other countries and settings (e.g. hospital care).

Title: An Integrated Omics Analysis of Giardiasis
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Steven Singer, Amrita Cheema, Alda Maria Da-Cruz
Department Engaged: Department of Biology, Departments of Oncology and Biochemistry

Giardia intestinalis is an intestinal parasite that causes 200-500 million infections in humans throughout the world each year. This can range from severe diarrhea to subclinical disease without apparent symptoms. Recurrent and chronic infections with this parasite are common and have recently been shown to be among the top four causes of growth deficits in children in the developing world (Rogawski et al., 2018). Interestingly, while childhood diarrhea is the number two cause of mortality in children under five, Giardia infections have been shown to provide a small measure of protection against lethal diarrheal disease, although no mechanisms have been defined (Kotloff et al., 2013). Using this GHI grant, we will obtain matched fecal and serum specimens from patients in Brazil from 4 groups: patients with symptomatic giardiasis, sub-clinical Giardia infection, diarrhea due to non-parasitic infections, and healthy controls. We will perform shotgun metagenome sequencing on stool DNA to identify the structure of the bacterial community in the intestinal tract. We will also perform immunologic and metabolomic analysis of plasma samples to identify how the host responds to the infection. This work seeks to determine if unique molecular signatures exist in either data set that can distinguish between symptomatic and sub-clinical Giardia infections. 

Title: Understanding Dietary Patterns and their Impacts on Symptom Management and Functioning between Taiwanese and American Breast Cancer Patients
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Judy Huei-yu Wang, Dejana Braithwaite, Dongyu Zhang, Filipa Lynce, Bridget Oppong, Fei-Hsiu Hsiao, Chiun-Sheng Huang, Chiao Lo, Shu-Li Wang
Department Engaged: Department of Oncology

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer and is rising globally and approximately 50% of breast cancer deaths can be linked to dietary factors, which may influence inflammation and hormonal mechanisms (e.g., estradiol responses).  Population-based research has shown that certain dietary practices (such as regular consumption of soy, a staple food in Chinese and other Asian diets) can decrease breast cancer risk and increase survival. However, East-Asian diets have been understudied. Thus, the overarching goals of this study are to understand: 1) whether there are different dietary patterns between Taiwanese and American breast cancer patients before and after diagnosis, and 2) whether dietary practices are related to breast cancer patients’ suffering from treatment-related symptoms and their functional status.

To accomplish this investigation, we have formed a multidisciplinary research team including researchers from Georgetown University’s Department of Oncology and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as researchers from National Taiwan University and National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan to collect diet and treatment-related symptom information from 80 Taiwanese and 80 American women with breast cancer. Results from the seed grant will provide important preliminary data for cross-cultural dietary measurements, relationships between diets and cancer-related symptoms, as well as future implications for research on dietary and epigenetic impact on cancer rehabilitation. Our long-term goal is to establish bio-behavioral models of diet and cancer rehabilitation in order to develop interventions or therapies that will increase cancer patients’ quality of life and survival worldwide.


Title: Climate Change and Infectious Disease, Dynamics Before 1950
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Timothy Newfield, Colin Carlson, Emily Mendenhall 
Departments Engaged: Department of History, Department of Biology, Department of Global Health in the Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) Program

This GHI grant will fund a first of its kind workshop to bring together climatologists, ecologists, epidemiologists and disease historians in order to evaluate the ways in which these four disciplines can work together to untangle the complex relationship between climate and disease. Changes in temperature, precipitation and humidity can significantly alter the prevalence of disease. In our present era of dramatic climate change, understanding the influence climate and weather have on disease emergence and disease burden is a major concern. Problematically, attempts to untangle climate- disease relationships typically span a mere twenty or thirty years. This workshop seeks to change that. It will showcase the ways in which historians can contribute meaningfully to this work. Historians can build new morbidity and mortality datasets and situate those data in proper cultural, demographic and economic context. With the help of climatologists, ecologists and epidemiologists, they can also resurrect moments in the past when climate greatly influenced disease transmission. In working together in this way, these disciplines can begin to test our understanding of how climate influences disease and generate more robust risk predictions based on larger datasets. To focus our discussion and facilitate the generation of a series of articles, we have focused the event on two diseases at two moments in time, plague and malaria in the late ancient Mediterranean and twentieth-century Madagascar.

GHI COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS SPRING 2019

Title: CAFE Consortium European Workshop
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Rachel Barr
Department Engaged: Department of Psychology
The potential health benefits of rapid mobile digital expansion for people across the globe is high with access to remote health care and training and information. On the other hand, although the hardware is widely available, digital divides reduce access to quality content. In addition, there are a number of ongoing issue of digital privacy. Changes in the European GDPR laws are a step in the right direction and the California legislature is looking to adopt similar protections for CA citizens. Media usage is so pervasive but there is little research on how it might be impacting development trajectories of both health and education, and given the wide reach of the media the issue a global one, hence the need to build an international consortium. The CAFE consortium are an international group of researchers with specialties in psychology, pediatrics, communications, and human development focused on understanding the changing family digital media context and its impact of child sleep and parenting stress across a number of countries. The goal of the Consortium is to more accurately measure media usage within households and to examine the effects of early media exposure on development.


Title: Understanding the biophysics of Giardia attachment in a mucosal environment
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Heidi Elmendorf and Jeffrey Urbach
Departments Engaged:  Department of Biology, Department of Physics

This research seeks to extend our first joint research venture that characterized a flagellar microscale pump responsible for generating the negative pressure that mediates attachment of the parasite Giardia lamblia to the host intestinal wall. Thus far in our research, we, and other groups, have studied Giardia flagella attachment in traditional culture media. Yet while this media is considered to be a relevant chemical substitute for the intestinal milieu, it has very low viscosity and virtually no elasticity (most similar to the physical properties of water), quite unlike the mucosal layers of the small intestine where Giardia naturally resides. In the work we propose here we will study flagellar kinematics and parasite attachment in viscoelastic media that simulates the physical properties of mucus. The data generated from the research described in this proposal will be used in two planned grant submissions – a resubmission to the NSF, Physics of Living Systems program (December 2019) and a submission to the NIH, Pathogenic Eukaryotes Study Section (October 2019).


Title: Blended Training in Global Health (A Novel Method to Improve Neonatal Care in Ghana and Provide Learning Experiences for International Health Students, Georgetown University)
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Siva Subramanian, Indira Narayanan, Jayashree Ramasethu, Isabella Sagoe-Moses, Kabir Abubakar, Ha-Young Choi, Eva Jarawan, Myriam Vuckovic, Helain Landy
Departments Engaged:  Department of Pediatrics, Ministry of Health Ghana, Department of International Health, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

The proposed project is unique in that it will (a) Implement a workshop to improve knowledge and skills relevant to facility based compassionate quality newborn care and (b) Aim to have a more sustainable impact through follow-up monthly distance learning interactions focusing on maintaining data driven quality of care. The project will be implemented with the involvement of the Dy. Director, Family Health Division, Ghana Health Service who oversees maternal and newborn care in the country along with relevant representatives of the Ghana National Sub-Committee on Newborn Care. Simultaneously, applications will be made this year to other funding agencies including the Ghana USAID Mission and UNICEF to continue having periodic in- country workshops with on-going distance learning interaction and support. The aim will be to continue this program, for at least another 3 years to document the impact more effectively, after the first workshop funded by GHI seed money and even consider expansion to other countries through a regional approach.


Title: Integrating the role of social and behavioral processes in infectious disease prediction
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Shweta Bansal
Department Engaged: Department of Biology

From Ebola and influenza to Zika, infectious disease mitigation is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Many socio-environmental factors bring us closer to the brink of deadly human disease pandemics: increasing population growth and urbanization, a massively consolidated food supply, indiscriminate antibiotic use, and forced migration due to climate change and political instability. A major gap in our current understanding of infectious disease transmission and control is the impact of behavioral and socio-economic processes such as human mobility, vaccination behaviors, animal trade, and disease reporting. Our objective is to clarify the role of such social processes on infectious disease risk locally and globally, and to develop intervention strategies to reduce repercussions on public health, the global economy and food stability.


Title: Fact Checks Around the World: Exploring Effectiveness of Journalistic Fact Checks to Correct Health Misinformation on Social Media in Three Countries
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Leticia Bode
Departments Engaged: Communication, Culture & Technology Program

Health misinformation is a major global health threat around the world, and it increasingly spreads on social media. For that reason, this research project proposes to investigate how to maximize the corrective impact of presenting fact checks on social media. Specifically, we will alter whether the headline is presented as a question or a statement, as well as whether the source of the fact check is foreign or domestic, in order to establish best practices for what gets presented on social media. We investigate this in three countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines – in order to ascertain to what extent findings extend to different international contexts.


Title: Migrant Health in Crisis-One Day Symposium
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Erin Sorrell, Claire Standley, Ranit Mishori, Katharine Donato, Elizabeth Ferris
Departments Engaged: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Department of International Health, School of Medicine, Institute for the Study of International Migration

This one-day symposium will convene faculty, researchers and students across the Georgetown community as well as subject matter experts from humanitarian organizations, the US and foreign governments, and academic partners from around the world. We propose to hold the Symposium in November in order to coordinate with the American. The Symposium will be organized around three focus areas that impact migrant health in crises: border health; health care for refugees and internally displaced persons; and infectious disease risks.

GHI COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS FALL 2018 

Title: Migration Passages and Healthcare Needs of Rural to Urban Migrant Women in Bangladesh
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Jennifer Bouey
Departments Engaged: Department of International Health, School of Nursing and Health Studies

Faculty sponsors of this study seek to collect life stories and health care service network data to gain a better understanding of the lives and the migration journeys of the migrant women in Bangladesh and the support dynamics of the recipient communities. With a population of about 149 million in a limited land area, Bangladesh is the world's most densely populated country and the third largest Muslim-majority country. Large-scale rural-to-urban movement of population for economic gains has been a feature in Bangladesh due to the adverse agricultural impacts of climate change and the rapidly growing garment and textile export industries. For migrant women, the vulnerability and economic insecurity associated with the migration process may exacerbate health risks while limiting their access to formal health services. This timely study will be conducted by a multi-disciplinary, multi-ethnic, and multi-country team that brings together the necessary expertise. The project will provide feasibility data and a necessary exposure to the urban context in Bangladesh, and support the creation of an interdisciplinary team of researchers that addresses the critical health needs of rural-to-urban migrant women in developing countries.

Title: Historical Disease Ecology on the Millennial Scale
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Kathryn de Luna, Hendrik Poinar, Maggie Katongo, and Annie Antonites
Departments Engaged: Department of History, Department of Anthropology - McMaster University

This research builds on an NEH-funded, interdisciplinary project that leveraged the methods of archaeology, biogeochemistry, and historical linguistics to create a fine-grained history of the relationships between human mobility and landscape burning, changing climates and environments, and wildfires across 5,000 years in central Zambia. The historical disease ecology project takes this fine-grained study as a context to test how changing fire and climate regimes interacted with pathogens and impacted human and animal health. The faculty sponsors will study patterns in the distribution of a wide-spectrum of pathogens through ancient DNA (aDNA) extracted from soils and faunal remains collected through the NEH-funded research and other, previously-excavated sites from the region. The goal of this research is to test the viability of extracting aDNA from the relevant archaeological materials from three landscape zones (floodplain, river valley, highland grasslands). The larger project will involve a new campaign of linguistic, archaeological, and aDNA research focused on reconstructing a fine-grained historical disease ecology in central Zambia that covers 5,000 years and three landscape zones and, thereby, captures the scales of changes to climate, environment, and disease expected for the region’s future.


Title: Georgetown - Notre Dame Emerging Artemisinin Resistance Workshop
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Paul Roepe
Departments Engaged:  Department of Chemistry

Over half the world's population is at risk for malaria. Malaria kills over a half million annually. Only one class of antimalarial drugs (artemisinin - based drugs) remains effective against all known malaria in all regions of the globe. Consequently, the WHO (World Health Organization) currently recommends use of one of several available "Artemisinin Combination Therapies" (ACTs) that combine the use of an artemisinin drug (the "parent" drug) and a "partner" drug that is typically longer lasting. The most common ACT is "CoArtem" which combines artemether (the ether derivative of artemisinin) and lumefantrine (ATM/LF). Others are dihyrdoartemisnin + piperaquine (DHA/PPQ) and artesunate + mefloquine (ATS/MQ). This workshop will provide a platform for internationally renowned infectious disease experts to exchange ideas related to emerging artemisinin resistance.

Title: Creating a pulmonary function laboratory to obtain baseline data on the burden of restrictive and obstructive lung disease at the University of Namibia
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Kacie Saulters
Department Engaged:  Department of Medicine

The burden of non-communicable diseases in the resource-poor world, and particularly in SubSaharan Africa is growing rapidly. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third most common cause of death worldwide, yet the prevalence is unknown, or at best underestimated, in Sub Saharan Africa. One meta-analysis showed a widely variable prevalence of COPD largely due to inconsistent use of accurate diagnostic maneuvers with spirometry. Spirometry is a tool which provides objective measurements such as lung volumes, presence of bronchial obstruction, and appropriateness of gas exchange. Clinically this data is applied to individual patient care, but data can also used to assess baseline burden of disease in a population. Spirometry is not consistently performed across Sub-Saharan Africa due to lack of equipment as well as lack of personnel training to perform valid and reliable testing. In addition, there is often lack of understanding among personnel as to how to interpret results. This project will create a pulmonary function laboratory at the University of Namibia based in Windhoek, Namibia. The lab would consist of spirometry equipment as well as a machine for blood gas analysis, and would be directed by Namibian personnel.


Title: Towards evidence-based integrated control of neglected tropical diseases in West Africa
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Claire Standley, Rebecca Katz
Departments Engaged: Center for Global Health Science and Security

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that disproportionately impact the world’s poorest communities. Over a billion people are estimated to be infected with at least one NTD, with the global burden of morbidity and mortality exceeding 26 million disability-adjusted life years. Despite their importance, NTDs have historically received less funding and research attention than other communicable diseases, notably the “Big Three” of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization (WHO) has sought to address this neglect through a strong push towards control and/or elimination of 17 priority NTDs. This project seeks to establish collaborations with partners in West Africa—a region heavily impacted by NTDs—who are also interested in improved integration of NTD control, in order to develop proposals based around these important implementation science research questions.


Title: HIV and Public Health Surveillance: Legal, Policy, Ethics, and Human Rights Considerations
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Sean Bland, Jeffrey Crowley, Auntre Hamp, J.C. Smart
Departments Engaged: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Office of the Senior Vice President for Research

In the face of an ongoing HIV crisis that is often highly concentrated in specific sexual and drug using networks, the use of HIV surveillance tools by health departments offers an exciting way to effectively identify and intervene in places where HIV transmissions are occurring. In addition to traditional tools, new technology, called molecular HIV surveillance (MHS), is being used to improve the ability of health departments to spot transmission clusters and step in to support communities to stop further transmission. Other technology, such as biometric identification and tracking, has also been proposed as a means of enhancing the accuracy of HIV and broader public health surveillance. These technologies, however, raise critical and urgent questions around privacy and criminalization. This project will consist of two daylong workshops at Georgetown University in 2019 to assess legal, policy, ethics, and human rights considerations of using new technology in public health surveillance and programming as part of the United States and global responses to HIV. The first workshop will focus on the US context, with a focus on both traditional HIV surveillance and MHS as well as data sharing. The second workshop will be more exploratory and will focus on the global context, with a focus on biometric and other technologies for public health surveillance.

GHI COLLABORATIVE
 RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS SPRING 2018

Title: Striving to Eliminate Cervical Cancer: a mHealth Intervention
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Dejana Braithwaite, Paula Cupertino, Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza, Shailesh Advani, Sara Gómez
Departments Engaged:  Oncology Academic Department, Capital Breast Care Center, Fisher Center for Hereditary Cancer and Clinical Genomics Research

Low/middle-income countries face increased burden of cervical cancer due to limited government resources, geographical constraints, socioeconomic disparities, and cultural barriers. Most women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Guatemala, a country with a large, underserved indigenous population, present with an advanced stage of the disease and often treatment options are limited. Estimates from Guatemala speak to exceptionally low cervical cancer screening rates; in 2017, estimates in Guatemala were significantly lower than those in middle-income Latin American countries such as Argentina and Brazil. The goal of this initiative is to address these disparities by leveraging low-cost screening techniques and mHealth interventions, and, in the long term, expand the intervention to other countries, particularly India, Mexico and China.


Title: Health of Migrant Workers
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Alicia Ely Yamin, Mehran Kamrava, Sean Bland
Departments Engaged:  O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Center for International and Regional Studies

Since the beginning of civilization, migration of people has been a common phenomenon. With increasing numbers of people moving from one country to another, the health of migrants has become a key global public health issue. In recent years, worldwide attention has focused on the health of migrant workers in Qatar, where occupational safety and working conditions are major issues and migrant workers face various health challenges and difficulty in accessing health care. The goal of this workshop is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of experts from across Georgetown university and partner institutions to explore social, political, legal, and regulatory frameworks for securing and improving the health of migrant workers in Qatar.


Title: Creating and Implementing an Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Namibia
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Elizabeth Selden
Department Engaged:  Department of Medicine

Sub-Saharan Africa faces a critical shortage of healthcare workers. The primary aim of this workshop is to facilitate planning of a Masters in Medicine program between Georgetown and the University of Namibia faculty. Secondary aims would be observation and better understanding of the existing undergraduate training system, as well as work and patient flow for the North American based collaboratore. In addition, this workshop would facilitate planning for submission of external funding proposals, specifically an NIH Fogarty Grant and Carnegie Grants focusing on higher education and research in Africa.


Title: Regulation of Intestinal Barrier Function in Giardiasis
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Steven Singer
Department Engaged:  Department of Biology

Giardia lamblia is a major contributor to childhood diarrhea and chronic and recurrent infections in children in the developing world have been associated with physical and cognitive developmental deficits. This project examines the role that proteases (enzymes which can degrade proteins) secreted by the parasite have on host cells. This is part of a project which aims to 1) determine the role of secreted parasite proteases and host PAR-2 in mediating intestinal barrier breakdown in giardiasis; 2) determine the mechanisms used by intestinal myeloid cells in recognition of Giardia; and 3) determine the role of intestinal microbiota in activating anti-Giardia immune responses.

GHI COLLABORATIVE
 RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS FALL 2017 

Title: Workshop on Health Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Emily Mendenhall, Lahra Smith
Departments Engaged: Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) Program, Institute for the Study of International Migration

Increasingly, scholars and practitioners working in health policy and health systems are taking seriously how individuals experience and influence health systems. Yet, because ethnographic or interpretive perspectives have been historically marginalized in public health and public policy, limited scholarship that is traditionally people-centered, such as from the fields of anthropology, have taken up the topic. This has resulted in a gap in the field of global health due to a lack of scholarship addressing what systemic, political, and social factors facilitate or impede patients and clinicians in receiving or delivering care, or how political actors set policies that affect what services are accessible, available, affordable, of high quality, and, in some cases, contextually relevant. This workshop brought together scholars conducting people-centered research on health systems in Sub-Saharan Africa to plan a collaborative grant proposal to submit to the anthropology section of the National Science Foundation, and to produce a special issue of articles on the topic for Health Policy and Planning.


Title: Establishing Infectious Disease Research Priorities for Conflict-Prone Regions
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Erin Sorrell, Claire Standley
Departments Engaged:  Department of Microbiology and Immunology

This proposal was submitted in collaboration with the Jordanian Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), an in-service training program modeled on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service, with the objective of building workforce capacity in public health in Jordan and addressing urgent public health needs in the country. The purpose of this proposal is to develop and host a meeting at the Ministry of Health in Amman, Jordan, for universities, NGOs, the public sector, and other regional stakeholders who conduct research on infectious disease and/or work on public health issues within refugee and migrant populations, particularly in conflict-affected areas, to discuss how to define an appropriate research agenda and training program for emerging and re-emerging infectious disease issues.

GHI COLLABORATIVE
 RESEARCH SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS SPRING 2017

Title: The Most Vulnerable Generation: Developmental and Mental Health Challenges of Syrian Children
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Neal Horen, Toby Long, Rochelle Davis, Elizabeth Ferris
Departments Engaged:  Center for Child and Human Development, Institute for the Study of International Migration

The conflict in Syria has not only displaced families and children, it has also threatened the health, well-being, and security of the most vulnerable, particularly children with developmental disabilities. The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and University partners propose to convene university, national, and international experts on the situation of Syrian refugee children, highlighting children with disabilities and mental health concerns. The goals of the meeting are to: (1) synthesize information on the developmental and mental health concerns of young children impacted by the Syrian conflict; (2) identify evidence-based models of care and associated health outcomes that are being used to support children with disabilities and other mental health concerns; (3) identify gaps in workforce expertise to provide support to children particularly those with disabilities; (4) identify innovative, community-based approaches to enhance workforce development; and (5) identify partners and external funding opportunities to strengthen multilateral support services for young Syrian children with mental health and developmental concerns and their families.


Title: Global Mental Health in Our Own Backyards: A Collaborative Needs Assessment of Refugee and Asylee Mental Health
Georgetown Faculty Sponsor: Nima Sheth
Department Engaged: Department of Psychiatry
There is increasing recognition that forced migration is linked to acute psychological and medical conditions that persist for many years after resettlement. A gap still exists in our understanding of what the exact health/mental health needs of forced migrants are, specifically in our understanding of what is still needed by community agencies that are already providing many social, economic, and health services for this population. To date, no collaborative needs assessment has been undertaken that considers the points of view and input of multiple stakeholders, including community agencies, health practitioners, resettlement agencies, and migrants themselves in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area. In the same respect, there has been no synthesized assessment of culturally appropriate alternative interventions (outside of the medical model) in the DMV area for health and mental health, such as sensorimotor therapy, art and music, education, yoga, etc. The goal of these workshops will be to use the data to further inform a collaborative interdisciplinary model of care for forced migrant populations.


Title: Grant Writing Workshop: GBV Prevention Program in Accra Ghana
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Nana Apenem Dagadu, Dionne Coker-Appiah
Department Engaged:  Department of Psychiatry

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global epidemic and significant barrier for achieving health and development goals. There is an urgent need for collaborative research to develop comprehensive and culturally/geographically appropriate interventions to prevent GBV among adolescents and adults, and to employ systematic approaches in efforts to scale-up evidence-based programs. Assessment, prevention, and scalable intervention efforts will require appropriate cultural tailoring using multilevel and multifaceted approaches. The purpose of this proposal is to bring together Georgetown University faculty working on GBV with key GBV partners from Accra, Ghana to develop grant ideas in a collaborative, intensive, hands-on setting. The process entails (a) development of our research partnership plan; (b) development of a grant-seeking plan; and (c) hosting a grant writing workshop in Washington, D.C. This effort also incorporates opportunities for developing student leadership and research experience both at Georgetown University and the University of Ghana.


Title: Workshop on Violence and Substance Abuse Among Adolescents: Twin Dangers Single Route
Georgetown Faculty Sponsors: Adam Green, John VanMeter
Departments Engaged: Department of Psychology, Department of Neurology

Both the high rate of violent outcomes and early initiation of substance use during adolescence from a neurobiological perspective can be ascribed to the mismatch in the rate of brain development between the prefrontal cortex with its protracted trajectory and the peaking of limbic structure development and activity in adolescence. Among the investigators assembled are eight ongoing studies, in the United States and abroad, that focus on these issues and adolescent neuronal development. Further advancement of our standing of these issues is necessary to understand the factors that can mediate neurocognitive development and in turn lead to improved interventional measures. This project will conduct a one-week workshop with our partners in Brazil to (1) present the findings from the ongoing studies in our respective labs; and (2) develop a coordinated bi-national large-scale study that will focus on these issues for submission to project partners' respective potential funding agencies.


For more information about the application process for seed grants please visit Collaborative Research Seed Grants.