Wayne State researcher Dr. Karen MacDonell to co-lead $ 6.5 million behavioral health project to help young people living with HIV lead healthier lives – School of Medicine News


Wayne State University to collaborate with researchers at five other universities on a Florida-based, multi-year research project supported by a $ 6.5 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study self-management and alcohol consumption among 18 to 29 year olds. years living with HIV.

Collaboration for “SHARE Program: Innovations in Translational Behavioral Science to Improve Self-management of HIV and Alcohol Reaching Emerging Adults” will include researchers from WSU, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University Nova Southeastern, University of Michigan. and the University of California at San Diego. The five-year commitment began in September and will be divided into three projects: defining new intervention strategies; engage young people; and supporting behavior change through interventions.

Karen MacDonell, Ph.D.

Karen MacDonell, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, is one of two principal investigators across the P01-funded center, along with Sylvie Naar, Ph.D. ., a former WSU faculty member who is a distinguished professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine.

Dr MacDonell, associate professor in the Behavioral Sciences Division at WSU, is also leading one of the research projects conducted under the grant.

“We hope to be able to better involve young people living with HIV in behavioral interventions to help them better manage their HIV, reduce their alcohol consumption and lead healthier lives. Because the center is virtual, we hope to be able to accommodate young people from more rural communities who are often excluded from HIV research, ”said Dr MacDonell. “If we are successful, our work will lead to a better understanding of the needs of young people living with HIV, as well as youth-friendly programs designed specifically for the needs of this population.

Participants will be recruited via social media and research activities will take place virtually.

“As a developmental psychologist, it is important to me that intervention programs are designed to meet the specific needs of adolescents and young adults,” she said. “It’s not a new area, but the collaborations across Florida are a new partnership. HIV has hit the South particularly hard, so Florida makes sense for a research center with statewide reach. “

The three research projects – Define, Engage and Sustain – represent different stages of the translational spectrum and target different core competencies, supported by two cores: Community Engagement Core and Data Science Core.

SHARE also has strong potential for implementation beyond Florida and across the United States. Adolescents and emerging adults living with HIV tend to have more difficulty dealing with HIV than people of other ages, said Dr MacDonell.

“They also have the highest rates of alcohol use and abuse compared to people with HIV of other ages. Alcohol consumption has been shown to have negative effects on the mental and physical health of people living with HIV, ”she added.

The WSU-based team will also include Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Behavioral Health Sciences Angulique Outlaw, Ph.D., and Research Assistant Jessica Durkin.

The grant number for this award from the National Institutes of Health is P01AA029547.

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