Brittany Smalls, PhD Receives NIH-NIDDK Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01)

Brittany Smalls, PhD, CHSR Faculty Member, recently received funding for her K01 proposal through NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The purpose of the NIDDK K01 award is to provide an intensive, supervised, research and career development experience for nonclinical, doctoral researchers as they transition to independent research careers. The overall objective of Dr. Smalls’ proposed study is to improve T2DM self-care regimens in older rural dwelling adults by training influential community members to be community health workers and provide social support strategies within an older adults’ existing social network that promotes T2DM self-care. As the Principal Investigator, she will use social network analysis to identify key players in a rural community to serve as community health workers for those living with T2DM; use mixed methods to evaluate the impact of social support on T2DM self-care and clinical outcomes and evaluate social networks in rural dwelling older adults with T2DM; and test the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a 6-week intervention administered by community health workers with the support of members of older adults’ individual social network. In addition to the proposed research, Dr. Smalls will complete a rigorous training and career development curriculum under the mentorship of renowned leaders in aging research, social network analysis, rural health populations, and community-based interventions. This $600,000 award spans 5 years and will afford Dr. Smalls the opportunity to establish herself as an experienced independent investigator in aging and health disparities research.