Laureen Smith, PhD, RN
|Award Name||Community Engagement Pilot Award|
Engaging Rural Appalachia in Clinical Research: A community-based participatory project in Pike County
The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science has awarded Laureen Smith, PhD, RN, with a Community Engagement Pilot Award for her research involving, Engaging Rural Appalachia in Clinical Research: A community- based participatory project in Pike County, Ohio.
Combating childhood obesity has been identified as a community priority in Pike County. An important target is decreasing the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SBSs). With the help of a teen advisory council a social marketing campaign was developed, a 30-day challenge planned, and students supported in an area high school.
The pilot project was called “Sodabriety” and challenged high school students to decrease or give up their consumption of sugar sweetened beverages for 30-days. The 30-day challenge required a pre-test and a post-test in order to track long-term impact. Along with the social marketing campaign, a commercial and a “kick off kit” students were given surveys and also maintained a daily beverage log. As the end of the 30-days approached students saw a significant reduction in their SSB consumption and an increase in their water consumption.
“Using Community Based Participatory Research we were able to gather accurate, comprehensive and dependable data about the community’s health while showcasing the successful impact this method can have when establishing effective and trusting relationships between researchers and the community,” Smith said.
The process was so successful; community members asked that the project be expanded to include kids of younger ages and additional high schools. Funding from The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science has made this expansion possible. This project is underway and includes, to date, three additional schools.
Smith is also working with co-investigator, Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Public Health to complete her research.