Child Health Equity Pilot Awardees Present Research Projects

Pilot award recipients from the Duke CTSI and Children’s Health & Discovery Initiative (CHDI) Child Health Equity Program, funded by the Translating Duke Health Initiative, presented their research projects during a meeting of the Program’s Advisory Council in May. This initiative was a partnership between the CHDI and the CTSI’s Integrating Special Populations team.

The CHDI works to create a robust coalition of multidisciplinary investigators and a pipeline of infrastructure, data, and research projects focused on developing innovative approaches to identifying and modulating early life factors that impact lifelong health and well-being.

During the meeting, the pilot teams presented on research focused on congenital heart disease, sleep regularity, mental health inequities in the Latinx community, and the in-home asthma triggers.

John Mitchell, PhD, who was recently appointed director of the CTSI Community-Partnered Research Network (CPRN), presented his team’s work on addressing mental health inequities among Latinx children with ADHD in Durham. Mitchell said he initially became interested in this research based on the work being done in this space by El Futuro, a community-based nonprofit organization that seeks to transform Latino-serving mental health care in North Carolina and beyond.

“The funding from CHDI provided an opportunity for us in the Duke ADHD Program to finally collaborate with El Futuro in a way that we had not been able to before,” Mitchell said. “This has allowed us to initiate a community-partnered program of research that we hope continues long into the future.”

Jason Lang, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine, spoke to the work his team has done with Reinvestment Partners. Their research has focused on a multifaceted intervention program for resource-limited families with children with poorly controlled asthma with the goal of improving health outcomes.  

"CHDI funding has allowed us to engage with our community partners, to identify resources and deficiencies in community care, and most recently, to develop a comprehensive community-focused intervention for expectant mothers carrying fetuses with congenital heart disease."

- Kevin Hill, MD, Child Health Equity Program award recipient

“Funding from CHDI solidified a vital community partnership between Duke Pediatrics and Reinvestment Partners,” Lang said. “This Healthy Homes partnership has provided improved in-home air quality for 30 Durham families that have been struggling with severe pediatric asthma. Additionally, this grant has provided vital preliminary data to support the partnership’s grant proposal to expand the Healthy Homes program across the state of North Carolina.”

For Duke researchers like Jessica Lunsford-Avery, PhD, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke School of Medicine, initiatives like the CHDI offer invaluable support.

“Hearing directly from our community members has given us invaluable new insights into how to best tailor sleep treatments to the specific needs of each adolescent, Lunsford-Avery said. “Our CHDI grant gave us an unparalleled opportunity to learn directly from our community’s wisdom about what helps—and what hurts—sleep health in adolescents identifying as Black and/or Hispanic, voices that traditionally have been underrepresented.”