A team of researchers from Auburn University and VCOM-Auburn have been approved for a $248,958 funding award through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards Building Capacity program, an initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The funds will support the project titled, “Engage and train stakeholders to participate in patient-centered research to reduce obesity in Hispanic women.”   

Members on the project team involve faculty from multiple units on campus and the community. Dr. Sarah Watts, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, will lead the engagement project. Dr. Surachat Ngorsuraches, an associate professor in the Harrison School of Pharmacy, will serve as engagement partner. From VCOM-Auburn, Dr. Mayra Rodriguez, chair for preventive medicine and public health, will serve as research partner and Dr. Johnny Stackhouse as the healthcare provider partner. Carmen Gonzalez from St. Mary of the Mission Catholic Church in Opelika, Ala., will serve as the patient partner.

The project will train stakeholders from Lee County, Ala., including Hispanic women and family members, community leaders, and healthcare providers, to engage in designing and promoting future research efforts in the rural South. After their participation in the workshops, stakeholders will take part in brainstorming sessions and establish a research community, which will serve as the infrastructure for research efforts once the project ends.

Watts’ project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria. For more information about PCORI’s funding to support engagement efforts, visit http://www.pcori.org/content/eugene-washington-pcori-engagement-awards/.   

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.