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Projects of Interest

Ending the Transmission of HIV, HCV, STDs, and Overdose in Rural Communities

Outbreaks of HIV, HCV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in rural areas of the Midwest have been associated with syringe-sharing among people who inject drugs such as heroin and other opioids (PWID). Illinois is the third highest state in percent increase in death rates involving synthetic opiates. The southernmost 16 counties of Illinois comprise the Illinois Delta Region (IDR) and share many of the characteristics of rural areas that have experienced recent HIV epidemics. In order to develop effective means of disease prevention and treatment we need a deeper understanding of the context of injection drug use in rural southern IL, including community characteristics, circumstances for high-risk injection practices, and accessibility to health-related resources. Read More >

Illinois Department of Public Health Asthma Program Evaluation Services

Asthma is a lung disease characterized by repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. The CDC’s National Asthma Control Program looks to assist Americans who suffer from asthma by helping them attain better health and improved quality of life. The CDC’s Asthma Program sponsors states by aiding them in enhancing surveillance of asthma, training health professionals, educating those with asthma and their families, and explaining asthma to the public. Read More >

Illinois Department on Aging Project

Develop and pilot test person-centered supportive services that meet the needs of persons living with or those at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and related dementia and their caregivers. Illinois has created a dementia capable home and community-based service delivery system, service gaps still exist with specific populations with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. There are current service gaps and a critical need to further develop and expand supportive services for individuals living alone with ADRD in their communities; improve the effectiveness of programs and services targeted to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with ADRD; deliver behavioral symptom management training and expert consultation to family caregivers; and develop additional person and family centered care and training to improve care for, and prepare individuals living with moderate to severe impairment and their caregivers for the future. Specialized supportive services are needed to target services to the above individuals with dementia and their family caregivers within the existing dementia-capable service system. Read More >

Assessing Health and Geographic Disparities in Asthma and COPD Morbidity: A GIS Approach

Asthma and COPD are pervasive diseases. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma affects as many as 17.7 million U.S. adults. The Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (IL-BRFSS) prevalence estimate indicates that 13.2% of adults in Sangamon County have physician-diagnosed asthma, putting Sangamon County in the worst quartile of Illinois’s 102 counties. COPD causes irreversible airflow blockage and breathing related problems, usually in adults 40 and older. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is severely underdiagnosed.6 The IL-BRFSS estimates that about 7.5% of the Sangamon County population has COPD, compared to 5.8% in Illinois. Approximately 40% of those with COPD also have asthma. Read More >


PAST PROJECTS

All of Us (formerly Precision Medicine Initiative)

Precision medicine seeks to capitalize on growing capabilities in the areas of genomics, clinical phenotyping, clinical informatics, EHR availability and interoperability, and mobile health technologies to improve understanding of human health and disease. Improved understanding of the complex interplay of genetic and environmental exposures, beyond those previously available in long-term observational epidemiological research, holds the promise of better prediction, prevention, and treatment of a host of human diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, numerous cancers, dementing illnesses, arthritis, and other major causes of disability and early death. Internationally, efforts to address the opportunities of precision medicine have led to the assembly of large cohorts in the UK (UK Biobank), the China Kadoorie Biobank, and in a selected sub-population in the US (the Million Veteran Project - MVP). In January 2015, President Obama announced a plan for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) to address this significant scientific opportunity. Read More >