Brown School Researchers Begin Low-Income Smoker Study

Fall 2019

Brown School researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have begun work on a five-year, $3.9 million study that tests an innovative approach to help low-income smokers quit.

Matthew Kreuter, Kahn Family Professor of Public Health, is leading the effort. Amy McQueen is the study’s co-leader and co-director of the Health Communication Research Laboratory, where the research is based.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study began in July and will recruit nearly 2,000 low-income smokers from nine states where smoking rates exceed the national average of 15%.

“There is an urgent need to get more low-income smokers engaged in activities that will help them to quit someday,” Kreuter said. “The current approach works for those who use it, but doesn’t reach nearly enough people.”

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HCRL and Louisiana Healthcare Connections Announce $2.9 Million Study- Impact of Unmet Needs on Health Outcomes of Type 2 Diabetes

Fall 2018

When a person is struggling to meet basic needs such as  food, housing, childcare or transportation, their health suffers.  What’s not yet known is the best way for health care organizations to address these basic needs, and whether those approaches will lead to health improvement.

The Brown School and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The collaborative, interdisciplinary study will examine the impact of addressing unmet basic needs among Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes.

The schools are partnering with Louisiana Healthcare Connections, a Medicaid health plan that provides coverage to more than 465,000 in the state of Louisiana.

The study will provide participants with a “basic needs navigator” to help them access community resources to address a wide range of unmet needs.  Investigators will follow participants for one year to assess change in basic needs and management of their diabetes.

“We need effective, sustainable solutions that will improve people’s lives and their health. This study takes an important step toward meeting that goal,” said Amy McQueen, associate professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and co-principal investigator on the grant.

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HCRL Receives $2.6 Million Grant To Study Smoking Cessation Programs

Fall 2016

The Brown School’s Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL) at Washington University in St. Louis has received a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute to study ways to help low-income smokers quit smoking through specialized quitlines and helping with basic needs.

“Quitting smoking is hard, and it’s even harder if you don’t have resources and support, or if you’re worried about more urgent matters like feeding your family or where you’re going to live next month,” said Matthew Kreuter, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health, associate dean for public health at the Brown School and senior scientist at the HCRL.

“Low-income Americans smoke more, and quit less, than other groups,” he said. “It’s not that they don’t want to quit. They do. But when they try to quit, they are more likely to use less-effective methods. We need new approaches to quitting that will work for this group,which has some unique challenges.”

Smoking in the U.S. follows a clear socio-economic gradient, Kreuter said.

“Evidence-based interventions like tobacco quitlines are designed to make effective smoking cessation services available on a population basis to all smokers, regardless of financial means,” he said. “Yet these interventions were not designed specifically for economically vulnerable populations, and therefore don’t address many of the unique challenges faced by low-income smokers. As the demographics of smoking in the U.S. continue to shift, so too must the strategies employed to control smoking — including helping smokers quit.”

The proposed study will test the effects of two innovations to help low-income smokers quit: a specialized quitline and basic needs navigation.

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