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Breast Cancer 

Title: Biochemical Markers in the Nurses' Health Study Cohort   
Principal Investigator:  Susan Hankinson, Sc.D.
Funding Source:  NIH/NCI
Funding Dates:  07/22/09 -  06/30/14
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  We propose to continue our work identifying and validating biomarkers – particularly hormonal markers – that predict risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  Using a prospective nested case-control design, we plan to analyze blood samples collected from the 32,826 participants in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) who provided a blood sample in 1989-90 and, for 18,743 of these women, a second sample in 1999-2000.  We propose to evaluate markers from several inter-related pathways to determine their role in cancer risk; a number of these aims are entirely new, while others extend our work in the most promising areas from the current grant cycle.

Title: Premenopausal Hormone Levels and Risk of Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator:  Susan Hankinson, Sc.D.
Funding Source:  NIH/NCI                                                                           
Funding Dates:  09/01/07  - 08/31/12
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  In this application, we propose to extend our recent findings for several hormones that predicted subsequent breast cancer risk in predominantly premenopausal women, and also evaluate several new plasma biomarker hypotheses.  Specifically, we will evaluate plasma estrogens and androgens, urinary estrogen metabolites and plasma vitamin D levels.  Our study, with almost 30,000 archived blood samples collected from participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) (of which almost 20,000 were timed within the menstrual cycle, with most women having both a follicular and a luteal sample), represents a unique opportunity to evaluate a number of hormone-related hypotheses prospectively and with substantial statistical power. 

Title: Susan G. Komen for the Cure Scholar Award   
Principal Investigator: Susan Hankinson, Sc.D.
Funding Source:
Funding Dates: 
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  Using breast tissue expression patterns to inform our understanding of risk factors for breast cancer.  The overall hypothesis is that RNA expression patterns in breast tumors can help us better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in breast carcinogenesis.  We propose to examine expression of 24,000 genes in breast tumors from a subset of predominantly premenopausal women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, and to link these profiles to several exposures, such as vitamin D and physical activity, assessed prior to cancer diagnosis. 

Title: Protein Expression Patterns in Primary and Metastatic Breast Carcinoma
Principal Investigator: Katherine W.Reeves (Co-PI)
Funding Source: UMass-Baystate Medical Center Collaborative Biomedical Research Program
Funding Dates:  6/2011-5/2012
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  The specific aims of this project are: 1) To create TMA blocks from archival tissue blocks of primary tumors and respective distant metastasis, 2) To perform immunohistochemical analysis on the TMA to evaluate for protein expression of CaSR, PTHrP, RANKL, and SFRP1, and 3) To employ a mouse model to determine the effect of SFRP1 loss on the protein expression pattern of the CaSR, PTHrP, and RANKL.

Title: Efficacy of Weight Loss for Improving Vasomotor Symptoms
Principal Investigator:
Katherine  W. Reeves
Funding Source:   UMass Amherst Faculty Research Grant
Funding Dates:  1/2011-12/2011
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  The specific aims of this project are: 1) To determine the prevalence of vasomotor symptoms among a population of obese, perimenopausal women, and 2) To evaluate weight loss as a means of reducing vasomotor symptoms among obese perimenopausal women.

Title: Weight Loss and Change in Mammographic Density
Principal Investigator: Katherine W. Reeves (Co-PI)
Funding Source: UMass-Baystate Medical Center Collaborative Biomedical Research Program.
Funding Dates: 6/2011-5/2012
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary: The specific aims of this project are: 1) To evaluate if weight loss is associated with change in the dense breast area, and 2) To assess if weight loss is associated with change in percent breast density.

Title: The Effect of Weight Loss on Change in Mammographic Breast Density in Postmenopausal Women
Principal Investigator: Katherine W. Reeves
Funding Source: Rays of Hope Foundation
Funding Dates: 6/2010-5/2011.
Total Direct Costs: $15,719
Proposal Summary: The specific aims of this project are: 1) To estimate the distribution of change in dense breast area over a period of one year in a population of postmenopausal women, and 2) To evaluate the correlation between weight loss and change in the dense breast area.

Title: The Effect of Weight Loss on Change in Mammographic Breast Density in Postmenopausal Women
Principal Investigator: Katherine W. Reeves
Funding source: University of Massachusetts Medical School Individual Research Grant #93-033 
Funding Dates: 6/2009-5/2010 
Total Direct Costs: $24,000 
Proposal Summary: The specific aims of this project are: 1) To estimate the distribution of change in dense breast area over a period of six months in a population of postmenopausal women, and 2) To evaluate the correlation between weight loss and change in the dense breast area.

Title: Urinary Levels of Melatonin and Risk of Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Susan Sturgeon
Funding source: Baystate Rays of Hope
Direct costs: $18,137
Proposal summary:The goal of the pilot study is to examine levels of patterns of methylation in white blood cell (WBC) DNA and breast epithelial cell DNA taken from the same individual.  Methylation is a type of epigenetic change, where a non-sequence modification of DNA is linked to the overall changes in gene expression.  There is a likely link between methylation patterns in normal-appearing breast tissue and an increased risk of breast cancer.  WBC DNA may carry epigenetic information that can be used to study an individual’s risk of cancer.  The study will evaluate the extent of the correlation of methylation patterns in certain genes from these two types of tissues.  This study results could be beneficial to the identification of individuals at high-risk of breast cancer, as WBC DNA is more easily accessible.

Title: Effects of Pomegranate Juice on Hormonal Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Risk
Principal Investigator: Susan Sturgeon
Funding source: American Institute for Cancer Research
Direct costs: $164,000
Proposal summary: Results of experimental studies have shown how pomegranate has been a source of reducing estrogen synthesis, as well as inhibiting cell proliferation.  A certain amount of laboratory data has suggested though that pomegranate may have estrogenic effects of breast tissue.  In the study, Dr. Sturgeon will work with Alayne Ronnenberg, ScD and Elaine Puleo, PhD to evaluate differences in hormone levels in blood before and after the duration of a three-week intervention of two groups will be studied.  Differences in hormone biomarker levels in nipple aspirate fluid in a small group of women in each of the two interventions will also be explored.  The study is important because pomegranate juice has often been touted as having beneficial health effects, despite limited information on such effects in humans.

Title: Epigenotyping of white blood cells and breast tissue
Principal Investigator: Susan Sturgeon
Funding source: National Institutes of Health
Proposal summary:  One theory suggests that the hormone melatonin, which is produced at higher levels during periods of darkness, is somehow involved in the link.  Results from a limited number of observational cohort studies that have examined the link between lower urinary levels of melatonin and tincreased risk of breast cancer have been inconsistent, prompting the need for additional studies.  A nested case-control study will be conducted, in which the urine of 284 invasive breast cancer cases and 568 control subjects in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study will be examined for levels of melatonin.  This study is integral in clarifying the role of melatonin with relation to breast cancer, and the development of new strategies to prevent the cancer.

Obesity 

Title: The Effect of Weight Loss on Change in Mammographic Breast Density in Postmenopausal Women
Principal Investigator: Katherine W. Reeves
Funding Source: Rays of Hope Foundation
Funding Dates: 6/2010-5/2011.
Total Direct Costs: $15,719
Proposal Summary: The specific aims of this project are: 1) To estimate the distribution of change in dense breast area over a period of one year in a population of postmenopausal women, and 2) To evaluate the correlation between weight loss and change in the dense breast area.

Title: The Effect of Weight Loss on Change in Mammographic Breast Density in Postmenopausal Women
Principal Investigator: Katherine W. Reeves
Funding source: University of Massachusetts Medical School Individual Research Grant #93-033 
Funding Dates: 6/2009-5/2010 
Total Direct Costs: $24,000 
Proposal Summary: The specific aims of this project are: 1) To estimate the distribution of change in dense breast area over a period of six months in a population of postmenopausal women, and 2) To evaluate the correlation between weight loss and change in the dense breast area.

Title: The Massachusetts BMI Letter: How are Parents Responding?
Principal Investigator: Elena Carbone
Funding Source :
Funding Dates: 2011
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary :   In 2009, Massachusetts became the 16th state to pass BMI-related legislation as part of a wave of support for BMI monitoring, both as part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move programand Healthy People 2020 objectives. As mandated, during 2010-2011 school nurses have been collecting height and weight data of 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th grade girls and boys; calculating their BMIs; and sending a BMI screening report (BMISR) with each student’s results to parents/caregivers with recommendations to contact their primary care provider. Aggregate BMI data will be shared with the State Department of Public Health (DPH). To date there has been no substantive evaluation of how this information is or should be communicated by primary care providers and how it is understood by parents.  The purpose of this research study is to assess, through a series of focus groups, the effectiveness of the Massachusetts BMI letter being sent home from schools to parents (BMISR) which reports the children's BMI status.  This study will address four research questions critical to assessing the effectiveness of the BMI letter:  1) BMISR readability, 2) parents' health literacy level, 3) parents' feelings about language used for weight-related issues, and 4) parents' responses to BMISR materials.

Title: Live Well Springfield. Eat Smart. Stay Fit.
Principal Investigator: Elena Carbone (PI of subcontract),  C. Ratte (PI)
Funding Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Funding Dates:  1/10/13 - 9/31/14
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary: The four overall strategies of this grant are to: 1) bring a full line grocery store to the center neighborhood of Springfield with appropriate community wide nutrition education strategy; 2) increase fresh produce venues and year-round markets in the neighborhoods abutting the Riverwalk; 3) initiate a variety of physical activity programming through the new North Riverfront Park; and 4) educate the community and mobilizing for policy action for pedestrian and bike amenities throughout the city. Each of these strategies will be evaluated at baseline and throughout the two-year grant period through a series of surveys, interviews with community members and vendors, on-site observations, and examination of sales data.

Title: The Massachusetts BMI Letter: How are Parents Responding?
Principal Investigator:  Elena Carbone and S. Goff (PIs)
Funding Source:  Baystate Medical Center       
Funding Dates:  6/1/11-6/1/13
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  Since 2010, nurses in Massachusetts public schools have conducted mandated Body Mass Index (BMI) screening of 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th graders and communicated results in a letter to parents/caregivers. This letter had not been evaluated for its comprehension by or acceptability to parents, or for its readability. The aims of this community-based feasibility study are to: 1) evaluate the readability of the Massachusetts Body Mass Index Screening Report (BMISR); 2) assess the feasibility of determining the health literacy level of parents of overweight children attending a weight management program; 3) assess the health literacy level of parents of overweight children attending a weight management program; and 4) qualitatively explore with how parents respond to the MA BMI letter and how weight issues can be respectfully and effectively communicated.

Mental Health

Title: Epidemiology of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson
Funding source: National Institutes of Health (K01MH076274)
Funding Dates: 2007-2012
Total Direct Costs: $868,857
Proposal Summary:  The objective of this career development award is to provide the candidate with a mentored environment in which to develop expertise in the epidemiology of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Through graduate coursework and other structured activities, the candidate will: 1) strengthen her knowledge of endocrinology, focusing on the metabolism and physiology of vitamin D, calcium, and parathyroid hormone and their relationship to PMS and PMDD; 2) develop an understanding of how hormones affect neurologic function and are involved in the etiology of affective disorders such as PMDD; 3) develop expertise in mental health and psychiatric epidemiology relating to affective disorders such as PMDD; and 4) expand her skills as an epidemiologist to include the use of genetic factors and biochemical markers in epidemiology. In addition, the candidate will complete a research project to assess the relationship between plasma and genetic factors and the incidence of PMS/PMDD. This project will build upon the interesting findings of a preliminary study which suggested that women who had high intakes of vitamin D and calcium had significant 30-40% reductions in risk of developing PMS. Specific aims of the research plan are to: 1) evaluate the relationship between luteal phase plasma levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, calcium and PTH and risk of PMS/PMDD; 2) evaluate whether common vitamin D receptor polymorphisms including Fok1, Bsm1, Apa1, and Taq1 affect risk of PMS/PMDD; and 3) evaluate whether age and genotype may modify the relationship between plasma vitamin D, calcium and PTH levels and incidence of PMS/PMDD. This will be the first prospective and most comprehensive study of these relationships conducted to date. Overall, this career development award will provide the candidate with the skills she needs to achieve her goals of becoming an independent epidemiologist who can contribute significantly to knowledge of PMS/PMDD etiology, assessment, prevention and treatment. Relevance to public health: This will be the first prospective study of the role of vitamin D, calcium and PTH in PMS and PMDD, disorders that cause substantial levels of impairment in large numbers of premenopausal women. The identification of modifable factors that reduce PMS/PMDD incidence will provide women opportunities for reducing their risk with fewer drawbacks than current treatment options.

Title: Health and Mental Health Needs of Cambodian American Adolescents and Emerging Adults
Principal Investigator: Lorraine Cordeiro
Funding source: Stevens Foundation: Community Needs Assessment
Funding Dates: 9/2009 - 12/2010

Title: Massachusetts Youth Suicide Prevention Project
Principal Investigator: Gloria DiFulvio 
Funding source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health 
Funding Dates: 2009-2012 
Total Direct Costs: $252,000
Proposal Summary:  This project is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to build capacity among three regions in Massachusetts. The project aims to develop three regional youth suicide prevention coalitions, increase community awareness of suicide and prevention strategies with the overall goal of reducing youth suicide in the state.

Healthy Aging

Title: Reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi immigrants
Principal Investigator: Lynnette Leidy Sievert
Funding source: NSF Grant #0548393
Funding Dates: 2006-2010
Total Direct Costs: $270,981
Proposal Summary: Reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi immigrants, sedentees, and white London neighbors with Gillian Bentley, co-PI, and Shanthi Muttukrishna, co-PI

Reproductive Health and Pregnancy

Title: Epidemiology of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson
Funding source: National Institutes of Health (K01MH076274)
Funding Dates: 2007-2012
Total Direct Costs: $868,857
Proposal Summary: The objective of this career development award is to provide the candidate with a mentored environment in which to develop expertise in the epidemiology of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Through graduate coursework and other structured activities, the candidate will: 1) strengthen her knowledge of endocrinology, focusing on the metabolism and physiology of vitamin D, calcium, and parathyroid hormone and their relationship to PMS and PMDD; 2) develop an understanding of how hormones affect neurologic function and are involved in the etiology of affective disorders such as PMDD; 3) develop expertise in mental health and psychiatric epidemiology relating to affective disorders such as PMDD; and 4) expand her skills as an epidemiologist to include the use of genetic factors and biochemical markers in epidemiology. In addition, the candidate will complete a research project to assess the relationship between plasma and genetic factors and the incidence of PMS/PMDD. This project will build upon the interesting findings of a preliminary study which suggested that women who had high intakes of vitamin D and calcium had significant 30-40% reductions in risk of developing PMS. Specific aims of the research plan are to: 1) evaluate the relationship between luteal phase plasma levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, calcium and PTH and risk of PMS/PMDD; 2) evaluate whether common vitamin D receptor polymorphisms including Fok1, Bsm1, Apa1, and Taq1 affect risk of PMS/PMDD; and 3) evaluate whether age and genotype may modify the relationship between plasma vitamin D, calcium and PTH levels and incidence of PMS/PMDD. This will be the first prospective and most comprehensive study of these relationships conducted to date. Overall, this career development award will provide the candidate with the skills she needs to achieve her goals of becoming an independent epidemiologist who can contribute significantly to knowledge of PMS/PMDD etiology, assessment, prevention and treatment. Relevance to public health: This will be the first prospective study of the role of vitamin D, calcium and PTH in PMS and PMDD, disorders that cause substantial levels of impairment in large numbers of premenopausal women. The identification of modifable factors that reduce PMS/PMDD incidence will provide women opportunities for reducing their risk with fewer drawbacks than current treatment options.

Title: Diet and Lifestyle Factors and Prevention of Premenstrual Syndrome
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson
Funding source: cy pres Distribution, Rexall/Cellasene Settlement Litigation
Funding Dates: 2005-2010
Total Direct Costs: $136,946
Proposal Summary:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common disorder in American women, affecting as many as 50% of women of reproductive age. While most women experience mild symptoms, 3-10% experience symptoms severe enough to interfere with normal life activities and interpersonal relationships. While previous studies have focused on identifying effective treatments, most therapies are associated with substantial side effects. Because of the drawbacks associated with many treatments for PMS, it is important to identify ways to prevent the initial development of the disorder. In particular, it is essential to identify easily modifiable factors through which a woman may lower her risk of developing PMS. We propose to assess the relationship between a variety of dietary and lifestyle factors and risk of incident PMS in a subset of the Nurses Health Study II (NHS2) cohort. The NHS2 is a prospective epidemiologic study of 116,678 U.S. registered nurses from 11 states who responded to a mailed questionnaire in 1989 and provided information on their medical history and health-related behaviors. Participants have completed questionnaires every two years thereafter to update information on various factors including smoking, diet, and physical activity, and to identify new diagnoses of disease. We have recently completed a preliminary study among 6,000 NHS2 participants to validate self-reported diagnoses of PMS, and have identified 1,057 women with severe PMS and 1,968 women free from the disorder as a comparison group. Within this population of cases and controls, we propose to: 1) evaluate whether high intakes of vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, long-chain fatty acids, carbohydrates and other nutrients from foods and supplements may lower a womans likelihood of developing PMS; and 2) evaluate whether body composition, smoking, and participation in physical activity at different ages are associated with risk of PMS. To our knowledge, this will be the first prospective, population-based study to explore dietary and behavioral strategies for preventing the development of PMS, a disorder that substantially interferes with health and quality of life in as many as 10% of premenopausal American women.

Title: Food Security, Food Practices, and Health Risks among Pregnant and Postpartum Cambodian Women Residing in Massachusetts
Principal Investigator: Lorraine Cordeiro
Funding Source : USDA/Agricultural Extension
Funding Dates:
Total Direct Costs: 
Proposal Summary: 

Title: An exerciese Intervention to Prevent Recurrent Gestational Diabetes
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding Source :  NIH/NIDDK
Funding Dates:1/1/07-12/31/12
Total Direct Costs: 
Proposal Summary:  The primary goals of the proposal are to investigate the effects of a motivationally-tailored, individually targeted 12-wk physical activity intervention on risk of GDM, serum biomarkers associated with insulin resistance, the adoption and maintenance of exercise during pregnancy, maternal weight gain, and birthweight.

Title: A Pilot Lifestyle Intervention for Gestational Diabetes among Hispanic Women
Principal Investigator:  Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding Source :  ASPH/CDC
Funding Dates:  9/28/09-9/27/12
Total Direct Costs
Proposal Summary:  The goal of this program is to develop and evaluate the efficacy of a pilot lifestyle intervention on risk of GDM, physical activity, diet, and maternal weight gain among pregnant, overweight/obese Hispanic women at risk for GDM.  

Title: Identifying predictors of variation in obstetric complication rates across US Hospitals: preliminary studies to improve obstetric quality of care
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding source: Baystate Health Research Incubator Fund
Funding Dates: 1/10 – 12/11
Total Direct Costs: 

Title: A Pilot Lifestyle Intervention for Gestational Diabetes among Hispanic Women
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding source: ASPH/CDC S3948
Funding Dates: 9/28/09-9/27/10
Total Direct Costs: 

Title: Epidemiology of Stress and GDM Among Latina Women
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding source: American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, National Institutes of Health, NIDDK 3R01DK064902-05S1
Funding Dates: 9/30/09-7/31/11
Total Direct Costs: 

Title: Epidemiology of Stress and GDM Among Latina Women
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding source: National Institutes of Health, NIDDK R01 DK064902-01
Funding Dates: 9/1/05-8/31/11
Total Direct Costs: 

Title: A Randomized Trial of a Postpartum DiabetesPrevention Program for Hispanic Women
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber
Funding Source:  NIH/NIDDK
Funding Dates:  9/4/12-6/30/17
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  The primary goals of this randomized controlled trial are to test the efficacy of a culturally and linguistically modified, individually-tailored lifestyle intervention to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among postpartum Hispanic women with a history of abnormal glucose tolerance during pregnancy.

Title: Narratives on Culture and Health by Women on Depo Provera
Principal Investigator: Aline Gubrium
Funding source: Funded through Healey Faculty Research Grant, UMass Amherst.
Funding Dates: January 2007 - October 2008
Total Direct Costs: 
Proposal Summary: Collecting, transcribing, and analyzing in-depth interviews with thirty women and interviews with healthcare clinicians who prescribe/distribute Depo Provera.

Title: Reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi immigrants
Principal Investigator: Lynnette Leidy Sievert
Funding source: NSF Grant #0548393
Funding Dates: 2006-2010
Total Direct Costs: $270,981 
Proposal Summary: Reproductive aging and symptom experience at midlife among Bangladeshi immigrants, sedentees, and white London neighbors with Gillian Bentley, co-PI, and Shanthi Muttukrishna, co-PI

Title: Food Security, Food Practices, and Health Risks among Pregnant and Postpartum Cambodian Women Residing in Massachusetts
Principal Investigator: Jerusha Nelson Peterman (Co-PI)
Funding Source:  USDA-CSREES #H991
Funding Dates:
Total Direct Costs
Proposal Summary :  This study includes focus groups and a quantitative survey of pregnant and postpartum Cambodian American women ages 15-30 years old living in Massachusetts. This pilot project is intended to gather preliminary data to
provide information on food security in this vulnerable refugee population. Data will be used to pursue future funding to (1) further understand the causes and consequences of food insecurity in this vulnerable refugee population and (2) address these causes and consequences through community-based nutrition and health education programs. It may also serve as the basis for a longitudinal study of these young women.

Title: Nutritional Status and Pregnancy Outcome in Minority Women
Principal Investigator: Alayne Ronnenberg 
Funding source: University of Massachusetts Faculty Research Grant 
Funding Dates: 
Total Direct Costs: $ 29,996
Proposal Summary: This study is being conducted at Midwifery Care of Holyoke, MA. Dietary intake and biomarkers of micronutrient status will be assessed in a group of 150 low-income women and their neonates.

Title: Correlation of Cytokines in Serum and Urine During the Menstrual Cycle 
Principal Investigator: Brian Whitcomb
Funding Source :  Faculty Research Grants, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 
Funding Dates:
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary :

Sexual Health

Title: Sexuality, Health and Rights Among Youth In the United States: Transforming Public Policy and Understanding Through Social Science Research
Principal Investigator: Aline Gubrium, PhD
Funding Source: Ford Foundation  
Funding Dates: 2012-2014
Total Direct Costs: $500,000
Proposal Summary: Hear Our Stories: Diasporic Youth for Sexual Rights and Justice, Focusing on diasporic youth, this digital storytelling project will use new media to reveal how young parenting Latinas, in particular, experience and negotiate sexual health disparities. Noting that material conditions and cultural worlds have placed these young women in tenuous positions, both socially constructed and experientially embodied, Drs. Gubrium and Krause are quick to point out that existing programs and policies focused on this group fail to use relevant local knowledge and rarely involve them in messaging efforts.

Title: Para un Futuro Mejor: Feasibility of a Photovoice
Principal Investigator: Aline Gubrium Co-Principal Investigator, RFA-OD-07-001 NIH Partners in Research Program (R03) 
Funding Dates: January 2008 – December 2010 
Proposal Summary: Approach to Increase Latino Parent-Adolescent Communication about Sexual Health Protection (with Dr. M. Idali Torres, University of Massachusetts-Boston)

Title: Let’s Talk About Sex: Voices of Puerto Rican Youth
Principal Investigator: Aline Gubrium 
Funding source: PHP Pilot Research fund, Dept of Public Health, UMass Amherst. 
Funding Dates: December 2007 - May 2008 
Proposal Summary: In collaboration with the Springfield High School of Science and Technology, conducting a CBPR-based community health assessment of Latino student sexual and reproductive health (with Dr. M. Idali Torres, University of Massachusetts-Amherst).

Domestic Violence and Interpersonal Relationships

Title: Using Visual Methods to Engage Indigenous Youth and Community Members in Cross-Site International Analysis
Principal Investigator:  Wexler, L. (Lead PI) (with collaborating co-PIs Stacy Rasmus, Olga Ulturgasheva, Jim Allen, and Michael Kral).
Funding Source:  National Science Foundation
Funding Dates:  2012-2013
Total Direct Costs: $149,596.
Proposal Summary: 

Title: Supplemental for: Collaborative Research: IPY: Negotiating Pathways to Adulthood: Social Change and Indigenous Culture in Five Circumpolar Communities
Principal Investigator:  Wexler, L. (PI) (with PIs Jim Allen, Michael Kral, and Olga Ulturgasheva)
Funding Source:  National Science Foundation
Funding Dates:  2008-2011
Total Direct Costs: $55,619 (all 5 sites combined approximately $150,000).
Proposal Summary:

Title: Community/Practice/Tribe-based Research Activity Funding Program
Principal Investigator:  Wexler, L. (Academic PI with tribal PI Evon Peter). Maniilaq Association (in collaboration with Gwanzhii, Maniilaq Association, Kawerak, Inc., Northwest Arctic School District, Bering Straits School District and Norton Sound Health Corporation).
Funding Source:  Institute for Translational Health Sciences
Funding Dates: 2010-2011
Total Direct Costs: $10,000.
Proposal Summary:

Title: Using Digital Stories to Collaboratively Understand the Lives of Pre, Early and late Adolescents in Northwest Alaskan Villages
Principal Investigator(s):  Wexler, L. (PI) with Aline Gubrium (Co-PI),
Funding Source:  Maniilaq Association
Funding Dates:  2010
Total Direct Costs:  $26,000

Title: Collaborative Research: IPY: *Negotiating Pathways to Adulthood: Social Change and Indigenous Culture in Frour Circumpolar Communities
Principal Investigator(s):  Wexler, L. (PI) (Collaborative proposal with Gerry Mohatt (PI), Jim Allen (PI), Michael Kral (PI), Olga Ulturgasheva (PI))
Funding Source:  Arctic Social Science, National Science Foundation, International Polar Year
Funding Dates:  2009-2012

Total Direct Costs:  UMass: $495,417 (all 4 sites combined: $1,090,000, Norwegian (Sami) site received other funding).

Nutrition

Title: UMass Vitamin D Status Study
Co-Principal Investigator: Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson and Alayne G. Ronnenberg
Funding sources: University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Procter and Gamble, Inc.
Funding Dates: 2007-2012
Proposal Summary: The main purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in young women and identify dietary and lifestyle factors associated with plasma vitamin D metabolite levels. Secondary aims of the project are to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D status, vitamin D receptor polymorphisms, menstrual symptoms and bone density. A total of 160 participants will be recruited from among students on the UMass campus. During a single clinic visit scheduled during the luteal phase of each participants menstrual cycle, we will collect fasting blood samples, measure height and weight, and have participants complete a questionnaire to measure lifestyle factors and diet. Participants will also be asked to have a dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan performed at University Health Services. Date of the next menstrual period will be confirmed with a follow-up email to participants 2 weeks after the clinic visit. Blood samples will be assayed for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, as well as calcium, folate, vitamins B6 and B12, and hormones, such as parathyroid hormone. Buffy coat from white blood cells will also be used to identify common polymorphisms in vitamin D receptor genes. Results from the study will increase knowledge of factors that influence vitamin D status, bone density and menstrual symptoms/premenstrual syndrome, which affect a large number of reproductive age women and are associated with substantial levels of impairment. Identification of dietary and lifestyle factors that may reduce vitamin D deficiency, low bone density and menstrual symptoms will provide women opportunities to reduce their risk of these common health problems.

Title: The Role of the Massachusetts Expanded Food and Nutrition Program in Promoting Food Security among SNAP Participants and SNAP-eligibles
Principal Investigator:   Jerusha Nelson Peterman
Funding Source: USDA-CSREES #H994
Funding Dates:
Total Direct Costs:

Proposal Summary This project involves a series of focus groups held with multicultural participants in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP). Early focus groups are being used to document coping strategies that low-income multicultural, including immigrant, families engage in when resources are constrained, and to develop language to capture early signs and early coping strategies of food insecurity that are not currently measured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Security Module. Because early coping strategies may have detrimental health consequences that lead to increased risk of overweight/obesity, nutrition education programs that incorporate healthy coping strategies and resource management may address some nutritional consequences of food insecurity. Later focus groups will address issues of coping and food security in specific ethnic and cultural groups, including specific immigrant groups (Southeast Asian refugees, Brazilian (many undocumented), Chinese, Caribbean Latino (many undocumented), and/or African). In the final year of the study, nutrition education materials will be developed and delivered to culturally-diverse EFNEP participants, and the impact on food security will be tested.


Title: Nutritional Status and Pregnancy Outcome in Minority Women
Principal Investigator: Alayne Ronnenberg 
Funding source: University of Massachusetts Faculty Research Grant 
Funding Dates: 
Total Direct Costs: $ 29,996
Proposal Summary: This study is being conducted at Midwifery Care of Holyoke, MA. Dietary intake and biomarkers of micronutrient status will be assessed in a group of 150 low-income women and their neonates.

Title: Partners for a Healthier Community/Blue Cross Blue Shield
Principal Investigator:  Elena Carbone
Funding Source:  Blue Cross Blue Shield
Funding Dates:  4/1/12-6/30/13
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary:  The goal of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the Springfield Farm-to-Preschool program on preschool children’s actual intake of fruits and vegetables. This project consists of three components: 1) a plate waste evaluation; 2) observations of preschool children’s meal time behaviors; and 3) interviews with school administrators, staff and teachers about the benefits and challenges of a Farm-to-Preschool program

 

Physical Activity

Title: Active Living Research
Principal Investigator: Sofiya Alhassan 
Funding source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
Funding Dates: 5/01/09-12/31/10 
Total Direct Costs: $50,000 
Proposal Summary: To examine the effects of classroom-teacher taught skill-based outdoor playtime physical activity program on overall daily physical activity levels of low socioeconomic status preschool-aged children Role: PI

Title: Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health Related Research
Principal Investigator: Freedson and Alhassan, (PI) 
Funding source: National Institutes of Health, 3RO1CA121005-03S1 
Funding Dates: 6/13/08 -6/12/11 
Total Direct Costs: $280,937 
Proposal Summary: To develop neural network system to identify physical activities and estimate activity energy expenditure in children and adolescents 

Title:
Principal Investigator: Alhassan, (PI) 
Funding source: Faculty Research Grant, University of Massachusetts 
Funding Dates: 12/1/07 - 11/30/08 
Total Direct Costs: $26,716 
Proposal Summary: To examine the effects of additional outdoor structured physical activity program on total daily physical activity in preschool-age children

Title: An Exercise Intervention to Prevent Recurrent Gestational Diabetes
Principal Investigator: Lisa Chasan-Taber 
Funding source: American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, National Institutes of Health, NIDDK 3R01DK 074876-04S1 
Funding Dates: 5/1/10-4/30/11
Total Direct Costs: 

Environmental Health

Title: Multi-scale Modeling of Infectious Diseases in Fluctuating Environments
Principal Investigator: Cummings
Nichola G. Reich, Role: Post-doctoral researcher
Funding source: NIH (RO1)
Funding Dates: 09/01/09 - 08/31/12
The goal of this grant is to develop mathematical tools for analyzing the dynamics of infectious diseases over time. Dr. Reich's work focuses on developing methods to estimate the duration and strength of cross-protection between serotypes of dengue virus.

Title:The Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial (The ResPECT STudy)
Principal Investigators: Perl and Radonovich
Nicholas G. Reich, Role: Co-investigator/Senior biostatistician
Funding source: CDC/VA
Funding Dates: 9/01/2011 - 8/31/2015
Proposal Summary: This study is investigating the comparative effectiveness of different personal protective equipment worn by health-care workers during the winter influenza season. Dr. Reich provides advice on study design and oversees data management and analysis.

Title: Healthy Environment Healthy Springfield
Principal Investigator: Christine Rogers
Funding source: EPA CARE Grant EPA-OAR-IO-10-04
Funding Dates:
Total Direct Costs:
Proposal Summary: The purpose of Healthy Environment Healthy Springfield is to mobilize and build capacity in our community to 
improve the environment by (1) joining together through outreach and education about local environmental risks and advocacy/leadership training for community residents and youth, and (2) developing a  coordinated action plan that identifies environmental risks based on consensus of a wide-range of stakeholders representative of the community to improve Springfield's environment. The project will use the EPA 10-step Road Map process to identify and prioritize of local environmental risk data and community strengths and resources. We plan to build on and maximize existing community resources by integrating HEHS activities into existing efforts whenever possible and linking HEHS activities to other initiatives that occur in isolation. We will perform an inventory of the primary environmental health risks facing the community and a risk assessment to prioritize these risks, including: ambient air quality; IAQ in Springfield schools and public buildings; hazardous construction materials and pesticide in public buildings; list of hazardous waste sites; drinking, surface and ground water; & pesticide, radon and lead in homes.

Title: Predicting regional allergy hotspots in future climate scenarios - Putting the where and when on wheezing.
Principal Investigators: David Foster, Kristina Stinson, Christine Rogers
Funding Source: EPA STAR Grant SU834359010
Funding Dates: 9/1/2010 to 8/31/2013
Total $898,634, Sub: $220,282
Proposal Summary: While most aeroallergens are mobile and can travel long distances, accurately tracking and predicting their movement requires tools at the scale of local plant populations. Organisms that cause allergic airway diseases tend to be widely distributed across heterogeneous landscapes. In such widespread species, local adaptations may lead to differentiation of populations into ecotypes, each uniquely matched to a particular suite of climatic conditions [1]. Ecotypes may differ in their responses to altered temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions predicted by global climate change [2-4], leading to potentially inconsistent changes in population sizes, distributions, and production of allergens such as pollenor spores within a single species. Climate change models have largely assumed that variation within species is less important than among species. However, future climate conditions may favor individuals or populations that are genetically different from those currently present in today's landscapes [3, 5], raising particular concern about the future status of allergenicorganisms that pose human health risks [6, 7]. Controlled experiments and field sampling methods that do not account for ecotypic differentiation could mask important differences within and among allergenic plant populations in their range of climate response. It is therefore critical to identify and understand the dynamics of the allergen-producing populations at the source of the problem.