Intervention research is a strength of our department. We carry out quantitative and qualitative research to identify ecological determinants of health and health behavior, then use this evidence to develop and implement interventions to create positive change. We leverage a solid theory-based scientific foundation that guides the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions to maximize positive impacts and decrease inequities. Our approach, described above in the community engagement and participatory approaches section, results in strong partnerships that guide our intervention work and ensure its cultural appropriateness and relevance. Our students graduate with strong theoretical grounding and skills in intervention development and evaluation.
An essential question we ask in our work is: How can we integrate theory with culture to maximize an intervention’s reach and impact?
Here are some of the theory-based intervention projects our faculty are currently engaged in:
Promoting Culturally Appropriate Care for New Iowans
Rima Afifi & Will Story
In collaboration with the College of Law, Linn County Public Health, and the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, this project aims to determine Iowa refugees’ cultural understandings of mental health needs and services; assess the facilitators of and barriers to effective treatment and reduction of psychological and emotional distress among refugee communities; and identify best practices for treating refugee mental health needs in eastern Iowa.
Understanding Midwakh Smoking among Youth in the Arab World
Midwakh is an alternate tobacco product that is used most in the Arabian Gulf but is starting to spread across the Arab world and globally. We have conducted focus groups discussions with Midwakh ever and current users in Lebanon, and will be conducting a variety of research projects in the UAE to more fully understand the patterns and determinants of Midwakh use, particularly among youth and the attitudes and behaviors of influencers (parents, teachers, policy makers, peers). This will lead to the development of programs and policies to prevent and control this alternate form of tobacco.
Understanding the Context and Determinants of E-Cigarette Use among University Undergraduate Students
This project is part of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) of the CPH. We have conducted interviews with 54 undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, University of Washington, and East Carolina University to more fully understand the use of e-cigarettes among this population. Results will guide the development of interventions to promote wellbeing of University students by preventing use of e-cigarettes.
Building a Bridge between Clinical and Community Care
Post diagnosis support of persons with dementia and their families – Major Goal: To implement and evaluate family-centered post diagnostic intervention that link newly diagnosed individuals and families to community resources, ensure continuous social support, and minimize negative consequences of dementia on individuals diagnosed and their families.
Family Caregiving in Iowa Communities
Relationships between community-based providers and family – Major Goal: To implement and evaluate family-centered post diagnostic intervention that link newly diagnosed individuals and families to community resources, ensure continuous social support, and minimize negative consequences of dementia on individuals diagnosed and their families.
Evaluation of Medicaid Programs
We utilize qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate Medicaid and Medicaid expansion programs to identify policies, which are effective at promoting health and decreasing health disparities.
Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network
As part of the Prevention Research Center, the University of Iowa is a collaborating center in the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN). The CPCRN works to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based interventions in cancer prevention and control. At the University of Iowa we have conducted research in FQHC on tobacco screening and colorectal cancer screening, as well as exploring clinic-community linkages related to the uptake of the HPV vaccine.
Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Toolkit
Rural areas of the country have been especially affected by the obesity epidemic. Because many people eat in restaurants this is a possible point of environmental intervention. A toolkit was developed based on the Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Project. This project was a low-cost, low-risk intervention in rural restaurants that was designed to influence ordering behavior.
Birth to Three Cavity Free Study
Early childhood caries (ECC) can be prevented through simple strategies carried out by parents. An educational intervention targeting WIC program mothers was tested and found to be effective in changing parental attitudes and behaviors around ECC prevention. A larger clinical trial is planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention when delivered in WIC program sites.
Building Capacity to Develop Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Peri-Urban India
Globally, the highest rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) are reported in Southeast Asia. In India, IPV is intensifying in peri-urban areas where over half of the population lives, exacerbated by growing income inequalities and rapid social change. Dr. Story is collaborating with the Saint John’s Medical College in Bangalore to generate evidence about IPV and develop male-focused strategies to reduce IPV in India’s peri-urban settings. The collaboration, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is addressing the urgent need to work with early adolescent boys their male role models to reshape ideologies about gender roles and masculinity.
Health System Effects of Long-Term Interventions
Case study analyses: In partnership with Save the Children U.S., this evaluative study explored both opportunities taken and opportunities lost for strengthening systems for health through integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) and emergency health and nutrition (EHN) programs over the last 10 years. The team used an embedded case study approach to examine the health system effects of iCCM programs in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique and EHN programs in Sudan and Pakistan.