Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

Research Projects

Colleges and Universities Addressing Health Disparities (CUAHD)

Mohan DuttaMaking better health decisions requires access to better health information. Although national organizations disseminate the latest research results, the information is not always in a format or language that is accessible to all communities. In this project, Purdue University worked with several Indiana organizations and communities to help increase awareness of comparative effectiveness resources for heart health decision making. The goal was to help consumers know of these resources in the case of heart health problems.

“One of the main goals of the project has been to involve [the] community in every step of decision making as it relates to disseminating evidence-based information into the hands of consumers. This is driven by the very simple notion that healthcare disparities exist because of a lack of information infrastructures regarding treatment and effectiveness of treatment,” says PI Mohan Dutta.

“In our project, we use the culture-centered approach to put the communities at the center of decision making. Through advisory boards [and] workshops, community members come together to develop solutions, to disseminate the effectiveness information among their key stakeholders.”

The team won a $1.5 million AHRQ grant to test this concept with improving awareness and understanding of research related to heart health among African Americans in Marion and Lake counties. Community advisory boards were established to work through an iterative process of developing communication strategies to improve promotion and communication of comparative effectiveness research in their respective communities. To support these tasks, the project team partnered with the Purdue’s Rosen Center to implement, a Hubzero-based collaborative environment, which facilitated ongoing online interaction to supplement face-to-face engagement with the advisory boards.

Over the course of two years, and in partnership with a community-selected advising firm, a range of print and web-based AHRQ developed comparative effectiveness summary guides were tailored for distribution within the local communities as a part of a large heart health campaign, including the development of



“So often when we think about the biomedical or clinical iteration [of comparative effectiveness information], it is so out of line, out of synch with the lived experiences of African American communities,” Dutta says.

The advisory board drew on resource guides from AHRQ but, as part of the project, was encouraged to re-frame any language or content they felt was necessary. Eventually, the group settled on several tools:

  • Printed materials;
  • Radio and TV spots;
  • Wrapped vehicles; and
  • Partnerships with Indiana Black Expo and local vendors.

Advisory groups in both Lake and Marion Counties determined how and to what extent each tool was deployed in their communities. Whenever possible, the groups shared resources.

The final year of the project was devoted to the implementation of the community-based campaign and collection of campaign effectiveness data in Lake and Marion Counties, as well as in Allen county, which functioned as a control community. Data analysis is currently underway.

Initial results of some of the qualitative data analysis are published in an upcoming book: Kreps, G., & Dutta, M. (Eds). (in press). Communication and health disparities. Hampton Press.

About the project:

Project: Application and Disseminationof a Culture-Centered Approach to Tailoring Comparative Effectiveness Research Summary Guides.
PI: Mohan Dutta, Brian Lamb School of Communication
Co-PI: Bart Collins, Titilayo A. Okoror
Partners: Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Lake County Minority Health Coalition
Funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Research area: Population Health/Disparities

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