Communities and Universities Addressing Health Disparities (CUAHD)

The Problem

Comparative effectiveness research summary guides provide excellent summaries of the evidence comparing methods for treating a wide range of medical conditions. However, despite the potential relevance of research guides to underserved populations, they are likely to have little impact on the health of those populations, for reasons including:

  1. Language: Both health literacy and English proficiency are often limited, making the research guides difficult for many to understand
  2. Examples: In their current form, research guides do not offer specific examples and role models
  3. Delivery Mechanism: Because underserved populations often have less access to clinical information on the internet and less exposure to the health care system and
  4. Current mechanisms (such as the Internet) for making research guides available to the public are unlikely to reach these groups.


This project seeks to develop tailored research guides on heart disease targeted toward African Americans in Indiana, given the existing disparities among racial/ethnic groups in the area of heart disease, and the prevalence of heart disease among African Americans in the state of Indiana.

  1. Develop and test culture-centered approaches for training local leaders and members of African American communities on how to tailor comparative effectiveness research guides related to hypertension and how to develop a strategy for creating awareness of these tailored research guides that will work in their local context.
  2. Develop and test a health disparities hub that can be assessed by community leaders and members seeking to tailor research guides and distribution mechanisms for their local populations.
  3. Increase the use of tailored hypertension research guides in underserved African American communities in Indiana.


The study uses a combination of the participation-based culture centered approach and message tailoring methods to develop a framework for the development, implementation, evaluation and sustenance of adjusted research guides. These methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and tailoring workshops to engage the local communities in the identification of criteria and the development of tailored messages from within the communities.

The health disparities hub was developed using Purdue’s HubZero platform. A baseline survey and a post-intervention survey will be used to assess the impact of the project.

Potential Impact

The CUAHD project is developing guidelines and resources for other communities interested in developing culture-centered approaches to healthcare challenges. These will become part of the AHRQ toolkit library and will be available online. It is hoped that these tools will allow others to achieve similar results in shorter time periods and with less initial research needed.

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