Pilot Projects

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Featured Investigators

Trey Clark, MDClark
Assistant Professor
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Remote Hypertension Management Using Home Blood Pressure Telemonitoring and a Standardized Treatment Protocol

The burden of hypertensive heart disease has substantially shifted to the southeastern United States. The state of Mississippi has the highest cardiovascular mortality rate in the country, with more deaths attributable to hypertension than any other state. Dr. Clark’s funding supports a prospective pilot project evaluating hypertension management using home-based blood pressure telemonitoring and a standardized treatment protocol. This award will provide the means to obtain preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility of remote hypertension management using telemedicine in a geographic area where improvement in cardiovascular health is most needed. The objective of this project is to establish a telehealth program for hypertension management at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and conduct a prospective pilot study among 100 patients with hypertension (Aim 1). This project will determine safety of the program and obtain preliminary data informing RE-AIM (Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance) elements of the intervention (Aim 2).


Hannah Copeland, MDCopeland
Assistant Professor
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Adipose Tissue Effects on Cardiac Surgery Outcomes (ATECO)

Obesity is a well-established risk factor for multiple cardiovascular disease including: coronary artery disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. At least, 35% of Mississippi residents are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control. The goal of Dr. Copeland’s study is to describe and test the predictive power of a more informative definition of obesity using a prospective trial of all consecutive patients aged 18-80 undergoing elective and urgent cardiac surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Subjects will have obesity described via biometric measurements (waist and hip circumferences), functional status will be assessed, and adipose tissue biomarker profiles. The primary endpoint will be clinical outcomes of cardiac surgery in the immediate post-operative period (within the first 30 days after surgery) and long-term (within in the first year after surgery). The secondary outcomes include: in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, hospital length of stay, 30-day, 1-year survival and rate of re-admission. Also included will be length of time on respiratory support (prolonged ventilation greater than 24 hours), new onset acute renal failure, superficial wound infection, sternal wound infection, stroke, atrial fibrillation and disposition on discharge (discharged to home, home with home health, transfer to a rehab or nursing facility).


David R. Dolbow, PhD, DPT, RKTdolbow.jpg
Assistant Professor
University of Southern Mississippi

Electrically Induced Cycling and Nutritional Counseling for Counteracting Obesity after SCI

Dr. Dolbow's research focus is on the use of activity-based restorative therapies to reverse unhealthy body composition changes and the increased cardiometabolic disease risk that take place after spinal cord injury. Specifically, decreasing body fat, increasing skeletal muscle, improving vascular health and circulation, and improving blood lipid and and glucose profiles. Restoration of body composition to healthy proportions of muscle and fat and enhancing peripheral vascular health is important for improving mobility and decreasing cardiometabolic disease risk. 

Dr. Dolbow has developed a resistance-guided high intensity interval training functional electrical stimulation cycling protocol, which has been been shown in preliminary studies, to increase muscle mass in paralyzed legs, while improving cardiometabolic health markers in obese individuals with spinal cord injury. The research aim for Dr. Dolbow’s group will be to determine preliminary efficacy of the new electrically induced cycling protocol combined with nutritional counseling in obese adults with chronic spinal cord injury. Positive results in this pilot study may help provide a new direction for weight control and cardiometabolic health programs and basis for developing evidence-based practice information for clinicians and those with paralytic conditions.


Brad Dufrene, PhD
University of Southern Mississippi

Mechanisms of change in parenting programs to prevent childhood obesity

Dr. Dufrene's project focuses on parental influences of children’s health. He aims to test the effects of modified Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) on health measures of behaviors that tend to cause obesity, determine agents of change that may explain the PCIT’s influence on behaviors that tend to cause obesity, and evaluate the social validity of PCIT using rating scales completed by parents and interviews using qualitative analytic methods.

The overall goal of the project is to obtain a better understanding of why evidence-based parenting programs impact negative health behaviors related to obesity and disentangle the relationships among these potential mechanisms of change.


Meagen Rosenthal, PhD
Pharmacy Administration
University of Mississippi (Oxford Campus)   

Patient Perceptions of and Attitudes toward a Weight Management Program Offered by Community Pharmacies

Dr. Rosenthal’s project aims to determine the weight management knowledge, and design, of a weight management program to be delivered in a community pharmacies in Mississippi. Patients’ perspectives will be obtained through five focus group interviews with 50 patients from four communities in northern and central Mississippi. The proposed study will provide a list of weight management program characteristics including kinds of advice and program design components that are currently unavailable in the weight management literature.