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Rams Have Heart

Accessing CVD Risk Factors Among African American College Students through Blood Marker Investigation is a three-year $351,185 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among African-American college students. The project is studying the manifestation of CVD risk factors among African-American college-age students, using WSSU students and faculty to conduct an intervention promoting healthy behaviors through the use of a mobile phone app called Rams Have HEART created especially for this study.

“We believe an important population to reach is young adults who are at a critical
juncture in their lives. African-American college students are an understudied population
with substantial risk for obesity and metabolic dysfunctions,” said Dr. Vanessa Duren
Winfield, Assistant Professor, Healthcare Management and Principal Investigator (PI). 

In addition to the mobile a 3-credit hour semester long course is taught to introduce students to fundamental aspects of cardiovascular health, wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyle behaviors. This course will be compared to students  enrolled in a fundamental aspects of healthful living course. One hundred students will participate in the intervention.

The study is based on the hypothesis that, compared to the control group, students enrolled in the CVD healthy lifestyle behavior course will have improved health behaviors (e.g. increased fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity participation, cardiovascular fitness, sleep quality, and stress reduction), a lower BMI and waist circumference, and lower blood markers.

One of the goals of the grant is to expose students to research through participation as research assistants. Project funds support 10 paid student researchers who assist with fitness and anthropometric measures, evaluation and other data collection activities.

Grant #: 1R15MD010194

Vanessa Duren-Winfield
Vanessa  Duren-Winfield
MS, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator 

Assistant Professor, Healthcare Management
Director of Research School of Health Sciences

Amanda Alise Price
Ph.D., BSEd
Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor, Exercise Physiology
Affiliated Research Scientist, Gramercy Research Group 

Georgia McCauley
MBA, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Clinical Laboratory Science 

Kristina Roberson

Assistant Professor, Nursing

Dr. Paul Kizakevich of the Research Triangle Institute, is also a collaborating partner who has expertise conducting research in personal monitoring and intervention methods for health and environmental applications using handheld smartphone technologies.

Loneke T. Blackman Carr, Ph.D., RD
CVD Interventionist & Curriculum Instructor
Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill