UAMS to Receive $640,118 to Study Mental Health Needs of Rural African-Americans

By Sally Graham

PCORI announced the award as part of its Pilot Projects Program, which will address a broad range of questions about methods for engaging patients in various aspects of the research and dissemination process.

Greer Sullivan, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Community Engagement Component of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, will lead the two-year research project at UAMS along with community partners Mary Olson and Naomi Cottoms at Tri-County Rural Health Network.

The UAMS project will compare two approaches (traditional stakeholder focus groups and community deliberative democracy forums) to obtaining community members’ perspectives on mental health needs and approaches to addressing those needs. Community members will be African-Americans in the Arkansas Delta.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions.

“The Pilot Projects will improve our understanding of how to conduct research and disseminate research findings in ways that are more responsive to the needs of patients and the health care community,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D. “We are excited to be funding 50 projects nationwide, led by creative and innovative researchers. Their work will help us establish a foundation for patient-centered outcomes research that will give patients, caregivers and clinicians the tools they need every day.”

PCORI is committing $30 million over two years for the pilot projects, which were selected by PCORI’s Board of Governors through a competitive, multi-stage review process. Proposals were evaluated for their scientific merit and rigor and fit within eight areas of interest outlined in the pilot projects announcement.

Awards were approved for research institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia. They include those for projects designed to develop a range of tools and techniques aimed at improving patient-centered care and decision-making; create new patient-centered care measures; and improve delivery of patient-centered counseling and care in various health care settings.

“PCORI has done more than any other funding source to push the envelope toward incorporating community perspectives on health. It is gratifying to see emphasis placed on including the end user in the development of health interventions. We will all benefit from this approach,” Sullivan said.

For more information about the PCORI Pilot Projects, visit

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or