UAMS Center for Health Literacy Awarded $2.9 Million by National Institutes of Health

By Ben Boulden

A patient-centered medical home is a clinical setting where health professionals work as a team to address patients’ immediate medical needs and manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Kristie Hadden, Ph. D., Center for Health Literacy director, will serve as principal investigator for the study, which will begin in April. She holds the Carl L. Nelson Chair of Orthopaedic Creativity in the College of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics.

“Engaging the resources of the UAMS Regional Centers was an important missing piece in diabetes education programs,” Hadden said. “So often patients, especially those who live in rural areas, don’t have the time or resources to attend intensive education classes, and often the materials are difficult to understand. Our regional center health coaches and easy-to-read materials will use health literacy as a new approach to improving outcomes, especially for those patients who typically struggle the most.”

The research project will be implemented in partnership with UAMS Regional Programs through its regional centers in Fayetteville/Springdale, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Magnolia, Pine Bluff, Springdale and Texarkana. All of the regional centers are certified as patient-centered medical homes.

“We are excited to be involved with this project that will help our patients with diabetes to improve their outcomes,” Tim Hill, vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Programs. “This will benefit not only our patients, but also our medical home teams, and the communities our centers serve across the state. Our health coaches will work with patients to help them achieve patient-centered goals over time through personalized follow-up and coaching.”

Two nationally prominent health literacy researchers, Michael Wolf of Northwestern University in Chicago and Terry Davis of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, are collaborating with Hadden in the research.

She built working relationships with Wolf and Davis after inviting them to UAMS as part of a health literacy lecture series that was sponsored by the UAMS Translational Research Institute.  Those relationships were critical in the grant application.
Hadden is an early-stage investigator, and this study is her first funded research through the NIH.  The R01 grant program through which the grant was awarded is one of the most competitive grants that NIH awards. The funding agency for the grant is the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; 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, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental 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 regional centers throughout the state. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.