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Recent Projects

Alcohol Consumption and Education

Rojas-Miesse, Nohelia
Castañeda, Martha
Ward, Rose Marie

Total alcohol per capita consumption is high in Nicaragua, with 50% of Nicaraguans aged between 18 and 65 years consuming alcoholic beverages (WHO, 2014; FLASCO, 2013). 27% of the drinking population has a prevalence of heavy episodic drinking, concentrated in upper middle class adults and high school students (WHO, 2010). Moreover, men, university graduates, those residing in big cities, and those in the upper middle class, are the largest consumers of alcohol (FLASCO, 2013). These initial studies, however, have been limited in identifying the motives for alcohol consumption, which serve as the building blocks of an intervention.

GHRIC funds are being used to initiate collaborative research between two of the most prominent high schools in Nicaragua serving upper middle class students, and an interdisciplinary team of Miami University faculty. Specifically, we hope to examine the relationship between drinking motives (reasons for consuming alcohol), alcohol consequences, and alcohol consumption among upper middle class high school students. We will use this information to develop a workshop that will present the consequences of alcohol consumption and will be delivered to high school students in Nicaragua. To maximize distribution of content, we will also develop a workshop for in-service teachers detailing the research, activities, and methods for presenting the unit to high school students. The first phase of this project has already been completed in the winter term of 2017.


FLASCO (2013). Alcohol Consumption on the Caribbean Coast. Latin American Faculty on Social Sciences.

World Health Organization (2010). Country Profile: Nicaragua. Atlas of Substance Use Disorders. pp. 1-4.

World Health Organization (2014). Nicaragua. Global Alcohol Report.

Environment and Health

Levy, Jonathan
(in collaboration with the University of Zambia & Zambian Environmental Management Agency)

The Republic of Zambia is home to vast mineral resources including copper, cobalt, zinc and lead. Until 1994, Zambia's principal producer of lead and zinc was the Broken Hill mine in Kabwe, Zambia, the provincial capital of Central Province located about 110 km north of the national capital of Lusaka. In 2007, Time magazine named Kabwe one of the 11 world's most polluted places due to the extent of lead contamination and the resulting serious health implications for humans and animals.

With this project, we are initiating research collaboration between Miami University Global Health faculty, faculty at the University of Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia (in the Integrated Water Resource Management Centre and the Department of Public Health), the Zambian Water Resources Management Authority, the Zambian Environmental Management Agency, and faculty at Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA.

This collaboration will result in a uniquely holistic pilot of the environmental contaminations (in soil, water, air, and plants), pathways to human exposure, and the consequences of that exposure on human health. The beginning pilot work will culminate in an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the University of Zambia and a proposal to seek external funding to conduct a holistic, thorough study of the environmental contamination of Kabwe and its impacts on human health and wellbeing.

PRIMED for Action Study of Infant Mortality in Butler County

Hay-Rollins, Cameron
Flaspohler, Paul
Armstrong, Ann Elizabeth
Bailer, Jennifer
King, Toni

GHRIC founding members, Cameron Hay-Rollins and Paul Flaspohler, together with Ann Elizabeth Armstrong in Theater, Jennifer Bailer who is the Director of Nursing at the Butler County Health Department and a Miami alumnus, and Toni King an RN and soon-to-be-certified Midwife who is also a Miami alumnus, are all engaged in a interdisciplinary pilot project using innovative and artistic methods to gain insight into the lifeworlds of people most at risk for infant mortality.

Ohio has the worst black, non-Hispanic infant mortality rate in the nation, and Butler County is one of the worst urban areas in the state, particularly for African American babies. Our pilot project, PRIMED for Action, has received funding from the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship at Miami University to conduct interviews and small community focus groups to better understand the contexts that put infants at risk in our county. We submitted an NIH grant application in November 2015 to build a strong Community Based Participatory Research partnership between academic, health agency, and community members to further strive to ameliorate the problem of African American infant mortality.

Assessing Contamination and Transport Pathways of Lead from the Tar Creek Superfund Site to Lands of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Rech, Jason

In the early 1900s, the largest lead and zinc ore deposits in the US were found in northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, and western Missouri in what came to be known as the Tri-State Mining District. This region supplied most of the lead and zinc to the US until the mines slowed and then closed down during the 1960s and 1970s, leaving behind a swath of environmental waste over thousands of hectares.

The Tar Creek Superfund Site, situated just 10 km north of the headquarters of the Miami Tribe and 5 km east the tribal youth summer camp grounds, is the largest heavy-metal mining Superfund site location in the United States in terms of:

  • total area degraded
  • volume of mine tailings left behind
  • size of the population exposed

The mobilization of the mine tailings and exposed ore at the Tar Creek Superfund site, largely by wind, water, and humans, has allowed the contamination to spread throughout the area, causing a direct threat to local communities. Exposure to heavy metals associated with lead-zinc mining has been linked to kidney, neurologic, and vascular toxicity as well as mortality from hypertension and stroke.

Our research project funded through Global Health has 2 main objectives:

  1. Conduct a study of the lead concentrations and transport pathways in pecans, a key food source on Miami Tribal lands of Oklahoma, on the Geboe Lot which is home to the 'Eewansaapita' summer camp for children of the Miami Tribe.
  2. Strengthen ties and begin communication regarding a large-scale project with the Environmental and Health administrative branches of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

EpiRadar: Forecasting and Global-Health-Policy Design to Mitigate Zika, Yellow Fever, and Other Mosquito-borne Diseases

Rao, Dhananjai

Humanity continues to confront health and socioeconomic hardships from several mosquito-borne diseases such as:

  • malaria
  • dengue
  • Chikungunya
  • Yellow Fever
  • Zika

Proactive interventions require "forecasts" (akin to weather forecasting) that anticipate questions of "where", "when", and "intensity" to describe the potential of an epidemic in order to preemptively contain. The proposed transdisciplinary effort will pursue collaborative preliminary investigations to establish a data-driven methodology for forecasting and assessing intervention strategies to mitigate and contain mosquito-borne epidemics, specifically Yellow Fever and Zika in West Africa, including: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

The proposed effort builds on our prior methodology called EpiRadar — a result of over a decade of investigations conducted in ecological modeling, simulation, epidemiological analysis, and global health policy. EpiRadar was designed specifically for Chikungunya in Americas. The proposed investigations aim to establish feasibility and effectiveness of extending EpiRadar for forecasting and analysis of health policies for other mosquito-borne diseases, namely: Yellow Fever and Zika in West Africa.

Bridge the Gap: Innovation for Designing Solutions to Problems of Chronic Disabling

Bailey-Van Kuren, Michael

In the field of pediatric rehabilitation, there is a need for problem solving and the application of technology to provide practicing therapists with new solutions to improve the efficacy of therapy sessions. This proposal will implement a novel method to link problem solving resources with global health partners to address local needs.

For over 5 years, Engineering and Interactive Media Studies students have been developing low-cost therapy tools for pediatric physical therapy for children with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Global estimates suggest that 3 - 14/1000 infants are affected by disabling chronic conditions each year. These conditions are challenging to manage in high-income countries, and tend to be highly neglected needs in low- and middle-income countries.

Since 2011, these capstone design projects have been integrated with an international workshop that partners with private clinics (Lincoln, UK, London, and San Francisco). Students apply design thinking processes that focus on therapist and patient needs in order to develop solutions. The prototype solutions that result from these workshops require further development which has not occurred due to time and resource constraints. As a result, the tools have not made their way back into clinics for their intended use.

This project aims to build a novel crowdsourced collaborative online design community to meet the needs of pediatric rehabilitation. The online community will gather needs and solicit solutions from the global rehabilitation community, developing a unique global community of problem solvers, linking Miami University students and their designs with the clinics that would put those designs into practice.

Teen Depression and Anxiety

Raval, Vaishali
(in collaboration with St. John's Medical School in India)

Depression is among the leading causes of disability with worldwide prevalence rates averaging around 3% of the world's population. In India, depression has been reported to be as high 15% to 19% among college students. Depression in youth is particularly critical in India, because a majority of deaths by suicide are among Indians under the age of 30 (Aggarwal, 2015; Vijaykumar, 2007), and suicide rates are particularly high in South India (Vijaykumar, 2007). During communications with Dr. Ashok Mysore of St. John's Medical School in Bangalore, India it was clear that currently used screening measures for anxiety and depression among children and adolescents in India lack sensitivity.

GHRIC funds will be used in a collaborative pilot study between Miami University Global Health faculty and faculty in the divisions of community health and psychiatry at St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, India to develop a culturally sensitive screening measure for depression and anxiety in India. This pilot work will culminate in a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with St. John's Medical College and a proposal to seek external funding to validate the culturally sensitive measure.


Aggarwal, S. (2015). Suicide in India. British Medical Bulletin, 114, 127-134.

Vijaykumar, L. (2007). Suicide and its prevention: The urgent need in India. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 49, 81–84. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.33252.

Explorations in Global Health: Call for Faculty Grant Proposal Applications

The Global Health Research Innovation Center (GHRIC) is pleased to announce a call for proposals for faculty research grants. These grants are designed to foster the development of research initiatives and partnership projects in global health. Grants will be made to Miami faculty to undertake small-scale, collaborative pilot research projects in global health and/or travel (of Miami faculty or domestic/international collaborators) to cultivate research relationships through establishing institutional linkages and jointly developing or writing research proposals. The expectation is that at least one outcome of each project will be the submission of an external grant proposal.

Proposed projects must involve at least two Miami faculty members from different departments. Budgets are expected to be between $4000-$8000. We expect to award 1-2 grants, with start times no earlier than January 2, 2017. If funded, additional funding of up to $1000 may be available to help support presentation of the proposed project at either the annual conference of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health or the Global Health and Innovation Conference (Unite for Sight).

Preference will be given to applications that have a high likelihood of generating successful proposals for external funding and that include collaborations with faculty currently involved in global health initiatives at Miami University. Other review criteria include (1) strength of proposal, (2) evidence of interdisciplinary and innovative approach, (3) relevance to global health, and (4) fit within the mission of the GHRIC.


Full-time faculty (tenured and tenure track, lecturers) from all divisions at Miami University are eligible to apply for funding. VAPS, adjunct faculty, post-docs, and students are not eligible for this opportunity. Degree-seeking students of all levels may be included in faculty teams, however this opportunity is to fund faculty research interests with the expectation that faculty will continue to pursue this research past the funding period; it is not an opportunity to fund graduate student research under faculty supervision.

Application Process

The project proposal should consist of no more than 5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and describe:

  • the research project to be developed;
  • a clear statement of the global health significance of the proposed project;
  • the applicants' current academic positions and backgrounds relevant to the proposed research;
  • the nature of the partnership, if applicable (i.e. domestic or international collaborating faculty member(s), institution(s), and any existing linkages);
  • expected benefits such as development or reinforcement of international institutional relationships for the University (e.g. MOUs, faculty exchanges, etc);
  • the budget, cost justification, primary department to manage the budget;
  • proposed timeline; and
  • the external grant opportunity that is at least one aim of the proposed project
  • Please also include biosketches (NIH style) or CVs (maximum 4 pages) of all researchers involved in the project, as well as brief letters of support from domestic or international collaborators as appropriate (not included in the 5-page limit). The application packet must be a single PDF file labeled with the applicant' last names: Smith_Jones_GHRIC_16-17.pdf

The award will be made as a single funds transfer to one of the applicants' department(s). Allowable budget items include supplies and travel-related expenses. The award cannot support any human resources needs. All travel and financial expenditures and reporting carried out under the Explorations in Global Health program must comply with Miami, state, and federal regulations and procedures.

More Information

Cameron Hay-Rollins
Associate Professor
Dept of Anthropology

Requirements for Grant Recipients

  • Recipients will provide GHRIC with brief quarterly progress reports and a final report May 10, 2017. All reports should include details on any external grant proposals or other outcomes achieved (submitted manuscripts, travel and its outcomes, public-forum events at Miami, MOUs, conference presentations, etc.).
  • Recipients will give a seminar or talk on their project either fall or spring semester during the 2016-2017 school year (GHRIC will assist with coordinating such a seminar). If an international colleague is brought to campus, that colleague must give a seminar at Miami during her or his visit, and engage with Miami students both in and outside of a classroom setting.
  • Recipients must provide photos, interviews, or other materials related to their work to assist GHRIC with communications about this program.
  • Any application, abstract, publication, or other product generated from research supported by this funding mechanism must acknowledge the Miami University Global Health Research Innovation Center by name or inclusion of the center's logo.

Global Health Research Innovation Center

M. Cameron Hay-Rollins, Ph.D.
120C Upham Hall
Oxford, OH 45056