Institute Research Projects

Palliative Care:

Children with Special Health Care Needs & Transition Curriculum Development and Evaluation Proposal

This project will develop a graduate-level curriculum that focuses on youths (ages 14-21) with special healthcare needs transitions based in medical home practice. It will start with a pilot curriculum that will compose one, three-credit-hour course to be implemented in a graduate-level setting. Providing a curriculum that presents core elements of transition, coupled with experiential application of those elements to healthcare providers, who are still in training, offers a foundational opportunity to affect the future practice of providers, while achieving better outcomes for youths with special healthcare needs transitioning to adulthood.

PI: Barbara Jones; Project Director: Kendra Koch

Comprehensive Care of Children with Medical Complexity: Piloting an Innovative Model

The study is a randomized intervention trial that evaluates the effectiveness of the Specially for Children–Complex Care Clinic (Dell Children’s Medical Center) on two outcomes: utilization and cost of care; and evaluation of the experience of parents and their families. Primary outcome measures include change in healthcare utilization and cost of care assessed every two months for three years.

Co-PIs: Barbara Jones and Kendra Koch

Exploring the Experience of Latino Adolescent Young Adults with Advanced Cancer and Those Who Care for Them.

The primary objective of our research site will be to describe the perspectives, needs, and barriers to communication that Latino Spanish-speaking AYA patients and families experience in their end-of-life care. The proposed study builds on the work of the Dr. Abby Rosenberg and will expand on this work by focusing on a sample of Spanish speaking Latino patients and families recruited from cancer centers in Austin, Texas.

We will conduct one-on-one semi-structured interviews with Latino AYA patients, caregivers and bereaved caregivers utilizing modified grounded theory analyses with “constant comparisons” methods of all transcribed interviews. Participants will include 40 Hispanic/Latinos including 20 AYAs with advanced cancer; 10 caregivers of AYAs with advanced cancer; and 10 bereaved caregivers of AYAs with cancer.

PI: Barbara Jones with Co-PI: Farya Phillips

Wonders & Worries: Evaluation of a child centered psychosocial intervention for families who have a parent with cancer.

This study evaluated the outcomes of a community based psychosocial intervention provided by child life specialists targeted to children dealing with parental cancer. This curriculum provided an age-appropriate understanding of the illness, facilitated the expression of feelings, identified individual coping skills to help ease feelings related to parent’s cancer, and enhanced the family’s ability to communicate about the disease.

PI: Farya Phillips

Cancer Screening:

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Services among Hispanic Women in Rural and Frontier Texas

The purpose of the Friend to Friend plus Patient Navigation Program (FTF+PN) program is to build an effective, sustainable infrastructure and overcome barriers to breast and cervical screening and diagnostic services to increase screening rates for uninsured and older women in 49 frontier, rural and border counties. The Patient Navigation process builds on a successful, evidence-based FTF program, which Texas AgriLife has been providing in rural Texas since 2000.

PI: Derek Falk; Faculty Preceptor: Barbara Jones

Oncology Delivery of Care:

Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: an Oncology Social Work Response (ExCEL)

ExCEL (Excellence in Cancer Education & Leadership) strives to improve the delivery of psychosocial-spiritual care for oncology patients through an innovative social work-specific educational program. ExCEL is a collaborative partnership between the City of Hope, the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) and the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Work (APOSW).

Co-PI: Barbara Jones

Communicating Oncologic Prognosis with Empathy (COPE) Study

This study’s goal is to evaluate an interprofessional communication guide, Communicating Oncologic Prognosis with Empathy (COPE), for discussing prognosis and treatment options for cancer patients. Specifically, the researchers aim to:

  1. Refine the COPE instrument based on feedback from additional providers.
  2. Evaluate the feasibility of using the COPE instrument for discussing prognosis with cancer patients.
  3. Measure the COPE instrument’s efficacy in educating patients on their prognosis and improving patient experience of communication with the provider team.

Co-PIs: Barbara Jones and Boone W. Goodgame


National Social Work Collaboration for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD):

This project is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s national initiative to strengthen research-to-practice linkages between the CDC FASD Practice and Implementation Centers (PICs) and practice disciplines that are well positioned to advance Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention and treatment.

Co-PI: Beth Pomeroy

Capacity Building Project to Serve the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Needs of HIV Infected Persons in Texas

In 2007, more than $185 million was available in Texas for direct client services to persons infected with HIV through the federally funded Ryan White Program, state and direct HOPWA, and general revenue funds. Less than 2% of these funds was allocated toward mental health services, and not all of these funds were utilized by service providers. This project seeks to explore the under utilization of these funds and to assess the needs and capacities associated with mental health and substance abuse service needs of HIV infected persons in Texas.

Co-PI: Beth Pomeroy

Texas STD/HIV Prevention Training Center Evaluation:

This multi-faceted evaluation project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control through the Texas Department of State Health Services, involves several components:

1) A needs assessment survey of state, regional, and local health department HIV and STD Program Managers in Federal Regions 4 and 6 (including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) to determine the current need and demand for the HIV Partner Counseling and Referral Services (PCRS) training, Introduction to STD Intervention (ISTDI) training, and other related partner services and program support courses

2) Evaluation of current HIV training programs to identify barriers or facilitators that helped and/or hindered a participant in his/her ability to implement skills and knowledge acquired during the training and/or other impediments to the training (location of the training, length of the training, etc).

3) A 3-month post-course evaluation for participants who completed training in HIV Partner Counseling and Referral Services, to identify the minimum the number of partners elicited by these counselors, ease of obtaining information on notified partners, and barriers to eliciting and/or notifying partners.

4) Research to identify structural elements (e.g. laws, policies, procedures, staffing changes, length of time between course and a case) relevant to effective training delivery.

Co-PI: Beth Pomeroy

HIV/AIDS Prevention Intervention for Women Who Have Experienced Intimate Partner Abuse:

The specific aims of the study are: 1) to gain an understanding among African American, Mexican American, and Anglo women about the meaning of sexual abuse or rape for the risk for HIV infection; 2) to identity beliefs and practices of HIV/AIDS prevention knowledge among women who have experienced IPA; 3) to understand ethnic/racial difference in beliefs and practices of HIV/AIDS prevention knowledge within the context of an abusive relationship; and 4) to use findings to help design a culturally and contextually grounded HIV/AIDS Prevention Intervention for women who have experienced IPA.

Co-PI: Beth Pomeroy

Reducing Risk for Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancy:

Project Choices: Program Assessment of the Texas FASD Prevention Project:

Beginning in 2004, the Texas Department for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (TOPDD) and the UT Austin’s School of Social Work developed and implemented the Texas FASD Prevention Project to identify methods to reach women of childbearing age who are at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. During the first three years of this FASD prevention project, title Texas Choices, encompassed the following components: Screening, Brief Alcohol Education, Brief Intervention, Enhanced FASD Intervention, and the Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP). Together, these components offered a comprehensive approach to preventing FASD.

Currently, the project involves the development and implementation of a 4-session “Project Choices” intervention that will be delivered to women who are in substance abuse treatment centers throughout the state of Texas. Dr. Mary Velasquez and her training team will be training the facilitators in these centers to implement the intervention.

PI: Beth Pomeroy

Geriatric Social Work Training:

Geriatric Social Work Initiative: 

The aim of the project is to provide students with opportunities to achieve a set of competencies in geriatric social work. Upon graduation, it is expected students will be: 1) aware of the changing demographics; 2) more competent to address the needs of older adults; 3) able to analyze social policy as it affects all age groups in our society; and 4) better prepared to work with intergenerational and transgenerational issue across the lifespan.

PI: Beth Pomeroy