Current Research Projects
The Center has numerous ongoing research projects as listed below:
Community Based Physical Activity to Aid Smoking Cessation
Investigators: Ken Ward, Shelly Stockton, Barbara McClanahan
Funder: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 HL68569)
Overview: In partnership with the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South, this randomized controlled
trial (called “LEAP”) will determine whether increasing physical activity, via access
to a health coach and YMCA facilities, improves smoking quit rates beyond the current
“state of the art” treatment of nicotine replacement plus behavioral therapy.
Effects of Smoking Cessation and Physical Activity on Reactive Oxygen Species
Investigators: Rick Bloomer, Ken Ward
Funder: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (supplement to R01 HL68569)
Overview: Oxidative stress is linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Using data from
the LEAP clinical trial, this study will examine the joint impact of quitting smoking
and increasing physical activity levels on reducing oxidative stress levels.
Responding to the Changing Tobacco Epidemic in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Investigators: Wasim Maziak, Ken Ward, Fawaz Mzayek
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA024876)
Overview: This grant is a primary funder of the work of the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies
(www.scts-sy.org), which seeks to reduce the burden of tobacco use and chronic diseases
in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean region through research and scientific capacity
building. Several lines of research are being conducted, including epidemiological,
clinical laboratory, and intervention studies. Current work includes the region’s
first prospective cohort trial of tobacco use initiation in children, based in Jordan;
clinical laboratory studies to determine the dependence potential of waterpipe smoking;
a clinical trial to evaluate the integration of smoking cessation services in primary
care; and a clinical trial of behavioral treatment to assist waterpipe smokers with
quitting. We also have conducted two population-based representative household surveys
of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Population Based Assessment of Tobacco Use After Hurricane Katrina
Investigators: Ken Ward, Shelly Stockton, Fawaz Mzayek, George Relyea
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21 DA021782)
Overview: Tobacco use is closely linked to psychosocial stress but little is known about
how exposure to natural disasters affects smoking rates, relapse, and initiation.
This prospective study surveyed a representative sample of New Orleans residents who
were exposed to Hurricane Katrina, and compared them to Memphis residents. Changes
in tobacco use over time, and psychosocial determinants of such change, are being
Developing a Brief Smoking Cessation/Relapse Prevention Intervention for Disaster
Investigators: Ken Ward, Shelly Stockton, Wasim Maziak, Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, Maggie DeBon
Funder: American Legacy Foundation
Overview: Working with the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross, this pilot project
is developing a novel, brief tobacco cessation/relapse prevention intervention that
can be incorporated into existing disaster relief services.
A Theoretically Based Tobacco Dependence Measure
Investigators: Ken Ward, Wasim Maziak
Funder: Fogarty International Center, NIH (R03 TW07233)
Overview: Several lines of evidence suggest that waterpipe use, a growing phenomenon around
the world, can lead to nicotine dependence. This project is developing a theoretically-based,
psychometrically sound self-report measure to assess waterpipe dependence.
Reducing Environmental Tobacco Exposure in the Homes of Low Income Children
Investigators: Shelly Stockton, Ken Ward
Funder: The Urban Child Institute
Overview: This pilot project is developing a tailored, motivationally-based intervention to
assist low income new mothers to reduce their children’s exposure to tobacco smoke.
Preventing Post-Cessation Weight Gain in Smokers at Risk of Diabetes
Investigators: Ken Ward, Shelly Stockton, Wasim Maziak
Funder: University of Memphis
Overview: Working with the University of Tennessee Family Medicine Center, the goal of this
pilot study is to develop and test the acceptability and feasibility of a behavioral
intervention to assist primary care patients at high risk for diabetes to quit smoking
and to prevent post-cessation weight gain.
The Use of Community Based Participatory Research to Promote Activity-Friendly Neighborhoods
Investigators: Barbara McClanahan, Shelly Stockton, Ken Ward
Funder: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R21 ES016532)
Overview: Several features of the build environment contribute to the epidemics of physical
inactivity and obesity in the U.S. This project will build community coalitions to
promote “activity friendly” housing developments.
Autosense: Quantifying Exposures to Addictive Substances and Psychosocial Stress
Investigators: Santosh Kumar, Satish Kedia, Ken Ward, George Relyea
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse (U01 DA023812)
Overview: This trans-disciplinary effort of computer scientists, engineers, biochemists, and
social/behavioral scientists is using wireless technology to develop “real-time” methods
to assess substance use and psychological stress in individuals’ natural environments.
Completed Research Projects
The Center for Community Health has administered several additional research projects
that are now completed. Click on the name of the grant for a brief description and
a listing of selected articles produced by the grant. All articles listed have links
available to their abstract at PubMed. Please visit our faculty web pages to learn more about other recent research projects.
Decreasing Weight Gain in African American Preadolescent Girls
Bio-Behavioral Risk Factors for Bone Loss In Athletes