SON Assistant Professor Receives $50,000 Grant from Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation

1/22 – School of Nursing Assistant Professor Dr. Lisa Anne Bove received $50,000 from the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation for her research project titled, "Promoting Health in African-American Population through Partnership with Barbershop and Wearable Activity Trackers."

SON-Bove-Grant-560x373.jpgThe project aims to help reduce hypertension in the African/Black American and Hispanic/Latino American population by tracking participants’ health information via an activity tracker. Hypertension in Black men in the U.S. is among the highest in the world. Black men are less likely to be aware of their disease, seek treatment and achieve control in comparison to Black females and non-Hispanic white males. Increased activity reduces hypertension and studies have shown that activity trackers can help people move more.

Through grant funds, Dr. Bove and her co-investigator Dr. Stephanie Turrise purchased Fitbits and will be hiring a small team consisting of registered nurses, a research assistant and IT consultant.

Drs. Bove and Turrise plan to recruit participants by working with local barbershops. Their heart rate, resting heart rate, steps and sleep data will be tracked for about six months. Participants will complete surveys at the beginning, middle and end about their health and exercise history. During this time, Drs. Bove and Turrise will meet with the participants to take their blood pressure, help set up their Fitbits for collecting data remotely and answer any issues or questions they may have. Behind the scenes, the team will collaborate with New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Barbershop Initiative on analyzing the data for ways to help improve this population’s health.

“Activity trackers are being used more and more to capture activity, heart rate and sleep,” Dr. Bove said. “If we can learn normal patterns, we may be better able to help people improve their health. Studies have shown that activity trackers can help people increase steps and more activity can help reduce blood pressure.”

Lowering participant’s blood pressure is one of the long-term goals of the project, along with encouraging Black men to focus on their health. Drs. Bove and Turrise will start recruiting participants in February 2022 and will continue to recruit and collect data for four to six months.

*Pictured left to right: Dr. Lisa Anne Bove and Dr. Stephanie Turrise