Grant awarded to Wayne State University faculty to concentrate on the health of elderly individuals in prison.

Dr. Rodolcia Snead, a faculty member at Wayne State University, has been awarded a five-year career development grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. The grant totals approximately $600,000 and aims to deepen and refine her research on the health of incarcerated older adults, particularly those of racial and ethnic minorities.

Dr. Snead will join the WSU Institute of Gerontology in 2022 as an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology. The grant, titled “Maximizing Scalability of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) in Older Adults in State Correctional Facilities,” trained her for a future R01 grant application to the National Institutes of Health.

Her research focuses on chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, which affect half of all inmates in prison. Without intervention, these conditions will worsen as the population ages.

Dr. Snead plans to study the effectiveness of an existing six-week program called the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, which has already shown improvement in healthcare communication, fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and lower healthcare spending in community use. She hopes to expand the program for wider use in state prisons and maximize its impact on older people. Her customized approach will be tested against routine practice in state prisons to determine maximum effectiveness.

Dr. Snead is particularly interested in how prisons adapt chronic disease management programs to reflect the special constraints of incarceration. She acknowledges cultural differences when it comes to improving the health of those who are incarcerated, and she is talking to those who are not interested in improving prisoners’ health about the costs of poorly managed chronic diseases on taxpayers’ pockets.

She has seen many evidence-based interventions used inconsistently or not at all and aims to gain experience implementing interventions, especially for people and institutions involved in justice. “And how can we help people to continue health-promoting behaviors throughout their lives?”

This research is supported by the National Institutes of Health but is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the organization.

Leave a Reply