TPI News


Fall 2013

TPI Leadership

Interim Director of TPI

Richard Kurz, PhD, Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center is appointed as the new Interim Director of the Texas Prevention Institute.

Dr. Kurz received his B.S. degree in sociology from Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For nearly 30 years prior to joining UNT Health Science Center in 2007, he served as Dean of the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy, in addition to other administrative roles.

Dr. Kurz is Chair of the National Board of Public Health Examiners and is a past Chairman of the Board of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), the international consortium of accredited health administration programs. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

He serves on the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) Public Health Funding and Policy Committee and is a member of the Public Health Accreditation Council of Texas. For the last two years, Dr. Kurz has served as Chair of the Expert Panel and Steering Committee for the TDSHS Healthy Texas Babies Initiative to reduce infant mortality. His efforts to improve infant mortality led to national grant funding to develop the Healthy Moms – Healthy Babies – Healthy Community (H3) initiative in Tarrant County and involvement in the national Partnership to Eliminate Disparities in Infant Mortality Action Learning Collaborative (ALC).

Dr. Kurz is an active member in the community. He is Secretary of the Healthy Tarrant County Collaborative, serves on the Board of YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth and is a member of the United Way of Tarrant County Health Council and Fort Worth Rotary. He has served as Chair of the Fort Worth Hispanic Wellness Coalition and has been involved with the organization’s annual Hispanic Wellness Fair since 2008.

As Interim Director of TPI, Dr. Kurz will continue to lead and promote the institute’s various community projects and partnerships as the university conducts a search for a new director.

CCH Director

The Texas Prevention Institute welcomes Sharon Homan, MS, PhD, Chairman and Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center as the new Director of the Center for Community Health.

Dr. Sharon Homan received her doctorate degree in biostatistics and her Masters of Science degree in preventive medicine and environmental health from the University of Iowa. Dr. Homan has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rockhurst University, Vice President for Public Health at the Kansas Health Institute, and Professor of Biostatistics with tenure as well as Interim Associate Academic Provost at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. She has over 70 peer-reviewed publications and served as principal investigator and in other roles on over $12 million in grants and contracts. She is currently the principal investigator for over $600,000 in grants and contracts at UNTHSC.

Dr. Homan has received numerous awards and honors for her scholarship and for her community service. As an experienced and creative researcher with a passion for community engagement, Dr. Homan will continue to position the Center for Community Health to partner with the community, conduct policy-relevant health research, and enhance community capacity for prevention.
NorTex Interim Executive Director

Congratulations to Kim Fulda, DrPH and her appointment as Interim Executive Director of the North Texas Primary Care Practice – Based Research Network.

Dr. Fulda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Associate Director of the Primary Care Research Center within the Texas Prevention Institute at the UNT Health Science Center. Dr. Fulda holds a Doctor of Public Health in Clinical Research and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the UNTHSC and has expertise in research design and analysis.

NorTex is a Primary Care Practice?Based Research Network (PBRN) of clinicians and researchers throughout North Texas and other parts of Texas. A PBRN brings primary care clinics together to identify pressing research questions of interest, design rigorous and relevant studies, execute research effectively, and translate findings rapidly into practice. Under Dr. Fulda’s leadership, NorTex will continue to conduct primary care and public health research that will be translated into published guidelines and policies, and improve the delivery of care and, ultimately, the health of North Texas citizens.

Research Updates

Lifestyle Interventions for High-Risk Cancer Survivors

Raheem Paxton, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor in SPH Behavioral & Community Health, was recently awarded approximately $383,000 over the next three years to conduct research for his “Lifestyle Interventions for High-Risk Cancer Survivors” grant funded by the National Cancer Institute (K01CA158000B.)

African American (AA) breast cancer survivors (BCS) report high rates of inactivity and poor lifestyle habits, which predispose them to subsequent comorbidities (e.g., diabetes and heart disease), cancer recurrence, and premature mortality following their initial cancer diagnosis. The development of a theory-based intervention that targets several risk factors simultaneously may shield them from subsequent conditions following diagnosis.

Web-based approaches offer the potential to target multiple behaviors simultaneously in a free and flexible format and minimize transportation and participant burdens for women who have access to the Internet. Dr. Paxton’s study seeks to determine the feasibility of using Web to deliver a physical activity or sedentary behavior reduction intervention in overweight and obese African American breast cancer survivors (BCS).

In this feasibility study, 120 overweight and obese AA BCS will be randomized to a physical activity or sedentary behavior reduction condition. The primary aim of this study is to determine the rates of attrition and adherence to and satisfaction with a 6-month feasibility study promoting changes in diet, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. Secondary aims include testing the preliminary effects of the intervention on changes in moderate to vigorous physical activity or time spent sitting, psychosocial mediators of change, and health related quality of life. Information gained will help to determine whether the proposed strategies are feasible for the population and provide guidance on refining the culturally sensitive tools for future studies.

Increasing Awareness of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Risk among High School Blood Donors

Kim Fulda, DrPH, Associate Director Primary Care Research Center, TPI, and Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, received approximately $114,000 from Carter BloodCare for the “Increasing Awareness of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Risk among High School Blood Donors” grant.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) and Carter BloodCare are working closely on a collaborative initiative to address chronic health conditions among teenagers 16-19 years of age. Carter BloodCare has implemented measures to identify individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes by performing specific biomarker analyses on all donors. As a result, elevated biomarkers and racial/ethnic and gender disparities have been observed among high school donors. These donors, however, are not likely to access their information and are, therefore, not receiving notification of abnormal values.

With collaboration from Carter BloodCare, Dr. Fulda, and Dr. Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, Co-Investigator and TPI member, this project takes a systematic approach that will begin with identifying motivators to donate and check biomarker values among the high school blood donors. The plan is to identify motivators for donating among high school students; identify motivators for checking values among high school students; and increase the number of high school donors who check their values after donating. The project will conduct surveys among high school donors and conduct focus groups at high schools that host blood drives.

Bridging the Gap in Obesity Prevention through Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC)

Jon Sivoravong, DO, Associate Professor of Family Medicine, received approximately $27,000 grant from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) American in Motion – Healthy Interventions (AIM-HI) initiative through the MetLife Foundation to support a family medicine residency program which will focus on childhood obesity.

The funding will provide support for the project, “Bridging the Gap in Obesity Prevention through Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC)” through the UNT Health Science Center TCOM-Plaza Family Medicine residency program. This 10 month project will seek to increase the ability of Family Medicine Residents to understand and address fitness (physical activity, healthy eating, and emotional well-being) in high risk, vulnerable children and families, and to engage residents with members of the surrounding community for improved community health. TPI members and Co-Investigators serving on the project include Susan Franks, PhD and Kim Fulda, DrPH along with Philip Hudson, MD in Family Medicine.

365 Days of Infant Mortality: Using Photovoice to Understand Infant Mortality as an Issue for Social Change

Marcy Paul, MA, Instructor in SPH Behavioral & Community Health and member of TPI, recently received $3,000 from the March of Dimes to fund her grant, “365 Days of Infant Mortality: Using Photovoice to Understand Infant Mortality as an Issue for Social Change.”

Participants will use cameras to take up to five photographs that reflect their perceptions of community resources that have been helpful to them as they grieve and up to five photographs of insufficient community resources or community concerns that they perceive to have contributed to the death of their child.

Resources can include any items such as lack of healthy food, lack of safe walking areas for exercise and/or locations such as available health care buildings, educational facilities, hospital facilities that help or hinder the participants deal with the loss of their child. Participants will also be given a journal that they will use to write short captions that describe each photograph and reason for taking reason for each photograph. A photo exhibit will take place on UNTHSC Campus on January 28-31 with a reception on January 27, 2013.

Recent Publications


Congratulations to Marjana Sarker; Susan Franks, PhD; James Caffery, PhD; on their recent article Direction of post-prandial ghrelin response associated with cortisol response, perceived stress and anxiety, and self-reported coping and hunger in obese women published in Behavioural Brain Research: 15 November 2013.

This article investigates humoral (ghrelin, cortisol) and psychological/behavioral characteristics (subjective hunger, anxiety, and stress; eating behavior; coping ability) among obese subjects in a fasting state and after eating a standard meal. The study indicates that changes in ghrelin, cortisol and selected psychological and behavioral indices are closely associated with one another suggesting that ghrelin may influence stress related eating and thus, the consequent observed relationship among stress, mood and obesity.


Commissioners Court Praises UNTHSC’s Cancer Prevention Efforts

Commissioner Court Recognizes BCP

The Dallas County Commissioners Court praised the efforts by UNT Health Science Center’s Center for Community Health, passing a resolution recognizing the Dallas Cancer Disparities Community Coalition Breast Cancer Prevention Project, which has worked in various Dallas communities since 2007.

The CCH, part of UNTHSC’s Texas Prevention Institute, is involved in breast cancer prevention, research and educational programs targeting high-risk women in Dallas County. Funding for this program was made possible by Grant #PP110190 from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

“The concept of the TPI/CCH is cutting edge,” Commissioner John Wiley Price said in presenting the resolution. “It is clear that UNTHSC is deeply committed to improving our community’s health through innovative practices and dedicated employees.”

Price noted that it seemed especially appropriate to recognize this work, and the resulting impact of the research project, given that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Center for Community Health Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

West Dallas restaurant Babb Bros BBQ & Blues hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraising event on Oct. 12, with proceeds of approximately $800 benefitting the Center for Community Health (CCH) at UNT Health Science Center.

The event, called “Blues 4 Breast Cancer,” featured music by the Tom Cat Blues Band, Zac Harmon Blues Band, Andrew Jr. Boy Jones Band featuring Kerrie Lepai, Texas Slim and the Babb Bros Blues Band.

Since its beginning in 2007 in South Dallas, CCH has partnered with local members of the Dallas Cancer Disparities Community Coalition, reaching hundreds of women directly and thousands indirectly.

Funds raised from the Babb Bros blues event will assist with West Dallas outreach programs. The CCH is currently in partnership with the West Dallas Multipurpose Center, City of Dallas Environmental and Health Services Department, providing bilingual classes on healthy lifestyles and directing women to mammography screenings and diagnostic follow-up.

Conference Updates


The Texas Prevention Institute was well represented at American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 141st annual meeting on Boston, MA. Thank you to the following and their team members for your dedication and efforts: Subhash Aryal, PhD, MS; Anissa Carbajal-Diaz, MPH, CHES; Kathryn Cardarelli, PhD; Martha Felini, DC, PhD; Richard Kurz, PhD; Kim Linnear, MPA; Christine Moranetz, PhD; Marcy Paul, MA; Raquel Qualls-Hampton, PhD; Emily Spence-Almaguer, PhD, MSW; Dennis Thombs, PhD; Scott Walters, PhD.

January 2013

This page was last modified on June 10, 2015