Developing an intervention targeting sleep disturbances among minority bereaved individuals

Project: Research project

Project Details


This five-year plan for a K01 Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity will equip Dr. Diana Chirinos Medina with the essential knowledge and skills to help launch her career as an independent investigator specializing in the development of evidence-based interventions aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among vulnerable populations. Career Development and Training Activities: A carefully drafted career development plan will supplement Dr. Chirinos Medina’s expertise in observational CVD studies and allow for an expansion of her skillset as an interventionist. The structure established by well-defined training goals will ensure her career development and facilitate her transition to independence. The training goals are: 1) to develop expertise in the collection and interpretation of objective sleep measures; 2) to gain a deeper understanding of sleep disturbance and other quality of life issues in bereavement; 3) to acquire the necessary skills to create and test behavioral interventions; 4) to strengthen the candidate’s training in the inflammatory mechanisms underlying CVD risk; and 5) to continue to develop grant writing skills and successfully submit an R-level application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The candidate will receive guidance from experts in their respective fields (Drs. Carnethon, Ong, Fagundes and Miller) and take full advantage of the strong institutional support and environment at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Research Plan: In spite of the rates of sleep disturbance in bereavement and its detrimental impact on mental and physical health, no study to date has examined the effects of a direct intervention on sleep disturbance in this population. Therefore, it is unknown whether interventions aimed at improving sleep in bereavement are feasible or effective. The proposed research project will focus on developing a targeted behavioral intervention for sleep disturbance among bereaved individuals and testing it for feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effects. The intervention will be based on existing behavioral treatments for sleep disturbance, but will tailor its components to address the specific needs of the bereaved population. To identify opportunities for targeting treatment and potential barriers to intervention, Dr. Chirinos Medina will recruit bereaved individuals with sleep disturbance who will participate in focus groups (Aim 1). Based on the feedback from focus groups, she will iteratively develop and optimize an intervention for sleep disturbance in bereavement (Aim 2) and test it for acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effects (Aim 3). The primary outcome will be sleep disturbance. Secondary outcomes will include quality of life and inflammation. At the end of this research, the candidate will be in an ideal position to develop interventions for sleep disturbance in bereavement and other populations vulnerable to CVD. In addition, this study will lay the groundwork for a larger trial to test the efficacy of the targeted intervention in decreasing sleep disturbance and overall CVD risk among bereaved adults.
Effective start/end date9/1/208/31/25


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (5K01HL149987-04)


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