Funded Grants

Andersen, T. C. (Co-PI), Foster, N. Memory Care Partner: Portable Proactive and Preventative Planning Application for Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders. SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Total Funds: $1,488,285.06. September 2016 – May 2019

  • Proactive Memory Services, Inc. (PAMS, Inc.), a University of Utah spinout company, has been awarded a two-year projected $1.4 million grant by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to refine an interactive, mobile software application. NIA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II award will enable PAMS to continue development of its tablet computer and smartphone application, Memory Care Partner, which will provide guidance to people with concerns about memory loss in a family member. The company is commercializing clinical care advances pioneered at the University of Utah’s Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging and Research.

Butters, R. (PI). Evaluation of the Housing Support and Stability Project (HSSP). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Total Funds: $244,707. September 2014 – March 2018.

  • This project is part of a three-and-a-half year, $1.3 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to develop and evaluate the Housing Support and Stability Project (HSSP). This program was designed by The Road Home (TRH) to improve housing and behavioral health outcomes for persons who have been chronically homeless and have substance use disorders and who may also have mental health disorders. Project staff will address existing gaps in services by providing substance abuse and mental health treatment to participants in TRH chronic homeless programs who have a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and are, therefore, ineligible for Medicaid. With access to such treatment, HSSP clients would be expected to demonstrate increased housing stability, increased access to mental health treatment, and increased quality of life. The HSSP evaluation will track client characteristics, interventions, and outcomes.

Butters, R. (Co-I). A Randomized Study Comparing Batterer Intervention and Alternative Treatment Approaches for Domestic Violence Offenders. National Science Foundation (NIJ), National Institute of Justice (NSF). Total Funds: $158,059. May 2010 – June 2018.

  • This study uses a randomized controlled trial design (RCT) to compare the effectiveness of a standard Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP) to Circles of Peace, a restorative justice approach. This study is being conducted in collaboration with New York University (NYU) in Salt Lake City, UT to determine which treatment approach is most effective in reducing violent behavior. Researchers have over 300 offenders randomly assigned to treatment and are in the process of conducting an initial analysis of 2-year criminal recidivism. Researchers anticipate publishing the result of this study in Spring 2018.

Butters, R. (PI). A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Pay for Success (PFS) Program: REACH. Private Investment Banks and Philanthropic Organizations. Total Funds: $725,000. January 2017 – December 2023.

  • Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative approach that leverages taxpayer risk by funding social service programs with private capital and ties payment for services to demonstrated outcomes through rigorous evaluation. The REACH program was designed by First Step House (FSH) to serve high-risk, high-need adult male probationers with moderate to severe substance use disorders. Specific program components include: evidence-based interventions specifically designed to address criminogenic factors that are tied to recidivism; substance use disorder treatment; employment support through job placement, education, and training; support and case management to meet individual needs through benefits enrollment, health resources, and community engagement; and housing support. The Utah Criminal Justice Center was selected as the Independent Evaluator on this six-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) study that will examine the program’s success meeting the following post-randomization objectives: 1) a significant decrease in statewide arrests; 2) a significant decrease in incarceration days; and 3) a significant increase in number of employed quarters. The evaluation will also analyze potential moderators of treatment groups success, examine post-program enrollment absolute metrics for the treatment group (e.g., treatment engagement, education attainment, mental health functioning, reductions in criminal thinking, and reduced substance use and dependency), and include two process evaluations using the Correctional Program Checklist (CPC).

Butters, R. (PI). A Randomized Controlled Trail of the Salt Lake County Homelessness Pay for Success (PFS) Program: Homes Not Jails (HNJ). Private Investment Banks and Philanthropic Organizations. Total Funds: $8,000. January 2017 – December 2023.

  • The Road Home (TRH) and a variety of community stakeholders developed a PFS project to address persistently homeless individuals in Salt Lake County. The persistently homeless are defined as those individuals who have spent between 90 and 364 days over the previous year in emergency shelters, on the streets, or otherwise homeless. These individuals spend long periods of time in emergency shelter and are commonly booked into jail for low-level crimes related to homelessness (e.g., public intoxication, trespassing). To address this issue The Road Home developed a Rapid Rehousing (RRH) approach to serve persistently homeless individuals through the Homes Not Jail (HNJ) program. The HNJ program is based on the framework of the Housing First (HF) model, and was designed to move persistently homeless individuals out of the emergency shelter and into a stable housing placement. HNJ augments the RRH and HF models by incorporating a number of evidence-based practices and comprehensive wraparound services, such as intensive case management, behavioral health group services, and referral to employment services. The Utah Criminal Justice Center was selected as the Independent Evaluator on this six-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) study that will examine the program’s success improving housing stability, criminal justice, and behavioral health outcomes.

Butters, R. (PI), Castillo, J. (Co-I). Salt Lake City Police Department – Community Connection Project. Community Oriented Policing Strategies (COPS), US Department of Justice. Total Funds: $8,000. May 2017 – December 2017.

  • As part of the project, the Utah Criminal Justice Center is providing consultation and assistance to the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Community Connection Team. Specific assistance provided includes: consultation on programmatic and data collection practices; identification of brief screening/assessment tools to triage participants to additional services based on individual needs (e.g., substance use disorder, mental health, vulnerability, and housing); and collection of qualitative data from stakeholder groups in the form of focus groups and interviews with program staff and stakeholders.

Butter, R. (Co-I). PIMA Pay for Success (PFS) Demonstration Project. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Justice. Total Funds: $66,350. July 2017 – June 2018.

  • The Utah Criminal Justice Center is collaborating with The Sorenson Impact Center to assist the City of Tucson and Pima County, Arizona with the feasibility and development of a large-scale Pay for Success (PFS) project addressing homelessness and criminal justice. This $1.3 million grant was award as part of a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Byrne, K. (PI). University Neighborhood Partners Program Evaluation and Improvement Project. University of Utah, University Neighborhood Partners. Total Funds: $30,000. May 2015 – May 2018

  • Created in 2001, University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) is an initiative of the University of Utah's Office of the President toward greater civic engagement in the community it serves. The Executive Director of UNP is appointed as a Special Assistant to the President for Campus-Community Partnerships. UNP is tasked with developing the process and infrastructure for community engagement, with a long-term goal of increasing access to higher education for Salt Lake's West side residents. The Social Research Institute is working with UNP to develop their plans for evaluation, ongoing learning, and inquiry.   The development of this framework will contribute to evaluation and improvement of diverse community-university partnerships going forward.

Byrne, K. (PI) CAP City Education. Lumina Foundation. Total Funds: $15,000. February 2017 – March 2018.

  • The purpose of this grant is to develop an evaluation plan and coordinate data partners for CAP City, a collective impact project in Salt Lake City aimed at fostering individual and community outcomes from cradle to career.

Byrne, K. (PI) Eviction Analysis. University of Utah, Research. Total Funds: $6,000. March 2017 – March 2019.

  • The goal of this project is to lead a mixed methods research project examining pathways to eviction and the impact of eviction on tenants with low-incomes.

Byrne, K., Davis, M. J. A Capital City Education, Infrastructure, Evaluation & Improvement. Lumina Foundation. Total Funds: $15,000. March 2016 – February 2018

  • The goal of this project is to not only measure and communicate impact to diverse stakeholders, but to also put systems in place that inform decision-making on an ongoing basis. The Social Research Institute is also collaborating with the CAP City Alliance team to develop and strengthen partnerships across diverse sectors, including higher education, city and state departments, and school districts.

Castillo, J. (Co-PI), Frost, C. J. (Co-PI), Davis, M. J. A Vision Forward in Substance Abuse Education. Health Resources and Services Administration Para-professional Training. Total Funds: $1,196,788. September 2017 – September 2022

  • This grant provides tuition support and educational opportunities for students enrolled in a Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training Certificate Program (SUDTTCP). It will expand and enhance the applied knowledge and skills of substance use disorder counselor students through SUDTTCP educational didactic and experiential learning opportunities. The grant will increase the number and diversity of substance use disorder counselor students and graduates in the SUDTTCP, and increase the number of experiential learning opportunities in Salt Lake City Medically Underserved Areas and Medically Underserved Populations where substance use disorder counselor students complete field practicum placements.

Davis, M. J. (PI), Harris, N., Fluke, J., Armstrong, M., Fitzgerald, M., Tanana, M. J., Vanderloo, M. J., West, K. W., O’Connor, A. B., Hopkins, R., Cheng, J., Vargo, M., Sowel, C., Johnson, M., Fowles, R., Poulson, R., Abella, A. Evaluation of Utah’s Division of Child and Family Service’s Title IV-E demonstration waiver. Administration for Children and Families. Total Funds: $3,000,000. April 2014 – March 2019.

  • Conceived as a strategy for generating new knowledge about innovative and effective child welfare practices, waivers grant flexibility in the use of federal funds (particularly title IV-E foster care funds) for alternative services and supports that promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children in the child protection and foster care systems.

Davis, M. J. (PI), Lundahl, B., Cheng, J. Division of Child and Family Services Motivational Interviewing Pilot, Phase One.  Utah Division of Child and Family Services. Total Funds: $35,000. April 2013 – March 2019.

  • The Social Research Institute (SRI) will assist the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to conduct a pilot test of Motivational Interviewing for CPS caseworkers in the Northern Region. The specific project goals are to: create a standardized training process for acquiring Motivational Interviewing skills that follows evidence-based training principles; create a method for evaluating CPS caseworker skill in Motivational Interviewing; evaluate effectiveness of the training for CPS caseworkers participating in pilot; and to recommend and assist with needed modifications based upon the evaluation.

Davis, M. J., Hopkins, R. Program evaluation and feedback system for adolescent substance abuse programs. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Total Funds: $488,000. April 2017 – March 2021.

  • The project will create a program evaluation feedback and improvement system that will allow the Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health to demonstrate the effectiveness of services and measure the impact of quality improvement initiatives.

Davis, M. J. (PI), Lundahl, B., Cheng, J. Division of Child and Family Services Motivational Interviewing Pilot, Phase Two.  Utah Division of Child and Family Services. Total Funds: $45,000. March 2017 – March 2018.

  • The Social Research Institute (SRI) will continue to assist the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to implement Motivational Interviewing for CPS caseworkers. Phase Two of the pilot will focus on implementing lessons learned during the initial phase to increase implementation progress. In addition, the second phase will focus on providing DCFS with the products and structure necessary to extend the Motivational Interviewing training to CPS caseworkers state wide on a sustainable basis.

Davis, M. J., Vanderloo, M. J. Technical Assistance Project (TAP). Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS). Total Funds: $159,000. October 2015 – September 2018.

  • The TAP provides technical assistance to DJJS to incorporate: 1) the principles of evidenced based treatment for juvenile offenders; 2) general principles of Implementation Science which increase program effectiveness; and 3) evidenced based principles of adult learning to increase training effectiveness. The technical assistance provided by the Social Research Institute (SRI) will be usable by the agency in other initiatives. Toward this end, the evaluators are approaching the project using a train the trainers approach and developing all tools (e.g. templates for assessing training, coaching guides, and fidelity measures) in a way that allows these tools to be used by DJJS leadership Research & Evaluation Bureau and Training Bureau staff without SRI involvement.

Davis, M. J. (PI), Vanderloo, M. J., Tanana, M. J., Byrne, K. Juvenile Justice Services Program Evaluation and Improvement Project. The Division of Juvenile Justice Services. Total Funds: $504,000. July 2013 – June 2018.

  • This grant will fund the continued development of a system for evaluating residential programs in child welfare and juvenile justice.

Davis, M. J. (PI), Hopkins, R., Cheng, J. Comprehensive assessment of crime victim services capacity and needs. Utah Office for Victims of Crime. Total Funds: $261,603. May 2017 – May 2018.

  • This is an independent study and needs assessment of the status of crime in Utah, the victims impacted, how services to crime victims are delivered, and how service delivery may be improved.  Initially, the study focused on domestic violence/family crime victims (including children and underserved populations) and how housing resources may be improved to meet their needs. The current area of focus is the status and needs of rape and sexual assault victims.  Future areas include areas such as adult physical assault (aggravated and simple), elder abuse/neglect, human trafficking, identity theft, fraud, and financial crimes.

Derezotes, D. (PI). Parker, D. Transforming neighborhoods into inclusive communities. University Neighborhood Partners. Total Funds: $10,000. August 2017 – May 2019.

  • Working with West Side neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, this project aims to help bridge the differences that currently divide our local communities.

Derezotes, D. (PI). Parker, D. Transforming classrooms into inclusive communities. University Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). Total Funds: $20,000. August 2016 – May 2018.

  • This grant will provide diversity trainings to over 25 units at the University of Utah with a staff of 27 CTLE Fellows, and several support staff.

Daly, M., Frost, C. J. (Consultant) Breast Cancer Family Registry Cohort. NIH/NCI. Total Funds: $4,200,000. September 2012 – January 2018

  • Researchers interviewed individuals from affected and non-affected families about their understanding of genomics and its impact on personalized medicine. They will develop and conduct a survey to assess how individuals understand personalized genomics.

Devir, N., Frost, C. J. (Co-PI). Understanding the Experiences of Refugee Youth in High School. University of Utah Seed Grant. Total Funds: $24,127. January 2017 – December 2017

  • Qualitative research methods will be used to understand how youth from refugee backgrounds experience success and barriers in high schools in Utah.

Nicoll, K., Frost, C. J. (Co-PI). The Perceptions of People in the U.S. on Refugees and Immigrants Role. University of Utah College of Social Work & Behavioral Science Seed Grant. Total Funds: $10,000. January 2017 – December 2017

  • Researchers developed and conducted an online survey with people in the U.S. to determine their perceptions about people from refugee and/or immigrant backgrounds. They created a mentoring program for junior high and high school youth to connect with undergraduate students at the University of Utah and pilot tested the mentoring program.

Garland, E. L. (PI). Targeting Hedonic Dysregulation to Address Chronic Pain and Opioid Misuse in Primary Care. National Institute on Drug Abuse – Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Program. Total Funds: $2,828,034. September 2016 – July 2021

  • Prescription opioid misuse is a public health threat that is being addressed with heightened urgency at both clinical and policy levels. Extant therapies for opioid misuse and chronic pain may have limited efficacy because they fail to directly target the maladaptive emotion-cognition interactions and hedonic dysregulation inherent in these co-occurring problems. To meet this need, the PI developed a novel behavioral intervention, Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE). MORE is innovative in that it aims to modify associative learning mechanisms hijacked during the allostatic process of opioid misuse by strengthening top-down cognitive control to restructure bottom-up reward learning from valuation of drug reward to natural reward – something that no other behavioral intervention for opioid misuse has been designed to do. The goal of this study is to conduct a full-scale RCT of MORE to reduce aberrant drug-related behaviors and chronic pain among opioid misusing patients in primary care. Participants are randomized to eight weeks of MORE or a conventional support group control administered in community primary care clinics. Patient-reported outcomes are assessed pre- to post-treatment and through a nine-month follow-up. Ultimately, this translational research proposal aims to advance evidence-based integration of behavioral health into primary care.

Garland, E. L. (PI). Targeting Chronic Pain and Co-Occurring Disorders in the Community with Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement. Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program – Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program – Clinical Trial Award. Total Funds: $3,434,996. August 2016 – August 2021

  • The co-occurrence of chronic pain, psychological distress, and misuse of prescription opioids undermines the mission of the U.S. Military and inflicts suffering upon veterans and their families. Unfortunately, there are no evidence-based treatments that simultaneously address pain, opioid misuse, and psychological distress. To fill this gap, this study is a trial of a novel integrative medicine approach combining Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) with conventional opioid pain management for service members and veterans. The study utilizes lab-based assessments and mobile technology to understand how MORE works to create therapeutic change, and to predict whether and when service members and veterans are at risk for relapsing back to opioid misuse. To accomplish this objective, lab-based assessments evaluate physiological reactivity to cues associated with past episodes of pain and opioid use, and a smartphone-based assessment evaluates opioid craving, pain, and negative mood in “the real world.” Because changes in heart rate and other physiological factors may indicate the extent to which a person’s brain has been triggered by opioid craving, this application of mind-body assessments to predict opioid misuse risk and treatment outcomes could facilitate early risk detection and penetrate denial.

Garland, E. L. (PI). Effects of Mindfulness-Oriented Intervention on Endogenous Opioid Mechanisms of Hedonic Regulation in Chronic Pain. NIH-National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Phase Funds: $3,034,598. September 2016 – September 2021

  • Chronic pain is typically managed with extended use of opioid analgesics, despite an absence of data on their long-term efficacy and clear evidence of significant health risks. Chronic pain patients receiving extended opioid therapy suffer from impaired regulation of aversive (e.g., pain) and appetitive experience (e.g., pleasure), dual processes subserved by opioid-mediated, hedonic regulatory mechanisms. Extant therapies may have limited efficacy because they fail to directly target the neural circuits of hedonic regulation. The overarching aim of this study is to determine the capacity of a novel meditation intervention, Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), to restore endogenous opioid system function as measured with PET and a selective μ-opioid radiotracer. This multi-PI proposal unites expertise in meditation-based interventions with expertise in neurogenetics and the use of PET and fMRI to probe the neurobiological mechanisms of pain and affective experience, and builds upon a program of prior research which provided preliminary efficacy data on the MORE intervention and standardized its delivery via manualization of the treatment and development of fidelity measures. By elucidating a key mechanism of this meditation-based intervention, this translational research study will enable rapid optimization of MORE for Stage III clinical trial implementation and dissemination.

Zgierska, A. (PI), Garland, E. L. (Site PI), Atchley, R. (Site Manager). A Comparative Effectiveness Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Opioid-Treated Chronic Low Back Pain. Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Total Funds: $8,430,230. January 2017 – December 2022.

  • One in four U.S. adults have chronic low back pain, which is defined as any type of pain in the low back or radiating down to the legs (sciatica) that lasts for three or more months. Doctors often cannot cure chronic low back pain, but they may prescribe an opioid medicine to help patients manage their pain. These medicines can have serious side effects, such as addiction to the medicine, depression, or even death from accidental overdose. This study compares two ways non-opioid treatments to help patients reduce chronic low back pain and improve their quality of life: mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Mindfulness meditation helps people train their minds to focus attention in a certain way to cope with and reduce negative reactions to pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychological therapy, helps people learn how to change their thoughts and feelings about pain and develop new ways to think and act when they are in pain. The aim of this comparative effectiveness trial is to assess if mindfulness-based intervention is more effective than standard-of-care CBT for improving pain and function.

Fritz, J., Garland, E. L. (Co-I). SMART Stepped Care Management for Low Back Pain in Military Health System. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and Department of Defense. Total Funds: $6,438,846. September 2017 – August 2023.

  • Chronic pain is a ubiquitous problem and growing concern for the Military Health System (MHS). Low back pain (LBP) is the most common condition that leads to chronic pain. Numerous recommendations have been made to improve care for LBP and chronic pain in the MHS, including implementation of a Stepped Care approach. Stepped Care is a treatment process that begins with broadly accessible, less intensive interventions that can benefit many patients. Those who do not respond to initial treatments are stepped up to more intensive treatment. While Stepped Care is advocated for pain management, and has been beneficial for improving care in other chronic conditions, many questions remain about which treatments to use within each Step, and the importance of sequences of care decisions. The SMART Stepped Care Management Project supports an innovative Sequential Multiple Randomization Trial specifically designed to address these key questions. Patients in the MHS with chronic LBP are randomly assigned to either receive Physical Therapy or the holistic Move to Health intervention. After six weeks patients’ responsiveness to their first treatment Step is determined. Non-responders are re-randomized to receive either Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement or treatment from an Integrative Pain Medicine Center. This SMART trial compares the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Step 1 and 2 treatments in a Stepped Care approach for patients with LBP in the MHS with patient-centered and healthcare cost outcomes, with an emphasis on the studying the sequencing effects of different treatment combinations.

Baucom, B., Garland, E. L. (Co-I). Technologies for Assessing Behavioral and Cognitive Markers of Suicide Risk. Department of Defense, Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program Community Partners in Mental Health. Total Funds: $2,414,422. September 2015 – August 2018

  • The primary objective of this study is to reduce the knowledge gap in military suicide risk assessment by leveraging proposed technology solutions. Researchers aim to improve predictability of suicide via the development of computer mediated risk assessment tools that can be used outside of health care settings by individuals other than health care providers, especially family members of at-risk military personnel. To accomplish this aim, researchers are (1) conducting Behavioral Signal Processing (BSP) analysis of behavioral patterns of the patient, the changes it creates in the behaviors of their loved ones, and the interaction dynamics of the patient with their social network; and (2) adapting computer administered cognitive tests that are typically administered in laboratory settings for delivery over the internet.

Devir, N., Frost, C. J. (PI). Identity and Isolation: Exploring Integration Needs for African and Middle Eastern Refugee Youth in Utah through an Ethnographic Approach. University of Utah Incentive Seed Grant Total Funds: $27,087. January 2017 – May 2018.

  • As one of the principal destinations for refugee resettlement in the United States, the state of Utah resettles approximately 1,100 refugees per year (Canham 2015). Approximately 45,000 refugees from 20 different countries currently reside in the state. The majority of the recent refugees hail from Muslim-majority countries (i.e., Iraq, Somalia, Sudan); those from Christian-majority countries (i.e., Burundi, Congo) are also significant in number (Utah Refugee Center). Despite the relatively frequent coverage of refugee stories in local news media, very little in the way of scholarly research (Blair 2000; 2001; Geo-JaJa 2007; Fraser 1988; Steimel 2010) has been written about these refugees’ integration and acculturation in the U.S.; and most of what has been written is woefully outdated. None of the research examines the experiences of refugees from Africa or the Middle East. Moreover, none of the research deals with the youth in these refugee communities, the part of that population most likely to successfully integrate into American society. Only anecdotal evidence exists about how the most recent refugee youth in Utah perceive themselves and their hosts in the context of their new national, linguistic, and civil environments. In order to remedy this lack of knowledge about an important component of the population in the state of Utah, the proposed research will use an ethnographic approach to explore issues of integration and acculturation among refugee youth who hail from African or Middle Eastern countries.

Hanley, A. W. Dissecting De-automatization: The effect of mindfulness training on unconscious habit formation. Mind and Life Institute. Total Funds: $11,634. August 2016 – August 2018.

  • This study is examining the effect of mindfulness meditation training on a delayed eye blink conditioning task to determine whether mindfulness interrupts classical conditioning through the process of de-automatization (Deikman, 1966). Implicit learning rates, as reflective of unconscious habit formation measured by the frequency of conditioned responses during the eye blink conditioning, are the primary outcome of interest

Fredriksen-Goldsen, Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (Co-I). Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, Sexuality/Gender Study. National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Total Funds: $2,500,000. August 2013 – July 2018. 

  • Re-funded Aging with Pride Project as an ongoing longitudinal study that now employs biomarker data, in addition to redesigned survey and interview methods. First federally funded (NIH/NIA) national study to examine the health, well-being, and aging needs of LGBTQ adults aged 50 and older.

Supiano, K., Luptak, M. (Co-I), Andersen, T. C. (Co-I). Group Therapy for Dementia Caregivers at Risk for Complicated Grief. National Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant. Total Funds: $149,998. April 2017 – March 2020.

  • This project assesses death preparedness and caregiver risk factors in bereaved and soon-to-be bereaved Alzheimer’s disease caregivers in two national research participant registries. The project utilizes these data and prior research to adapt complicated grief group therapy (CGGT) intervention elements into a manualized Pre-Loss Group Therapy (PLGT) for soon-to-be bereaved dementia caregivers at risk for complicated grief to facilitate healthy death preparedness and eventual bereavement. 


Turner, K., Farrell, T., Luptak, M. (Co-I), Andersen, T. C. (Co-I). Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Learning Collaborative – Hotspotting Hub Application. Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers Hotspotting Hub Educational Grant. Total Funds: $50,000. July 2017 – June 2018.

  • Student Hotspotting is part of the Camden Coalition’s National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs effort to educate and mentor the next generation of health care professionals nationwide. The University of Utah Health Hotspotting Hub and three additional hubs serve as unique learning labs for gaining experience in social determinants and interprofessional teaming. Teams of students work with patients with complex medical and social needs. This project uses Interprofessional Education (IPE) Hotspotting Immersions to drive IPE beyond the focus of direct care, and to foster the development of Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice within the framework of systems-based practice. IPE Student Hotspotting Homes include a Primary Care Clinic (one team), a Refugee Housing Complex (one team), a Spanish-speaking Clinic (one team), a Geriatrics Clinic (one team), and a Housing First Complex (four UHHC teams).


Hart, S., Luptak, M. (Co-I), Andersen, T. C. (Co-I). Interprofessional Collaborative Systems-based Practice: Addressing the Drivers of Health and Health Care Utilization for Chronically Homeless Individuals in a Housing First Model. National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Accelerating Interprofessional Community-based Education and Practice Grant. Total Funds: $100,000. October 2016 – September 2018.

  • The Utah Health and Homes Collaborative (UHHC) is a community-based interprofessional education (IPE) approach for addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity. Four UHHC IPE Student Hotspotting Teams are using health system data to identify and address complex and persistent health and social service needs of chronically homeless persons (considered geriatric regardless of chronologic age) who reside in a local Housing First program.


Pepper, G. Edelman, L., Luptak, M. (Co-I), Andersen, T. C. (Co-I). Utah Geriatric Education Center: Integrating Primary and Geriatric Long Term Care. Health Resources and Services Administration Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program Grant. Total Funds: $2,549,469. July 2015 – June 2018.

  • The objectives of this project are to: 1) integrate geriatrics and primary care into the delivery systems in 21 nursing facilities and transform the learning environment for academic trainees and career development; 2) develop health professionals and direct care workers with competencies in interprofessional collaboration who can assess and address the needs of older adults and their families/caregivers at the individual, community, and population levels; 3) develop and deliver programs for interprofessional teams of providers and direct care workers, patients, families, and caregivers focused on communication skills and transitions of care in the long term care setting that will promote a shared understanding of health information and goals of care, reducing unnecessary emergency department transfers and hospital readmissions; and 4) improve the care of older adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) through academic, career development, and community outreach education for direct care workers, families, and health professionals.


Golden, R. Luptak, M. (Co-I). Better Health through Education and Transformation of Older Adult Care in Illinois. Health Resources and Services Administration Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program Grant. Total Funds: $2,249,865. July 2015 – June 2018.

  • The overarching mission of the Collaborative Action Team training for Community Health—Older adult Network (CATCH-ON) is to unify state-wide academic, health, and community organizations and resources in Illinois to prepare a geriatric collaborative practice-ready health workforce optimizing health while serving and improving patient-centered health and wellness outcomes. The objectives are to: 1) educate older adults, families, caregivers, direct care workers, health professions providers, students, residents, fellows, and faculty about person-centered, culturally competent management of multiple chronic conditions (MCC) among diverse older adults, especially those with cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD); and 2) transform existing primary care systems to meet the needs of older adults with MCC/ADRD by implementing evidence-based programs that utilize provider, patient, and community resources.


McDonald, C., Davis, M. J., and Vanderloo, M. J. Title IV-E Training, Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Total Funds: $13,500,000. July 2017 – June 2022.

  • This federal grant involves research and education components that include participants from the BSW Program, the MSW Program, and new and existing child welfare workers in the agency. The goal of the project is to assess whether a comprehensive, evidence-based training package can impact outcomes in daily practice. A child welfare worker's first child abuse or neglect case is often an overwhelming experience. The process of engaging, gathering information, and making a decision requires a complex skill set which is difficult to perform under the best circumstances. When the situation is highly emotional, competent performance is even harder to achieve. To better equip child welfare workers with the skills they will need for their first case, the University of Utah, in partnership with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, has developed a simulation experience of a workers first case. The training of child welfare workers, like many other types of social work, is acquired mainly through on-the-job experience. This type of training leads to wide ranges in competency and outcomes.  This is the first cradle-to-grave training program in the nation and will incorporate cutting-edge evidence-based training modalities including virtual-reality and simulation.

O’Connor, A. B.  (PI) Evaluation of a Peer-to-Peer Model of Recovery Through Targeted Capacity Expansion for Peer to Peer Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with the Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness. Total Funds: $250,000. October 2016 – September 2019.

  • Peer-to-peer recovery services may provide an opportunity to address gaps in support and improve outcomes for individuals in recovery. To examine outcomes and processes associated with a peer-to-peer model of recovery from substance misuse, evaluators work with a local agency delivering peer-led recovery services (Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA)) to implement data driven processes into standard agency procedures. Outcomes examined include social support, quality of life, access to resources, perceived recovery experience, abstinence from substance misuse, involvement with criminal justice system; process measures include alliance to peer coaching, satisfaction with services, and fidelity measurements. This evaluation presents a particularly exciting opportunity to contribute to SAMHSA’s national knowledge base as peer-to-peer models of recovery are increasingly used, but little is known about effective processes to guide implementation and maximize outcomes.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI) Evaluation of Utah Financial Education Integration Expansion Project (UFEIP). Utah Department of Workforce Services and Fair Credit Foundation. Total Funds: $330,000. October 2016 – September 2019.

  • UFEIP’s primary goal is to increase beneficial financial knowledge, skills, and behavior by providing financial education and skill development to TANF-eligible individuals through empirically-based financial coaching and financial workshops. Piloted through more than five years of previous programming, UFEIP provides financial workshops and one-on-one financial coaching. Outcomes examined include change in financial knowledge, confidence, stress, and relative goal attainment.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI) Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and Utah Attorney General’s Office. Total Funds: $899,512. October 2015 – March 2019.

  • The Enhanced Collaborative Model is a joint project between the Utah State Attorney General and the Asian Association-Immigrant and Refugee Center of Utah designed to develop a multidisciplinary task force to combat human trafficking. The two-pronged approach supports both law enforcement and service providers to expand capacity and response to trafficking victims through data-driven collaboration.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI) Evaluation of Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking. U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crimes and the Refugee and Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah. Total Funds: $400,000. October 2015 – March 2019.

  • The Enhanced Collaborative Model is a joint project between the Utah State Attorney General and the Asian Association-Immigrant and Refugee Center of Utah designed to develop a multidisciplinary task force to combat human trafficking. The two-pronged approach supports both law enforcement and service providers to expand capacity and response to trafficking victims through data-driven collaboration.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI) The Utah Financial Education Integration Project (UFEIP). Utah Department of Workforce Services and Fair Credit Foundation. Total Funds: $327,392. October 2014 – October 2017.

  • UFEIP provides evidence-based financial workshops and coaching to individuals and families with low income. Evaluation examines change in knowledge of credit and budgeting strategies, increased beneficial financial behaviors, and initiation of sustainable approaches to financial health.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI) Evaluation of Outcomes Associated with Service Programming to Victims of Human Trafficking. Refugee and Immigrant Center/Asian Association of Utah and the federal Office for Victims of Crime Total Funds: $398,298. October 2014-September 2017.

  • Program and outcome data gathered from an agency providing services to survivors of human trafficking informs this analysis of outcomes associated with participation in programming. Results indicate the agency was successful in establishing partnerships that facilitate a coordinated community response to survivor’s most pressing needs while simultaneously supporting clients to improve safety, stability, autonomy, and self-sufficiency.

O’Connor, A. B. (PI), Fukushima, A., Gezinski, L. Salt Lake City Human Trafficking Needs Assessment. Principal Investigator. Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. Total Funds: $30,000. January 2017 – September 2017. 

  • In order to best support those affected by human trafficking, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, Salt Lake City Council, and Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office seek to understand the extent to which assets and resources are available to combat human trafficking in Salt Lake City. In order to assess existing assets, identify gaps, and generate recommendations to address identified gaps/barriers, existing resource data from local agencies serving survivors of human trafficking is entered to an online, searchable resource map. Next, stakeholders are administered surveys to gather data about available resources, and perceived gaps/barriers; a subset of stakeholders, including survivors, participate in follow-up focus groups or interviews led by faculty experts on the topic of human trafficking. Finally, data are analyzed by evaluators and faculty to generate and present recommendations to address gaps and barriers.

Prince, K. (PI). A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of the Mental Health Courts (MHC) in Utah. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Total Funds: $60,000. January 2017 – March 2018.

  • This study will compare participants from the largest adult Mental Health Courts (MHCs) in Utah to a matched comparison group. Propensity score matching will be used to match MHC participant and comparison groups on a variety of demographic, mental health, and criminal history factors. Groups will be identified from defendants with mental illness who were adjudicated in traditional courts in the same judicial jurisdictions and timeframes but were not referred to MHC. Utah Criminal Justice Center researchers will meet with program staff from each of the sites to identify the best method of identifying an adequately sized and appropriate comparison sample. Between groups comparisons will be conducted to examine the impact of MHC participation on both recidivism (i.e., statewide arrests and convictions) and treatment engagement. At a minimum, treatment engagement will include mental health and substance use disorder treatment services received and program completion. Pending available data, additional measures of mental stability (e.g., OQ-45) could also be included. Samples will be selected to allow for the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) recommended two-year post-exit follow-up for both recidivism and treatment engagement outcomes.

Tanana, M. J. (PI), Vanderloo, M. J., Davis, M. J.,Cheng, J., West, K., Byrne, K. Title IV-E Child Welfare Research. Utah Division of Child and Family Services. Total Funds: $1,472,704. July 2017 – June 2022.

  • This is a grant to provide research services to the State of Utah Division of Child and Family Services to support the Title IV-E plan. The primary objective of this grant is to provide analytic and technological assistance to DCFS.  Researchers are currently working on projects that use prediction modeling and in-person assessments to deliver rapid, web-based feedback on long-term outcomes for children and families to child welfare treatment providers.  This feedback allows child welfare administrators and providers to make data-informed decisions and improve services provided to youth and families.  Researchers are also conducting a series of analyses to understand the trajectories of youth in the child welfare system.  This includes understanding how different subpopulations and families with specific types of problems move through the system.  Additionally, researchers will analyze how different services impact the long-term outcomes of youth and families.  This project combines perspectives and methods from the fields of social work, machine learning, data science, and implementation science to improve outcomes for youth in child welfare.  

Tecle, A. (PI), Hunter, R. (PI). Seeking Refuge: Understanding the Context and Issues Contributing to the Migration of Unaccompanied Women, Minors and Families (urban refugees and asylum seekers) in Bangkok, Thailand. University of Utah Incentive Seed Grant. Total Funds: $32,100. August 2016 – May 2017

  • Over the past few years, Bangkok has experienced an increase in the migration of unaccompanied women and minors from Somalia and families from Pakistan. With over 9,000 new refugees and asylum seekers every year, current resources are strained and previous organizational processes are not meeting the long-term needs of asylum seekers (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]). Additionally, the provision of emergency services initially developed for addressing short term needs of asylum-seekers from bordering countries is not adequate for the needs of these asylum-seekers experiencing seven or more year stays in Bangkok. International non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and faith-based institutions (FBIs) agree; a paradigm shift is needed! Within a community-based participatory (CBPR) framework, this qualitative study engaged community member and service providers to better understand formal and informal networks of accessing information and services, as well as, the challenges and gaps


Vogel-Ferguson, M. B. (PI). Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The Administration for Children and Families, Division of the Department of Health & Human Services. Total Funds: $2,274,485. January 2015 – December 2019.

  • This project will provide data, research, evaluation, and consultation to develop and improve the Department's programs and services to needy families. The purpose of the next stage of research and evaluation conducted by the Social Research Institute is to provide data regarding the impact of various Department programs on outcomes for TANF needy families accessing the programs, as the Department strives to adhere to the four cornerstone principles of operational excellence, exceptional customer service, employee success, and community connection.

Kafadar, K., Yaffe, J. (Co-I), Garrett, B., Dodson, C. Improving Effectiveness of Eyewitness Identification. Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Total Funds: $1,369,931. December 2016 – November 2019.


  • Eyewitnesses can be mistaken when identifying suspects in criminal cases, resulting in wrongful convictions. In these cases, innocent people may be imprisoned – or even executed – while the culprit remains free to commit other crimes. The Innocence Project is a national organization which has helped to exonerate more than 300 wrongfully convicted individuals. Mistaken eyewitness identification led to conviction in approximately 72% of these cases. This interdisciplinary team is using four interrelated research approaches to find strategies that improve eyewitness identification procedures and minimize mistaken identifications.

Yi, J. (PI). A Pilot Study of the Telehealth Photo Storytelling (TPS) Intervention. University of Utah Faculty Seed Grant. Total Funds: $27,720. June 2016 – May 2018.

  • This grant will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of the TPS with cancer survivors. TPS utilizes narratives and photo images as media in a supportive group environment through a Telehealth format to address posttraumatic stress symptoms and to promote posttraumatic growth in cancer survivors. Results from this pilot will be used to support a future R01 application to conduct a full-scale randomized controlled trial of the intervention.
Last Updated: 1/22/19