Oral Health Disparities, Community Engagement Plan

Principal Investigator: Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.

Funding Source: DentaQuest Foundation/Fiscal Agent Pathways

The DentaQuest Foundation funded the Petersburg Wellness Consortium (Team Lead: Dr. Mosavel) to explore the oral health landscape in Petersburg using various community engaged research strategies. The Foundation’s current campaign – Oral Health 2020 – is mobilizing a national network across the grassroots, grassmiddles and grasstops to increase awareness of health equity and racial justice in the understanding of oral health disparities.  The PWC and VCU will conduct community engaged research to assess how 1) oral health can be integrated into education and other services, 2) to optimize oral health literacy, 3) to build a strong community prevention and care infrastructure. Laypersons will be engaged in all aspects of the research. 

Petersburg Wellness Engagement Project

Principal Investigator: Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.

Funding Source: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

The goal of this research is to assess: 1) The strengths and resources critical for addressing obesity, 2) The social-cultural perceptions of obesity, and 3) The family-based, community-wide interventions that can be supported citywide to increase physical fitness and improve nutritional choices. Specific aims include conducting a needs assessment informed by community input from multiple sources, and developing and implementing a pilot intervention that will address individual, family, community and societal factors to galvanize the community to increase physical activity and improve nutritional choices and options that will reduce obesity.

RoadMaps to Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Action Award

Principal Investigator: Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.

Funding Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Action Award

The Petersburg Wellness Consortium (PWC) was awarded the RoadMaps to Health Action Award by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Roadmaps to Health Coaching Program offers guidance to strengthen communities’ capacity to create a culture of health for all residents. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps community coaches support community teams in selecting coaching goals, reflecting on effectiveness of current approaches, focusing strategically to get the most leverage for efforts, considering evidence informed strategies, and considering how to evaluate efforts. The PWC was established by Dr. Mosavel and her community partners in 2012 to improve Petersburg's health and wellness by optimizing resources and partnerships. It is a volunteer run organization and have been able to secure funding from various sources to address health inequities in Petersburg. The RWJ Action Awards work will accelerate or advance a Culture of Health by positioning the Petersburg Wellness Consortium to be an inclusive and sustainable umbrella organization to improve health in Petersburg. The PWC will accomplish this by building on existing and emerging assets to enhance continued efforts at improving health, working towards sustaining current partnerships and developing new partnerships with key organizations, and working towards sustainable change that focuses on systems, policies and environmental solutions. The coaching team includes the City Manager, a community activist, Dr. Mosavel as team leader, Virginia Department of Health –Crater Road District, Cameron Foundation, YMCA of Petersburg and Virginia Cooperative Extension Services.


ELSI Sub-Study on the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of the Human Genome Project

Principal Investigator: Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.

Funding Source: National Disease Research Interchange

The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project offers a biobanking resource for the scientific community to study human gene expression and is relationship to common diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer.  The goal of the GTex project is to densely genotype tissues collected from a variety of deceased organ and tissue donors. In addition to biobanked tissue, the GTEx project provides researchers an atlas of genomic data paired with donor medical and social history information.

As part of the GTEx project, the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) sub-study seeks to understand the factors that affect consent to tissue donation for biobanking purposes and to improve the informed consent process.  The ELSI project interviews the family decision makers who are approached to donate to GTEx by organ procurement organization staff as part of a request for tissue donation for transplantation. In addition, the ELSI study is investigating the impact of the stressful environment in which the GTEx donation requests occur and testing a communication training program for organ procurement organization staff who request for tissue donation to the GTEx biobank.