BOONE, N.C. — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded three faculty members from Appalachian State University's Beaver College of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences a four-year grant totaling $549,290.
The study, titled "Impacts of Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19 Pandemic Factors on Suicide Risk among Youth," is led by Dr. Martie Thompson, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Distinguished Endowed Professor of Public Health in App State's Department of Public Health and Exercise Science, and includes three co-investigators:
Dr. Manan Roy, associate professor in App State's Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management
Dr. Jennifer Runkle, environmental epidemiologist at North Carolina State University's North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies
The project will explore suicidal behaviors among youth. Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth in the United States. The team will integrate real-time data on suicide risk among youth with national data on social determinants of health and COVID-19 burden to determine how suicide risk among youth has changed throughout the pandemic, how these changes vary by different sociodemographic groups and how social determinants of health and COVID-19 impact suicide risk.
"This research is particularly needed in light of the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health and recent advisories from the United States Surgeon General that highlight the need for a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic on youth," explained Thompson, whose research focuses on the epidemiology of suicidal behavior.
The project will fund Sophia Ryan '23, lecturer in App State's Department of Geography and Planning, and several undergraduate and graduate students each year. Cole Gilbert, a junior public health major from Ocracoke; Noah Salam, a junior computer science major from Charlotte; and Drew Wilson '22, a geography master's student from Raleigh, began work on the project on August 1. "They will join a multidisciplinary team and gain hands-on experience in data cleaning, data analysis, manuscript writing and conference presentations," said Thompson.
About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at https://geo.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management
The Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate health care management program prepares students for entry-level management positions, while the online Master of Health Administration degree is designed for working professionals who desire to advance their careers. The undergraduate nutrition and foods program prepares students for careers in dietetics or food systems management in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and food banks. The highly competitive master’s degree in nutrition provides a pathway for students to become registered dietitians. Learn more at https://nhm.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Public Health and Exercise Science
The Department of Public Health and Exercise Science in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences delivers student-centered education that is accentuated by quality teaching, scholarly activity and service. The department includes two undergraduate academic disciplines: exercise science and public health. The department also offers a master’s degree in exercise science, which prepares students for advanced study in a variety of related fields as well as research. Learn more at https://phes.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS), opened in 2010, is transforming the health and quality of life for the communities it serves through interprofessional collaboration and innovation in teaching, scholarship, service and clinical outreach. BCHS offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Nursing, Nutrition and Health Care Management, Public Health and Exercise Science, Recreation Management and Physical Education, Rehabilitation Sciences, and Social Work. The college’s academic programs are located in the Holmes Convocation Center on App State’s main campus and the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, a state-of-the-art, 203,000-square-foot facility that is the cornerstone of the Wellness District. In addition, the college supports the Blue Cross NC Institute for Health and Human Services and has collaborative partnerships with the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program, the Appalachian Regional Health System and numerous other health agencies. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
By Lauren Andersen and Amanda Mlekush
August 9, 2023