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Grant to study health outcomes of women in Financial Success Program at Creighton

Blood testResearchers at Creighton University have been awarded a $399,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to study the health outcomes of women enrolled in the Creighton University Financial Success Program, an initiative helping to promote behavior change for low-income single mothers through financial education.

A pilot study conducted by the researchers showed that in addition to improved financial outcomes, the Financial Success Program was associated with significant improvements in quality of life and perceived hope.

Researchers Katie Packard, PharmD and Nicole White, PharmD, in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Ryan Walters, PhD, in the School of Medicine, and Julie Kalkowski, MSW, in the Heider College of Business, will perform a randomized, controlled three-year study comparing the health effects of low-income women in the Financial Success Program versus those without financial educational program training. The researchers will measure health outcomes including blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, perceived quality of life and hopefulness, as well as lifestyle behaviors including exercise and diet.

“In the pilot study, we noticed improvements in quality of life and perceived hope as well as a reduction in fast food consumption. Women also displayed trends in increased exercise. Many women lost weight, experienced reductions in waist circumference, body fat percentage and BMI.” said Packard. “We are looking for similar outcomes in this study, making a case for financial education as a health intervention.”

The researchers are looking for more than 400 women, ages 19 to 55, to participate in the study. A small stipend will be paid to those who do participate.

If you would like to be a part of the study, contact Tamika Bradley, senior program coordinator of the Financial Success Program, at (402) 280-3736.

The study will receive additional funds from the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Development Fund and other local foundations.

The research team includes an interprofessional steering committee of six Creighton faculty and two graduates of the Financial Success program: Lisa Black, DPT; Kathleen Flecky, OTD; Jennifer Furze, DPT; Julie Peterson, DPT; Lorraine Rusch, PhD, RN; Ann Ryan-Haddad, PharmD; Tamara Madlock and Tracy Wanek.

Through hope and humor, participants in the Financial Success Program, part of Kalkowski’s Financial Hope Collaborative in the Heider College of Business, are able to change their financial behaviors and, in turn, potentially improve their health. More than 650 women have participated in the program since it began in 2009.

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