HERC Community Partnership Seed Grants – 2016

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Previous Grants

  • Mapping the Food Landscape: Understanding Food Access in Kitsap County

Principal Investigators

 Laura Ryser

Community Partners


The project is designed to align food-access strategies and programs of the coalition of participating agencies and to direct resources to increase community food access. Pilot data collected will be relevant to future proposals by WSU HERC faculty and the agencies to the State of Washington and federal grants.

Update as of July 2020

Key findings from this report show that there are 7 times as many convenience stores as supermarkets within a half mile of all Kitsap County Schools, and that there are 1.4 times as many unhealthy food options as there are healthy ones throughout the county.  With the overall county obesity rate at 58 percent and only 21 percent of residential areas in the county located within a 2-mile buffer from a supermarket, food security and health outcomes are a public health concern.

In phase II, the project team surveyed 15 corner stores within 0.5 mile from all middle and high schools in the county for availability of fresh food.  The project team worked with Head Start and Early Head Start families to conduct in-store surveys of fresh food.  Findings from survey show that access to fresh food at these locations are severely limited. This pilot project is informing a larger fresh food availability assessment project being conducted in 2020, with the goal that there is an increase of fresh food available at all corner stores throughout the county.

Currently in phase III, the project team is working with one store owner to make in-store changes as a pilot to work with other stores in a documented food desert. This phase is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extension, Engagement and Education (E3)This Healthy Corner Store applied research project was chosen by academic faculty and undergraduate students to be a capstone project.  In the fall of 2019, three classes participated and in spring 2020, one class participated.

Presentations & Publications

Presentation at the 2018 NW Council on Family Relations Conference titled Mapping the Food Landscape: Understanding Food Access in Kitsap County

Presentation at the 2019 National Urban Extension Conference titled Mapping the Food Landscape: Creating Data for Policy, Systems and Environmental Change

Presentation accepted to the 2020 National Urban Food Systems Symposium titled Mapping the Food Landscape: Tools for Increasing Food Security

Read the report developed titled The Food Landscape in Kitsap County, WA.

  • Identifying Barriers to Quality Health Care and Outcomes for Injury: Language, Location, and Age

Principal Investigators

Janessa Graves

Community Partners


Using insurance claims and hospital discharge data from Washington state, the investigators will describe the variation in health-services utilization and costs for injury care by rural-urban setting. Rural-urban variations and costs for injury care will be examined by patient home residence and location of treatment. Rural health disparities are a target of NIH funding.

Update as of July 2020

Much of the work associated with this grant has involved building and strengthening community collaborations. It is important that the work is community-driven, so the objectives have been adapted to match community concerns. A large amount of the work has transitioned to focus on rural-urban disparities in youth suicide and access to mental health services, in partnership with a community task force, the Spokane Regional Health District and the Northeast Tri County Health District. Given the current COVID-19 concerns, we are focusing on analyzing the data we currently have and allowing our community collaborators to focus on more pressing issues.

Articles & Presentations

Graves JM, Moore M, Gonzalez C, Ramos J, Nguyen L*, Vavilala MS. Too little information: Accessibility of information about language services on hospital websites. J Immigr Minor Health. 2020. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1007/s10903-020-00978-8.

Graves JM, Abshire DA, Undeberg M, Forman L*. Rural-Urban Disparities in Access to Medicaid Pharmacy Services in Washington State. (Revise & resubmit at Preventing Chronic Disease)

Graves, JM, Mackelprang JL, Moore M, Higley T. Coding homelessness: What are we missing in our injury data?  Podium presentation. Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) Annual Meeting, Philadelphia PA, April 28-29, 2020. [Conference cancelled due to COVID-19]

Denson V, Graves J, Kent E.  Language assistance services in non-federally funded safety-net clinics. Poster abstract accepted for presentation at the U.S. Western Institute of Nursing Conference, Portland, OR, April 15-18, 2020. [Conference cancelled due to COVID-19]

Graves JM, Abshire DA. Access, equity, and preferences of injury care across rurality. Poster presentation, Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, April 1-3, 2019.

Graves JM, Moore M, Gonzalez C, Ramos J. An assessment of language access barriers on hospital websites: A statewide analysis. Podium presentation, American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 10-14, 2018.

Reuter SA*, Graves JM, Moore M. Language Barriers in the Prehospital Setting: Descriptive Analysis of National Emergency Medical Service Information System (NEMSIS) Data. Poster presentation, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Summer Research Symposium, Seattle, WA, July 29, 2018. Received “Excellence among Undergraduate Students Award.”

Graves JM, Forman L*, Justis P. Geographic Disparities in Access to Pharmacy Services for Medicaid EnrolleesPoster presentation, AcademyHealth Annual Research Conference, Seattle, WA, June 2018.

*student coauthor/mentee

Principal Investigators

Joy Lile

Anna Zamora-Kapoor

Community Partner

Fetu Ta’iala Project (small non-profit addressing needs of Pacific Islander youth in Kitsap, Clallam, and Jefferson counties)


The goal of this partnership is to assess needs and design programs targeted at improving academic, social, and health outcomes for youth and families in the Pacific Islander community. This is a health-disparity population of interest to NIH.

Update as of July 2020

The FTP/WSU partnership Tofa Saili study completed data collection, conducted preliminary analysis and translated remaining data from Samoan to English. Preliminary results were presented at the National Urban Extension Conference. HERC funds allowed this program to collect data from 43 individuals, which will be useful in shaping programming to support mental health and school outcomes for Pacific Islander students and families in Washington state.


Lile, J. in partnership with Fetu Ta’iala Project. “Tofa Saili: A Community-Based Research Partnership for Pacific Islanders Student Achievement.” National Urban Extension Conference. Seattle, Washington.

Principal Investigators

Bidisha Mandal

Community Partner


    1. Examine rural-urban differences in emergency department (ED) and inpatient care use for treatment of chronic conditions including anemia, asthma, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, diabetes, and hypertension
    2. Examine the cost of hospital admissions and readmissions for chronic conditions

Update as of July 2020

The way to reduce recurrent hospitalizations is to identify the underlying reasons of frequent hospitalizations and design appropriate transitional care after discharge from the hospital to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. This study examined inpatient data from the Pullman Regional Hospital to document the chronic conditions most frequently associated with hospital admissions and readmissions. This analysis also identified differences in age, gender, race, and insurance type, between patients who experienced a single inpatient visit and those with two or more inpatient visits within a two-year period.

Other HERC Seed Grants: NW HERON

Data from a Practice-Based Network to Improve Health, Health Care, and Training for Health Care Professionals in Washington State 

Principal Investigators

Dedra Buchwald, MD     |     Justin Denney, PhD     |     Ken Roberts, PhD

This study resulted in the Northwest Health Education Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON), the practice-based research and educational network built by the partnership of WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health, HERC and primary care clinics in Washington state and the surrounding region.

NW HERON has the unique opportunity to solve pressing health problems, improve the quality of clinical care and address the research priorities of primary care sites to ultimately, positively impact the health of Washingtonians and others for years to come.

    • NW HERON comprises clinical practices serving medically underserved communities with experience in delivering health care services to populations that experience health disparities.
    • NW HERON also places WSU health professions students with primary care clinics and medical centers serving rural, tribal or urban underserved communities. On site, students undertake a scholarly project oriented to health improvement of the local community.

About This Project

In Washington state, 21 of 39 counties are rural with populations of less than 100 persons per square mile. Rural Healthy People 2020 , a companion to Healthy People 2020, identifies the lack of quality health-care services and poor health-care access and the resulting disproportionate burden of chronic health conditions as major contributors to pervasive and persistent rural health disparities. Disparities exist for many common physical and behavioral health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, behavioral health conditions, and opioid addition. A Practice Based Research Network (PBRN) links sites to support practice improvement efforts of partnering hospitals and clinics, and to conduct clinically relevant, practice provider-driven health research that will improve the lives of people in Washington. It leverages and is built on the 70+ clinical practice sites that have signed affiliation agreements with the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. We will focus on rural and tribal health-care clinics and providers in central and eastern Washington state. We envision our PBRN will be used for practice-improvement projects, research on reducing health disparities, and enhancements to the efficiency and effectiveness of health-care facilities in the region and the state. The PBRN will also directly benefit clinical education and training across the Spokane Health Sciences campus, along with the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine’s community-health research objectives.