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Daack-Hirsch’s Interdisciplinary Team Awarded Obermann Center Grant

Sandra Daack-Hirsch

Sandra Daack-Hirsch, PhD, RN, and UI College of Education Associate Professor Carolyn Colvin were recently awarded an Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Interdisciplinary Research Grant for their project titled “The Intersection of Education and Health in Two Rural Immigrant Iowa Communities.”

The abstract for the team’s project can be found below:

“Nearly two-thirds of the United States’ (U.S.) population growth through 2050 will be due to immigration (IOM, 2012). From 1990-2000, immigrants arriving in Iowa grew by more than 100%. Southeastern Iowa, in particular, has experienced a growing number of immigrants from Central America and Southeast Asia. Immigrant populations are among the most vulnerable groups in the United States for incidence of health disparities. Part of this disparity can be attributed to low literacy skills. We believe that literacy is the currency of being in charge of one's health and the ability to navigate the health care system with agency. While working on literacy initiatives (an adult literacy program, pre-school literacy program, and career education program) in rural Iowa communities, we became increasingly aware of literacy and its relationship to health knowledge and health decisions among immigrant Americans in these communities.”

Over the summer, Drs. Daack-Hirsch and Colvin will work collaboratively and draw on and extend relationships with community partners who will be instrumental in writing a community engaged research grant in response to NIH’s Education and Health: New Frontiers initiative. The team’s long-term goal is to develop an evidence-based health action plan that takes into account the rights and well-being of community members while involving them in research design and data gathering efforts.

“We also hope to implement a culturally appropriate, localized, and focused action plan aimed at improving the quality of health care among community members. This is important in order to break the cycle of poor health that is prevalent among immigrant populations in our communities,” added Daack-Hirsch.

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The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies falls under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and serves UI faculty, visiting scholars, UI graduate students, and the greater community. More information can be found at


Posted On: 
Nov 22nd, 2016