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  • We're on a mission...

    The Center for Health Disparities Research at the Medical University of South Carolina is focused on eliminating racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and rural/urban disparities in health.

  • We're striving for a healthier future...

    through excellence in all phases of our work and continually improving our programs and practices based on new knowledge.

  • We focus on translating research...

    to communities through development of health interventions that are effective and practical in the real world.

HEROIC (COIN) Focus Areas

The Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC) is a Center of Innovation (COIN) that engages in a wide range of topic areas. Yet, research is always tied to priority areas of health equity, access to care, and rural health.

HEROIC (COIN) Focus Areas of Research

  • Health equity - Improve equity in health care and reduce disparities in health outcomes through development and testing of innovative, patient-centered and culturally tailored interventions. Strive for a wide range of medical and psychiatric outcomes in rural and minority individuals targeted through patient (e.g., self-management) and provider (e.g., patient-provider communication) level interventions. We develop, test and disseminate innovative methodologies for analyzing health equity data, and work with key partners to implement in standard care.
  • Access to care - Increase access to care by developing interventions that address the geographical, temporal, financial, cultural and digital dimensions that influence access to care as well as individuals’ perceptions of care and their perceived need for care. This will be done through developing innovative strategies and resources to improve access to high-quality care and evaluating strategies for increased implementation of effective telehealth interventions. We also work with key partners to identify and refine new metrics for measuring access to care in both primary and specialty care settings.
  • Rural health - Improve health outcomes among rural individuals by examining the increasing role of technology on access. Emphasis is placed on understanding barriers to care within the context of an increasingly technology-driven health care system and working with partners to develop performance measures that more accurately reflect actual and perceived access, acknowledge the role of technology on access to care, and capture differential outcomes with regard to technology-based interventions that may exist among rural and minority individuals.

Additional Areas of Research

  • Patient-provider communication - Interventions to improve provider communication across diverse medical and mental health conditions. Current studies include research on patient-provider communication and shared decision-making in Veterans with type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure (CHF), substance abuse, delirium, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cancer. Accomplishments include development of Carolinas Conversation Collections, an internationally available digital archive of recorded and transcribed interviews with people older than 65 from diverse backgrounds speaking about health and illness. The archive is supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine.
  • Care transitions - Work in this area includes participation in a statewide quality improvement collaboration focused on reducing hospital admissions among 50 plus South Carolina hospitals. Current studies also include a novel program of interprofessional hospital discharge handoffs for heart failure patients using videoconferencing equipment and work on the impact of dual-use of VA and non-VA services.
  • Severe mental illness (SMI), suicide prevention, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse - Efforts include:
    • Improving access and equity in mental health service delivery for individuals with SMI. Data from this study may be instrumental in establishing formally prolonged exposure as a frontline “Type A” intervention in this population.
    • Improving suicide prevention among high-risk Veterans.
    • Development and testing of strategies to enhance and maximize the efficacy of evidence-based interventions (EBT) for patients with addictive disorders, particularly dually-diagnosed patients and homeless patients.
  • Cancer prevention and control - Efforts include:
    • Cancer prevention and control in minorities including development and evaluation of behavioral interventions and community-based strategies for African Americans
    • Lung cancer screening and implementation, with emphasis on identifying appropriate lung screening guidelines within VA
    • Development of evidence-based, rational and cost-effective guidelines for prostate cancer screening in VA.

Contact Us

Rutledge Tower
135 Rutledge Ave., Room 280
Charleston, SC 29425-5930
Phone: 843-792-0906
Fax: 843-876-1201