Professor of Nursing and DDCE Associate Vice President for Community Health Engagement Dr. Miyong Kim has dedicated much of her career to community-based participatory research (CBPR) as a means of improving cardiovascular health among traditionally underserved communities. Kim came to The University of Texas at Austin from John Hopkins where she directed the Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Health of Vulnerable Populations.
Kim brought her passion for CBPR to UT Austin. She said that it takes about 17 years for original research to make a difference in patient care. Through community-based participatory research, the return is more immediate and involves a great understanding of local communities and cultures. “We like to combine community capacity building with a line of scientific inquiry,” she explained.
Kim is developing a graduate-level class on CBPR that would involve students working with various community organizations to plan community health projects together. She also has been active with a local Social Medicine Committee that focuses on the most urgent community healthcare concerns in the region including improving maternal health outcomes for African Americans and Latinas, cardiovascular health for underserved communities and health literacy factors. The City of Austin has appointed Kim to the Asian American/Pacific Islander Quality of Life Commission as well.
Since arriving in Austin last summer, Kim has set her sights on establishing a national model, the Center for Trans-Disciplinary Collaborative Research in Self- Management Science (TCRSS), and has applied for National Institutes of Health funding. She envisions the interdisciplinary center as one that will develop, test and disseminate innovative self-management solutions to improve the health outcomes of people with chronic conditions. It will include a community engagement core that will facilitate meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders and community entities and establish an infrastructure for trans-disciplinary research. The Center for TCRSS partners will span the university and include collaborations with non-health-related disciplines including education, law, technology, business and engineering as well as health service organizations, other nursing institutions and community organizations.
“The bottom line,” said Kim, “patients are changing, communities are changing. We academicians do healthcare research in traditional ways — in silos. We need to break out of those silos. Trans-disciplinary research is the solution.”