This year’s I3 (Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives) awardee is Tasia Smith, whose award of $50,000 will support promising research on the feasibility and acceptability of the Oakridge Buying Club, a community–food retailer partnered food access program in rural Oregon.
The Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives (I3) award program is offered by the Office of Research & Innovation to foster interdisciplinary research groups at UO and to provide pilot or “seed” funding to promising research projects.
The I3 award program builds capacity and supports the development of large-scale projects and programs that are poised to enhance the UO’s research excellence by targeting specific, large-scale funding opportunities.
Smith is an Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department of the College of Education, and a member of the Prevention Science Institute. Her Co-PIs for this project are Elizabeth Budd and Nichole Kelly, both members of the Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department and also members of the Prevention Science Institute, and Jennifer Schwartz of the School of Journalism and Communication.
The data from the current study will inform the development of a pilot multi-level, community-partnered health promotion intervention program to increase access to healthy foods in rural communities in Oregon. The study will used both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess factors at both the community and the individual level that contribute to the effectiveness of the Oakridge Buying Club. The study will contribute to increased awareness, knowledge, and access to food services to improve health outcomes among rural populations.
A community-partnered approach and emphasis on promoting engagement in positive health behaviors will have significant implications for securing external funding and creating successful healthy food initiatives tailored to the specific needs of rural communities.
This project aligns with I3 program guidelines to furnish seed funding over two years to “jump start” a promising project that is interdisciplinary in nature, that builds on UO’s research strength and investments in Prevention Science and the Obesity Prevention cluster hire, and that has strong potential for external funding in the near term.
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