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Faculty projects to address type 2 diabetes and mental health courts

Rachel Woodson Goode, Ph.D.Researchers Rachel W. Goode and Todd Jensen have been awarded a nearly $600,000 grant from the American Diabetes Association to develop an effective intervention to help African Americans with type 2 diabetes better manage their health. The School colleagues are collaborating with partners at University of Pittsburgh and Wake Forest University on the three-year project.

The researchers are specifically interested in helping individuals with type 2 diabetes, which affects how the body uses insulin, address the challenges of binge and emotional eating. Research has shown that African Americans with type 2 diabetes are more likely to struggle with binge eating, eating even when they aren’t hungry and using food to cope with negative emotions. Such actions are associated with decreased insulin sensitivity and poor glucose control.

Todd Jensen, Ph.D. For their study, the research team will focus on developing and testing the feasibility of a program that is culturally appropriate, remotely delivered and designed to improve appetite self-regulation.

Goode is the principal investigator on the project.



Tonya Van Denise, Ph.D.Tonya Van Deinse has been awarded a contract to work with the Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center (CJRC) and the Durham County District Attorney’s Office on a federally funded project that aims to strengthen and expand the use of mental health courts and related services. CJRC is leading the project, which recently received a $467,696 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Van Deinse will work with the Durham agencies on the implementation and evaluation piece of the three-year project.

Historically, mental health courts have been used to connect offenders with mental health and substance use disorders with community-based treatment and services as a way of preventing them from cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, some individuals do not meet the eligibility requirements to be diverted through this court program.

As proposed, the Mental Health Court Expansion Initiative aims to close these critical gaps in Durham County’s diversion efforts by helping to better identify and prioritize individuals with a moderate or high risk of recidivism and a need for mental health treatment. The project will also focus on enhancing treatment supports for mental health court clients and addressing the needs of individuals with mental illnesses who do not meet eligibility requirements for mental health courts.

Over the next year, Van Deinse will work closely with project partners to organize an inter-disciplinary advisory team of stakeholders from criminal justice, mental health, and substance use service providers to assist with planning and administration of the initiative. The team will then focus on detailed plans for screening, assessing, referring, and engaging clients in the mental health court process. As a project evaluator, Van Deinse will assess clients’ participation in mental health treatment and services as well as their outcomes, including whether they are rearrested, convicted and returned to jail or prison.