Black women are among those most likely to have insomnia, according to Dr. Lynn Rosenberg, a principal investigator of the Black Women’s Health Study, professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and associate director of the Slone Epidemiology Center. Dr. Rosenberg has been awarded a three-year $2.2 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study this disparity.
[Photo: Dr. Lynn Rosenberg]
The study will use a self-administered internet program called SHUTi (Sleep Healthy Using the Internet). SHUTi is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the most effective treatment for insomnia. Because CBT providers are limited, SHUTi seeks to make CBT more accessible for those with insomnia.
While SHUTi has been shown to improve insomnia symptoms, the program has not been tested adequately in black populations. Noting that black women face additional barriers to accessing CBT, Dr. Rosenberg and her team propose to adapt SHUTi to make it more effective for black women. They will then conduct a study comparing this tailored program, SHUTi-BW, with the standard SHUTi program and with the usual care that most black women will receive if they go to their doctor to seek insomnia treatment.
“The SHUTi-BW program, if successful, could improve insomnia symptoms among many black women across the country, which in turn could lower their risk of the many health problems related to poor sleep,” Dr. Rosenberg says.
The project was selected for PCORI funding through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders, and their methodological rigor, among other criteria.
“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” says Dr. Joe Selby, executive director of PCORI.
PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better informed healthcare decisions.