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Chineme Enyioha, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Family Medicine, was recently awarded a K23 Career Development Award from the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for a study entitled, “Development of a prototype for a mobile health intervention for smoking cessation with features culturally adapted for African American smokers.” Enyioha will focus her work on creating a mobile cessation system specifically targeted at African American smokers.

The study will focus on health disparities, empowering patients, and offering services that encourage its target audience to utilize these programs. Enyioha began this endeavor after discovering that there was minimal research focused on African American smokers advocating quitting. Plans for this research and advocacy include the creation of a mobile app that encourages users to quit smoking. The prototype of the app will occur under the current grant, with the hope that a full app will be created under a future grant.

Enyioha states that the impact of the project, “will be the contribution to nicotine addiction and cessation science, with a focus on Black smokers who struggle more with smoking cessation compared with other racial groups. Current research suggests that mobile health interventions lead to behavior change including smoking cessation, and Black smokers have not been adequately represented in such studies. I am excited to be able to develop the prototype of a mobile health app with features that will be culturally adapted for Black smokers. The end goal is to have an app that Black smokers are likely to use, which will hopefully increase the smoking cessation rate for this population.”

Enyioha’s award from NIDA is a career development award with a mentoring team that includes UNC Family Medicine faculty, Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH, and Chrissy Kistler, MD, MASc. The study will recruit candidates through North Carolina’s Translational and Clinical Sciences (TraCS) Institute Research Coordination & Management Unit (RCMU).

Enyioha works with the UNC Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program (TPEP) on messaging for cigars and cigarillos, and was awarded a diversity supplement by NIH National Cancer Institute based on a parent grant studying how to best communicate new warning labels for little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs). LCCs have far less regulation and are typically marketed to young adults and Black Americans through greater advertising and promotions and lower prices.