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Behavioral Science

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Photo of Nancy SchoenbergNancy E. Schoenberg, Ph.D.

(University of Florida, 1994)

125 Medical Behavioral Science Building
Phone: (859) 323-8175
e-mail: nesch@uky.edu


Research Description

Dr. Schoenberg’s research interests address the long-term health and care needs of middle aged and older adults particularly those populations that suffer the greatest health inequities. Dr. Schoenberg, a medical anthropologist, maintains research interests in community-based participatory interventions, explanatory models of chronic diseases and their prevention and management, self-care decision-making and formal health care use, and qualitative and complementary methodology. Her research projects include a study of lifestyle management of rural women with diabetes and coronary heart disease; an investigation of the determinants of adherence to dietary recommendations among African-American elders with hypertension; ethnographic approaches toward cardiac decision-making; survey research into the characteristics associated with elders at risk of inadequate nutritional intake; and in-depth interviews on determinants of cancer screening. Dr. Schoenberg’s current projects include several faith-based lay health advisor interventions to prevent cancer (lung, cervical, colorectal, and breast) and an intergenerational diet-exercise program. In addition, Dr. Schoenberg and colleagues are examining how older adults, their caregivers, and health care providers manage complex multiple morbidities.  Throughout Dr. Schoenberg's work, there is an emphasis on the cultural context of health decisions and community-based participatory approaches.

2012 Accomplishments

Dr. Schoenberg’s research involves addressing health inequities, particularly among rural residents using community-based participatory research strategies, intervention trials, and mixed method designs. In 2012, Dr. Schoenberg and colleagues had an active year of research, including data collection and analysis, presentation, publication, and grantsmanship. In partnership with community members in six counties in Eastern Kentucky, Dr. Schoenberg has been undertaking two multiyear projects, ”Faith Moves Mountains: A CBPR Appalachian Wellness & Cancer Prevention Program” (National Institutes of Health/ National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, R24 MD002757) and “An Intergenerational Intervention to Reduce Appalachian Health Disparities” (National Institutes of Health/ NIDDK, R01 DK081324-01).In an early analysis of outcome data for the R24, we were pleased to detect a statistically significant effect in smoking cessation outcomes, leading us to propose two new projects that are currently under review. The team has made eight academic conference presentations and many more community presentations. Collectively, we have published five journal articles, have six in press, and several more under review. We have submitted five grants, one scored, but unfunded (to be resubmitted in spring); one funded (NCATS/CCTS); one very recently funded (NIMHD/NIH) and the other two pending. Our two newly funded projects include “Targeting circadian rhythms to improve health; a pilot project to examine circadian rhythms in middle aged and older adults“ (UK Centers for Clinical and Translational Science National Center For Research Resources. UL1RR025755, co-PI with Esser and Kern) and “Appal-Tree (Appalachians Together Restoring the Eating Environment) (National Institute for Minority Health and Disparities, R24MD008018-01, co-PI with Swanson).  Dr. Schoenberg’s work also focuses on qualitative and mixed methods research. Pertaining to this expertise, she has continued her role as Associate Editor for The Gerontologist, where she has served as decision editor for 80+ manuscripts over the past year.  Additionally, she is a standing study section member for Community Level Health Promotion; serves on several editorial boards, provides consultation to colleagues at the University of Arkansas/ Little Rock, University of Alaska/Fairbanks, University of Minnesota, Wake Forest University, Ohio State University, University of California/Los Angeles, among others. She currently serves as a member of  the Board of Directors, Society for Applied Anthropology and on several editorial boards. Other gratifying service and research experiences include being a member of the Executive Committee for the Markey Cancer Center Cancer’s Prevention and Control Program; serving on the College of Medicine’s Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee, and being a member of the Department of Behavioral Science’s graduate admissions committee. An increasing part of her career involves mentoring junior scholars. Dr. Schoenberg currently serves on eight doctoral committees; provides mentorship for thirteen postdoctoral scholars or junior faculty members; serves as a “CATalyst for UK’s Center for Clinical Translational research; and has recently hosted a visiting Spanish doctoral student, A particular accomplishment this year was the receipt of a K Award by one of Dr. Schoenberg’s junior colleagues (Dr. Zanjani) and the likely receipt of an R21 by another mentee (Dr. Hatcher Keller).

Research Funding

Principal Investigator, “An Intergenerational Intervention to Reduce Appalachian Health Disparities.”National Institutes of Health/ NIDDK. R01 DK081324.  10/08-9/13.

Principal Investigator, “Faith Moves Mountains: A CBPR Appalachian Wellness & Cancer Prevention Program.” National Institutes of Health/ National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. R24 MD002757. 8/08-2/13.

Principal Investigator, “Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening for Patients with Multiple Morbidities.” National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute. R21CA129881-01   5/08-4/10.

Principal Investigator, “An Appalachian Cervical Cancer Prevention Project.” National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute/National Institute on Aging, R01 CA108696-01 9/04-9/09.

Co-Principal Investigator,” Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening in Rural Kentucky.” National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute, R01 CA113932 4/05-3/10.

Principal Investigator for UK Site, National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute, “Appalachian Community Cancer Network.” U01 CA114622-01 5/05-4/10.

Co- Principal Investigator, “Patient Navigation for Cervical Cancer in Appalachia.” National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute (PI: Mark Dignan). R01 CA120606. 4/06-3/11.

Co-Investigator, Prevention Research Center. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 5/1/05- 9/29/10.

Co-Investigator, “Kentucky Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program” 5 R25 CA098220-03. 7/05-6/10.

Representative Publications


Schoenberg, N.E., Hatcher, J., Dignan, M.B. Appalachian women’s perceptions of their community’s health threats. Journal of Rural Health. 24(1): 75-83, 2008.

Traywick, L.S., Schoenberg, N.E. Determinants of Exercise among Female Heart Attack Survivors. Journal of Applied Gerontology. 27 (1): 52-77, 2008.

Schoenberg, N. E., Kim, H., Edwards, W., Fleming, S.T. The burden of multiple morbidities on out-of-pocket medical expenditures among older adults. The Gerontologist. 47 (4): 423-437, 2007.

Leach, C.R., Schoenberg, N.E. The vicious cycle of inadequate early detection: A complementary study on barriers to cervical cancer screening among middle aged and older women Preventing Chronic Disease. 4(4), 2007.

Hatcher, J, Schoenberg, N.E.  Human subjects protection training for community workers: An example from the Appalachian Cervical Cancer Prevention Project. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action. 3 (1): 257-265, 2007.

Schoenberg, N.E., Hopenhayn, C., Christian, A., Knight, E., Rubio, A. An in-depth and updated perspective on determinants of cervical cancer screening among central Appalachian women. Journal of Women and Health, 42 (2): 89-105, 2006

Schoenberg, N.E., Amey, C.H., Stoller, E.P.& Drew, E.M. The Pivotal Role of Cardiac Self-Care in Treatment Timing. Social Science and Medicine. Medicine 60: 1047-1060, 2005.

Schoenberg, N.E., Peters, J., Drew, E.M. Unraveling the mysteries of timing: Emically-derived explanations for time to treatment for women with cardiac symptoms. Social Science and Medicine, 56: 271-284, 2003

Schoenberg, N.E., Amey, C.H., Stoller, E.P., Muldoon, S.B. Lay referral patterns involved in cardiac treatment seeking among middle-aged and older adults. The Gerontologist, 43(4): 493-502, 2003.

Schoenberg, N.E., Drew, E.M. Articulating silence: experiential certitude and biomedical controversies over hypertension symptomatology. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 16(4): 458-75, 2002.
Rowles, G.D., Schoenberg, N.E. Qualitative Gerontology. New York, Springer Publishers, 2002