Kennesaw State University will partner with WellStar Health System to research bioethical issues faced by people trying to manage their health care. AJC FILE
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Kennesaw State, WellStar awarded grant for health disparities research

Kennesaw State University will team up with WellStar Health System to study bioethical issues faced by people experiencing social or economic barriers while trying to manage their care.

The project will be funded by a one-year, $113,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, the university said in a press release. Evelina Sterling, director of research development and strategic initiatives in KSU’s Office of Research, and Jason Lesandrini, assistant vice president of ethics, advance care planning, and spiritual health at WellStar, will conduct the study. 

Sterling said the study will examine issues such as communicating with doctors and advance care planning among underserved people navigating challenges like transportation, financial and insurance issues and accessing care in their own communities. 

This research will be integrated to an existing health disparity study Sterling is working on with associate professors of social work Carol Collard and Vanessa Robinson-Dooley. This study will come up with a support and self-management program that would serve low-income black men with chronic conditions.


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KSU said a separate training module will be created for WellStar’s clinical and research staff, which will help in the company’s mission to “promote ethical behavior and decision-making aligned with the mission, vision and values of the health system.”

Qunicy Byrdsong, executive director of WellStar’s Research Institute, said the company is excited about working with KSU for the project. 

“Not only will the research have significant impact on the communities we serve, but the collaboration continues to maximize the collective strengths of Kennesaw State University and WellStar Health System in our service to the state of Georgia and beyond,” Byrdsong said. 


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