ASU associate professor wins Fulbright Award to study sexual-assault prevention

March 29, 2023

Throughout her career, Arizona State University Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation Associate Professor Kelly Davis has worked to translate her research into action. An expert in alcohol-involved sexual assault, Davis’ studies have been cited in U.S. legislation and have earned her a MERIT Award and now the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award.

The program will take her to the United Kingdom beginning in early 2024 to collaborate with colleagues at the University of Birmingham. Their work will focus on ways to reduce sexual assaults involving alcohol through education and perpetrator prevention efforts. A headshot of Associate Professor Kelly Cue Davis smiling at the camera with her mouth closed and wearing a dark blouse with a silver pendant necklace. Edson College Associate Professor Kelly Cue Davis was selected for the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award. Download Full Image

“We know this is a global issue. On average, about half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol either on the part of the victim or perpetrator but most commonly both,” Davis said.

But there are varying perceptions of responsibility when an assault happens and someone has been drinking. Davis plans to compile existing research evidence and create innovative ways to distribute it.

“We plan to develop a framework to integrate that information and then use that framework to develop best-practice guides for professionals who work with both victims and perpetrators in a professional capacity — so nurses, law enforcement, student code of conduct administrators, etc.,” Davis said.

Through a translational science approach, Davis and colleagues will work to inform these groups about all the variables at play during alcohol-involved sexual assault while challenging outdated myths, misperceptions and double standards, some of which have made it into law.

“There’s problematic legislation in some states where if a victim was drinking, it only legally impairs their ability to consent if it was involuntary consumption,” Davis said.

Their second objective relates to expanding prevention efforts to perpetrators. Right now, Davis said most of the evidence-based interventions focus on potential victims and helping them reduce their risk of being assaulted.

“It’s imperative that we have interventions that focus on perpetrators,” she said.

For this aim, the team will expand Davis’ promising cognitive behavioral therapy intervention to include alcohol-related content.

Throughout the project, Davis will have the opportunity to exchange data and best practices, which will be beneficial for the researchers and stakeholders. 

“I think we can learn from each other about what’s working and what’s not working, changes they’ve seen in their culture over time and what we’ve seen,” Davis said.

Fulbright Scholar Program alumni include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur gfellows and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

“It’s some nice company to be in,” Davis said.

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation


ASU receives $9M grant to continue improving Arizonans' health through AHCCCS

March 29, 2023

Arizona State University has received a $9 million grant to continue its work with Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to advance health equity and address patients’ whole-person care. 

The university helped AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid agency, to improve health outcomes since 2019, according to William Riley, professor of health care delivery in the College of Health Solutions. Riley leads the project along with co-principal investigator George Runger of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence. Doctor's hand with a stethoscope against a girl's chest. ASU's College of Health Solutions will continue efforts in phase two of the AHCCCS project using data analytics and health system design to increase equity and decrease disparities in the health care system. Photo by Pixabay Download Full Image

“Six years ago the Arizona Medicaid program, AHCCCS, received a $315 million waiver to integrate primary care and behavioral health,” Riley said about phase one of the project. “We led the project in the last three years to work with over 400 health systems and clinics and over 1,000 physicians to improve population health metrics. It was very well received and highly regarded.”

“Phase two will focus on advancing equity and addressing health-related social needs to better impact health outcomes,” he said.

The grant is part of a larger, $250 million program that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services renewed last fall. The 1115 Waiver authorizes states' Medicaid programs to make experimental or innovative changes and will run through Sept. 30, 2027.

The second phase of the project

The Targeted Investments Program helped improve the connection between physical and behavioral health-care providers at the patient level to increase access to a full array of services.

TI 2.0, the second phase, will get more providers involved through a range of initiatives aimed at addressing social drivers of health. 

These enhanced initiatives include:

  • Effectively coordinating health-care providers and community partners to address an individual’s whole-person care needs, including primary care, behavioral health, and health-related social needs such as housing instability, food insecurity and transportation.

  • Systematically identifying and reducing inequitable health outcomes within the health-care organization’s patient population.

  • Adopting Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards to advance health equity, improve quality and help eliminate health care disparities.

Riley said the College of Health Solutions team led efforts to analyze failure modes in care delivery, then worked with physicians and clinics to develop processes to improve care.

“Physicians are at the front line seeing patients every day,” Riley said. “The care systems are often not aligned between organizations to coordinate care, and the processes are not designed to deliver care for a population of patients.

“In phase one, we helped create a clear line of sight between the policy goals and to develop processes so that physicians and behavioral-health experts could improve care for their patients.”

The college will continue those efforts in phase two using data analytics and health system design to increase equity and decrease disparities.

Weldon B. Johnson

Communications Specialist, College of Health Solutions