Introducing Pilot Awardee Teresa Moro, PhD, AM, LSW!  Moro received a Pilot Award in 2022 for Social Workers and Community Health Workers in Primary Care: A RE-AIM Impact Study. AIMS (Ambulatory Integration of the Medical and Social) is a model intervention led by social workers that addresses behavioral health and social needs, which are major contributors to poor outcomes in patients with chronic conditions. In her Pilot study, Moro evaluates the impact of adding community health workers to AIMS at Oak Street Health, which provides care to patients eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

Dr. Moro is an assistant professor of social work in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University. She completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in social work at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago with a concentration in health services and expertise in chronic illness, disability, and family systems. Her primary focus has been exploring ways to improve healthcare for individuals with complex needs and their caregivers.

How did you become interested in health equity?

I am interested in improving health and healthcare for people with cognitive disabilities, in particular older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After over two decades of working with people with traumatic brain injury, dementia, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in both clinical and research capacities, I have witnessed enormous shifts in more equitable and inclusive research. However, too often the research does not translate into clinical practice. We still have a long way to go in making meaningful improvements in direct care both nationally and globally. I want my research to contribute to positive changes for individuals with cognitive disabilities, their families, and the teams providing their care.

How did you become interested in your research topic?

As a social worker, I am trained to look at the interplay between individuals and their environment. Social work research in real world settings can be challenging. I am excited to be able to share my work discussing the impact that social work and community health workers have in a large primary care setting.

How does this project fit into your broader research?

All of my work focuses on the importance of interdisciplinary teams and the positive impact each person brings to providing the best possible care to the individuals and communities we serve. This research will contribute to that body of work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your research?

Being a part of the C3EN and ITM networks has been transformative personally and professionally. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to continued networking and learning opportunities.

Pilot awards provide early stage investigators with up to $60,000 in funding, as well as mentorship and methodological consultation from C3EN experts, to obtain pilot data intended to establish and sustain an NIH-funded program of health disparities research. Learn more and apply for a Pilot Award.