Star Booker Receives $1 Million NIH Grant for Pain Study

Star Booker 2023

Staja “Star” Booker, PhD, RN, recently received a $1 million National Institutes of Health grant investigating a pain self-management intervention that encourages behavioral changes in older Black participants.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, is titled: “Testing the Pain Relief of Musculoskeletal Conditions and Arthritis using Culturally Tailored Interventions for Black Elders (PROACTIVE) Intervention: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

The study will involve 120 self-identifying Black participants, age 50 and older, with chronic musculoskeletal conditions causing pain upon movement. Older Black Americans tend to shy away from long-term use of opioids as well as invasive arthritis treatments, instead relying on alternative forms of pain management. The study will investigate the efficacy of strategies that address their social determinants, according to the project’s summary.  

Participants will receive a mix of culturally congruent pain management education with a physical toolkit of self-management products, active prayer and financial/insurance counseling to explain participants’ health care benefits for pain care. After the four-week intervention, researchers will determine if the strategies reduced the participants’ pain.

“Dr. Booker’s innovative approach and dedication to addressing health disparities in our community are truly commendable. This significant achievement reflects her exceptional commitment to advancing equitable healthcare and improving the quality of life for Black elders suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain,” said College of Nursing Dean Shakira Henderson.

Booker is an Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing and has focused her research on studying pain in older adults.

“My resolve to address health disparities remains unchanged because assessment and treatment of pain in older adults remains a significant problem worldwide. Our progress towards pain treatment equity and precision is much improved, but still more is needed, especially for underserved older adults. My motto for this project is that “We walk by FAITH (Finding Arthritis Interventions That Help),” Booker said when discussing her work.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01NR021183. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health

Dr. Booker’s co-investigators include: Fern Webb, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery-Jacksonville, Roland Staud, Director of the UF Center for Musculoskeletal Pain and Fatigue Research, Qinglin Pei, Associate Professor, UF College of Nursing, Carolyn Tucker, UF Florida Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research and Distinguished Alumni Professor. Other Significant Contributors include: Lori Bilello, Co-Director for the Center for Health Equity and Engagement Research (CHEER) at UF College of Medicine Jacksonville and Roger Fillingim, Director of the UF Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE).