Psychology Assistant Professor Kyla Day Fletcher recently received a three-year $438,000 grant from the National Institute of Health to study African American partner relationships and HIV risk reduction in her Olds-Upton lab at Kalamazoo College.
Day Fletcher’s main interest is sexuality and substance abuse, as well as the role of romantic partners. Her grant covers one specific study.
“This particular project is specifically focused on the role of partners and how partners can impact our own decisions,” Day Fletcher said. “I like to think that our partners do matter because we like them a lot, and we find ourselves engaging in things and our interests become similar to our partners. I’m wondering how this impacts other decisions around substance use and sexual decision making, in particular how it can go really right and maybe not so right.”
The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities provides funding to extramural researchers. These outside researchers then make a call for applications for funding, or they have an idea and submit a research idea themselves.
“Mine was a call for applications to HIV prevention particularly for an institute that was concerned for minority health and health disparities, which my topic is,” Day Fletcher said.
Day Fletcher typically conducts research with surveys. This project’s survey will be over 30 days.
“My study is using a daily diary to assess some of these variable or constructs on a daily level and then see over time what are the patterns in their thinking, behavior, and experiences,” Day Fletcher said. “They’ll also do a follow up interview where I’ll have a chance to ask them about their experience over the last 30 days.”
This study’s participants will be from Kalamazoo only. According to Day Fletcher, the study does not identify the city of Kalamazoo in order to maintain anonymity and confidentiality.
Day Fletcher said her goal is to do a thorough job in answering as many questions as she can and to have a deeper understanding of the material she is researching.
“Our statistics are helping us explain the differences we see in an outcome,” Day Fletcher said. “It’s work that to some extent I would want to do anyways but now [because of the grant] I’m able to do it in a way that is really effective and efficient.”