Successful Grant Submission to AIR-P

June 17, 2022

Dr. Calliope Holingue and Ms. Margaret (Maggie) Johnson received an "AIR-P Scholars & Pilot and Feasibility grant" for their submission titled "Recommendations for Improving Gastrointestinal Health among Autistic Adults: A Qualitative Community-Based Participatory Study". Calliope Holingue is an assistant professor at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Maggie Johnson is a traveling nurse, currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, who will be starting her PhD at Emory School of Nursing this fall.

Despite the high prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in the adult autistic population, little research has focused on adulthood. The goals of this study (1) to gain an understanding of the experiences, needs, and priorities of autistic adults as they pertain to GI health and related issues, which will be accomplished through qualitative interviews, and (2) to develop recommendations for potential services, interventions, tools, or policies to improve the GI health of autistic adults.

A strength of the study is the community board of co-researchers, which works alongside Co-PIs Holingue and Johnson to design qualitative interview questions and interpret and contextualize findings from the analyses. In addition, the community board will help draft recommendations to improve the GI health of autistic adults, based on findings from the qualitative research. The collective diverse experiences, backgrounds, and skillsets within the community board will help ensure that we create recommendations that are meaningful to the autistic community, well-thought-out from different perspectives, and most likely to have a real-world impact. In addition, the recommendations will be sent to an independent sample of 350 autistic adults to validate, better understand, and revise recommendations.

As of early June 2022, the community board has been assembled, the study has been approved by the IRB, and recruitment is about to begin.