Creighton University has received a nearly $400,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It will fund Finances First, a three-year research study to observe whether improving the financial status of low-income single mothers leads to better physical health as well.
Dr. Katie Packard, Professor of Pharmacy at Creighton, and one of the study’s principal investigators, says after observing health improvements in women who participated in their Financial Success Program, they conducted a small pilot study, which also demonstrated this. She calls the study’s results -- health benefits from a program which focuses on increased financial well being – intriguing.
“There is an emphasis not to eat so much fast food -- that it’s less expensive to make meals at home, but really that’s the only indirect health intervention – an emphasis on trying to look at more cost-effective ways to feed their family. But the health benefits really are mostly a side effect of the reduction in stress. Because financial stress is probably the #1 cause of overall stress in Americans.”
Packard says half of the women will attend a weekly financial literacy class for nine weeks, followed by monthly classes and meetings with an advisor for the rest of the year. At the end of the year, their health indicators and reports about their stress levels will be compared with women in the other half – who receive only health monitoring. She says those in the monitoring-only group will be guaranteed a slot in the financial literacy class at the end of the year.
For more information, search “Financial Hope Collaborative” at Creighton.edu