August 14, 2023

Warriors in the Community, episode 18: Dealing with health self-management among elderly, incarcerated populations

WWJ Newsradio 950
Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.
This week’s episode features Professor Rodlescia Sneed, Ph.D., of the Institute of Gerontology at WSU, who was recently awarded a five-year career development grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. The nearly $600,000 award, Maximizing the Scalability of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) Among Older Adults in State Correctional Settings, will allow Sneed to study how elderly inmates can best address some of their most pressing health issues.


Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm with Rodlescia Sneed, Ph.D. She's an assistant professor at the Institute of Gerontology and in the Department of Psychology who's here to talk about the ongoing work she does with incarcerated aging populations and how their conditions impact our community.

Tell us a little bit about the work that you do. We know that you just got a grant; tell us what it allows you to do and how it pertains to the health of older incarcerated individuals. 

Rodlescia Sneed: I'm really interested in how social factors impact the health and wellbeing of older adults who have a history of justice system involvement.

Rodlescia Sneed
Rodlescia Sneed, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Institute of Gerontology and in the Department of Psychology.

So, I was recently awarded a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health to look at how we can better serve older adults who are incarcerated, who have chronic health conditions. However, very few prison systems actually have programs that are focused on chronic health and physical health conditions.

What we're interested in doing with this grant is actually gather information to understand what does it take to actually implement chronic disease management programming?

Darrell Dawsey: What do we already know about how mass incarceration in the justice system, how they affect this population?
Rodlescia Sneed: So, when we look at folks who've been incarcerated, we know they have much higher rates of chronic disease than the general population.

60% of people who are older adults in prison, for example, have high blood pressure. We see high rates of diabetes, arthritis heart disease.

Darrell Dawsey: Can you share with us an example of why this work is crucial? 
Rodlescia Sneed: I interviewed a gentleman recently who found out that he had diabetes while he was in prison, and the one thing he told me is that he wished that he had learned how to manage his diabetes while he was in prison.

Basically, he was just told he take these pills and so now he's back in community and trying to figure out what foods he should eat or what foods should he avoid because he has diabetes.

Darrell Dawsey: Thank you so much for the very important work that you do. 
Rodlescia Sneed: Thank you.
Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.

Faculty spotlight


Darrell Dawsey
Phone: 313-577-1204

Subscribe to Today@Wayne

Direct to your inbox each week

Related articles