Genius Foundation awards $ 300,000 for interdisciplinary health research at UCF


Eight interdisciplinary faculty research projects – on health topics including pain management, improving provider-patient communication, and intimate partner violence – received approximately $ 300,000 in grants through a new partnership between the UCF Academic Health Sciences Center and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. The donation is the first major programmatic donation to AHSC since its inception in 2018.

“The Genius Grant is a catalyst for bringing together multidisciplinary teams to solve health problems that cannot be solved in a single discipline. – Deborah German, Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of UCF College of Medicine

“The Genius Grant is a catalyst for bringing together multidisciplinary teams to solve health problems that cannot be solved in a single discipline,” said Deborah German, vice president of health affairs and dean of UCF College of Medicine. “This is exactly what we need to transform healthcare for all. I am grateful for this gift to our UCF faculty.

The laureates are professors from the four units of the CSSU – the colleges of Health professions and sciences, Medication and Feeding with milk, as good as Student health services – with the support of other university entities.

“Thanks to this donation, our interdisciplinary work with colleagues at the University Health Sciences Center is accelerating,” said Christopher Ingersoll, Dean of the College of Health Professions and Sciences. “These collaborative faculty projects aim to improve interdisciplinary health education and healthcare practices, two areas of translational research that will have immediate impact.”

Located in Winter Park, Florida, the Genius Foundation supports the arts, education and quality of life initiatives. His donation to AHSC supports the UCF Genius Innovation Challenge, designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches to innovative and holistic medical education, research and patient care. AHSC leaders say the grants support the key concept behind the center’s creation – promoting interdisciplinary research, education and care that will improve health for all.

“These projects bring together teams of multidisciplinary experts,” explains Mary Lou Sole, Dean of the College of Nursing. “The results of these various projects will have an immediate impact on our community in Central Florida and beyond. “

Here are the recipients and their research projects:

“Improve understanding of social determinants of health through hologram-assisted interdisciplinary education simulation scenarios.” “

PC: Peggy Hill, College of Nursing

CO-PI: Barry Hoffman, CHPS; Mindi Anderson, CON; Désirée Díaz, CON; Denise Kay, COM

This project will use innovative hologram technology to train future healthcare professionals to recognize the impact of social determinants of health, such as poverty, racial inequalities, substandard housing and food insecurity, on disease. and healing. Unlike computerized mannequins, hologram technology can demonstrate the complexity of disease and can allow real patients to be teleported into educational settings. The goal of the project is to educate healthcare professionals from all disciplines who are trained as effective teams to advocate for equitable care and do their part to reduce disparities in healthcare.

“3D printers for training and education in health procedures”

Postcard: Mindi Anderson, CON
CO-PI: Syretta Spears, CON; Désirée A. Díaz, CON; Boon Peng Ng, CON; Carolyn Buchanan, CHPS; Analia Castiglioni, COM; Javier Rosario, COM

This project would create 3D printed anatomical models and task trainers to educate students at the three colleges. Simulation is on the rise in health education, but simulators are expensive. The creation of less expensive 3D models and simulation technologies will allow educators to train more students and increase interprofessional education. Anatomical models can also be used to communicate with patients in clinical settings and provide information at community health events. The project will purchase three 3D printers – one for each college – and begin to develop and identify curricula for the use of models and trainers in training. The objective of the project is to make AHSC a leader in 3D-assisted training, creation and research.

“Campus Care (CoC): Screening for Intimate Partner Violence in Student Health Facilities”

IP: Bethany Backes, CHPS
CO-PI: James Schaus, SHC; Mary Schmidt-Owens, CHS; Lisa Newberry, SHC; Jana Jasinski, CEM; Julia O’Connor, CHPS; Amy Reckdenwald, CEM; Karina Villalba, COM; Jacqueline Woerner, CEM

This project will begin screening all UCF Student Health Services patients for intimate partner violence and providing support and follow-up to those at risk. This is in response to the Spring 2021 National College Health Assessment on the UCF campus which indicated that such violence – including physical and emotional abuse, criminal harassment, sexual harassment and coercion into sexual touching – were a very real concern for the students. Constant monitoring of students for intimate partner violence will allow student health service providers to better support and meet the needs of students. Through the project, Student Health Services will hire a Victim Advocate to provide support and gain a better understanding of intimate partner violence at university and how to prevent it.

“Huntington’s Disease Center in Central Florida”

PI: Amber Southwell, COM
CO-PI: Bari Hoffman, CHPS

This project begins with the creation of a multidisciplinary care center in Orlando for Huntington’s disease, the most common genetic neurodegenerative disease, affecting approximately 1 in 10,000 people of European and Hispanic descent. The center will be in partnership with Nemours Children’s Health, the Orlando VA Medical Center and AdventHealth. There is currently no treatment that can delay the onset or slow the progression of this devastating and deadly disorder that can destroy voluntary motor control, cognitive function, psychiatric health and even personality. The only existing health centers are in Tampa, Gainesville and Miami. Creating a local center would allow UCF to fill treatment gaps for patients and their families, and become a more sought-after site for research and clinical trials aimed at finding new therapies.

“Collaboration in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) at UCF”

PC: Humberto López Castillo, CHPS
CO-PI: Eric W. Scrimshaw, COM; Christopher W. Blackwell, CON

This collaboration is designed to build research, clinical practice, and advocacy collaborations in sexual and reproductive health between faculty, staff, and students at UCF and the Central Florida community. To foster these partnerships, the project will create 20 “Sex Café” podcasts on sexual and reproductive health topics to provide more information and dispel myths about sexual and reproductive health. The goal of the collaboration is to encourage research and clinical partnerships to improve the sexual and reproductive health of Central Florida and to be community-based research on evidence-based information on the topic.

“Interprofessional pain control program with emerging technologies throughout the UCF University Health Sciences Center”

PC: Carey Rothschild, CHPS
CO-PI: James Whitworth, CHPS; Jeffery Cassisi, COS; Kelly Allred, CON

Pain is the most common reason people seek medical care, but knowing how to effectively treat pain is often difficult and complex. This project will launch a comprehensive pain education program across all UCF health care programs, both undergraduate and graduate. The program will include how pain is observed and assessed, collaborative approaches to the treatment and treatment of pain throughout a person’s life. The goal is to fill the gaps in pain education that have contributed to the high rates of Americans with chronic pain and opioid abuse for pain management. One of the goals of the project is to have the University Health Sciences Center train an “army” of providers who can help patients manage pain better.

“Therapeutic alliance: improving the patient-practitioner relationship in all disciplines”

PC: William J. Hanney, CHPS
CO-PI: Mindi Anderson, CON; Bari Hoffman, CHPS; Analia Castiglioni, COM; Desiree A. Díaz, CON

Communication is at the heart of any patient-caregiver relationship, good communication leading to a “therapeutic alliance” between the two. However, communication and formation of this alliance are not routinely taught as part of professional health training. This project will create interprofessional web-based training courses, advanced coaching sessions using hologram technology, and in-person training that leverages standardized patients (actors) to develop students’ communication skills with their patients. The combination of state-of-the-art virtual patients and real human interactions makes this program unique and may make AHSC a leader in providing patient-centered education.

“School in relation to summer weight gain and health-related behaviors in young people with autism spectrum disorders”

PC: Keith Brazendale, CHPS
CO-PI: Jeanette Garcia, CHPS; Susan Quelly, CON; Shawn Lawrence, CHPS; Shilpa Gurnurkar, COM

This proposal brings together a team of various health experts from the CSSA to advance education and research in a relatively little-known area: childhood obesity in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Research shows that young people with intellectual disabilities like autism were 42% more likely to be overweight or obese than neurotypical young people. Additionally, emerging evidence has identified summer as a critical window for accelerated weight gain, as young people have less structured routines than when they are in school. The study will examine whether a consistent structure and routine (which autistic youth tend to prefer more than neurotypical youth) can improve the health of this medically underserved population. The aim of this study is to develop community health programs that can help young people with autism and their families improve their health.

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