Health Sciences Division Clinical Awards honor and support four faculty projects

The Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has announced the recipients of the 2022-23 Health Sciences Division Clinical Award, an internal grant program designed to facilitate research among clinical faculty in both Health Care Sciences and Applied Health Sciences.

WSU Applebaum faculty members Jeannetta Greer, Christine Kivlen, Regina Parnell and Marie Eve Pepin were selected to receive funding for their research projects, described below.

"I'm so pleased to advance our college's commitment to new health sciences research through these awards," said Nora Fritz, Department of Health Care Sciences director of research and associate professor of physical therapy and neurology. "Giving faculty a financial boost to get their ideas off the ground will pay off in the long term as they continue to pursue innovative and impactful projects over the course of their careers."

Jeannetta Greer
Jeannetta Greer, MS, BSRT(T)

Jeannetta Greer, Radiation Therapy Technology, "Does Teaching Core Values Promote Positive Relationships Between Radiation Therapy Students and Their Patients?"

Many students feel overwhelmed in clinic trying to learn the technical aspects of radiation therapy and how best interact with their patients. How students interact with patients can have an impact on the patient's care. Instilling core values such as compassion, respect, commitment to integrity, commitment to excellence, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice in health care is critically important for developing positive relationships among the student and patient.

In this study, Greer hypothesizes that teaching core values may improve health care provider-patient relationships, improve patient satisfaction, reduce patient anxiety, increase patient pain tolerance, improve stress response, and improve treatment compliance, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. She will examine the transfer of classroom teaching of core values to improved patient care and outcomes among radiation therapy technology students.

Christine Kivlen
Christine Kivlen, PhD, OTRL

Christine Kivlen, Occupational Therapy, "Pause for Paws: A Drop-In Therapy Dog Clinic for Students"

Mental health is a significant concern for undergraduate and graduate students, so it is critical that college campuses provide access to low-cost mental health programming. Current programming is often limited by high demand and one-on-one counseling requirements.

Animal Assisted Intervention may be a viable option to supplement over-burdened counseling centers, as Animal Assisted Interventions have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and increase well-being.

Kivlen proposes to examine the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a drop-in therapy dog clinic housed within a graduate school on physiological stress and perceived stress and anxiety. This proposal overcomes limitations of prior work by providing mental health resources in the setting where students are engaged in school (i.e., easily accessible) and allowing for group therapy sessions.

Regina Parnell
Regina Parnell, PhD, OTRL

Regina Parnell, Occupational Therapy, "Still Hurried: Working Mothers and Well-Being"

The ever elusive "work-life balance" is particularly challenging for working mothers, with many reporting an imbalance in career success vs. successful parenting. Further, working mothers report bouts of disrupted sleep, low physical activity, weight gain and poor nutrition, placing them at risk for cardiovascular, metabolic or mental health issues.

Parnell proposes to better understand the attributes of occupational engagement, related stressors that impact well-being, and coping practices used to manage these stressors in working mothers. She will intentionally recruit working mothers across all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Expected results include specific ways that modern working mothers configure their daily schedules to meet their multiple role obligations (employee, mothering) and occupational goals (attending work meetings, networking, attending child's sporting events, assisting with homework, rest); evidence of the role, health or social stressors faced by diverse cohorts of working mothers; strategies used by working mothers to manage and cope with their role, health or social stressors; and evidence of the impact of hurried lifestyles on health and well-being.

Marie Pepin
Marie Eve Pepin, PT, DPT, MSPT, OMPT

Marie Eve Pepin, Physical Therapy, "Effect of a Brief Psychosocial Oriented Intervention on Physical Therapists' Beliefs and Behaviors in the Management of Patients with Low Back Pain"

Low back pain is incredibly common, and many individuals experience psychological or cognitive tendencies such as depression, anxiety and fear of movement (kinesiophobia) in conjunction with low back pain. Unfortunately, physical therapists rarely screen for kinesiophobia, despite compelling evidence that its presence can impact treatment outcomes. Recently published guidelines provide specific guidance how to best manage patients with kinesiophobia and low back pain, but the uptake of these recommendations remains low.

In this knowledge translation project, Pepin proposes to work with a group of physical therapists to implement the recommendations of the clinical guideline specific to kinesiophobia in low back pain. She hypothesizes that providing education specific to assessment and treatment of kinesiophobia in low back pain will change therapists' attitudes, beliefs and clinical practice, as evidenced by changes in survey responses and charted instances of standardized measures of kinesiophobia and treatments specific to managing kinesiophobia. As written in Pepin's proposal, this project "bridges the gap between research evidence and clinical practice ... to provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the health care system."

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels - from undergraduates to veteran faculty members - translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 students.

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