The Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation is pleased to announce the Pilot Grant Awardees for 2023. The Center's pilot grants support integrated project teaming across the campus with faculty from the Colleges of Nursing and Engineering. The first team comprises Muge Capan, PhD from the College of Engineering, Joohyun Chung, PhD, RN from the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, and Amanda Paluch, PhD from the UMass Kinesiology Department at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. The second team is Yossi Chait, PhD from the College of Engineering and Jeungok Choi, PhD RN from the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing. The pilot program works to develop healthcare innovations that align with the Center's mission of promoting collaboration and building a healthier future. This involves integrating perspectives from nursing, engineering, and others to focus on real world problems and practical solutions. Through sharing and learning from each other, usable solutions to healthcare challenges can be created. The Center is proud to support these collaborative teams and the advances they will make in promoting a healthier future.
The Capan-Chung-Paluch team will examine factors that impact the health and well-being of nurses with their project, An Exploratory Study to Identify Multi-Level Factors of Physical Health and Well-Being in the Nursing Profession. The team notes that "nurses work in an environment that involves physically demanding tasks, irregular sleep patterns, and emotionally taxing situations. Although nurses spend much of their day promoting the health of their patients, nurses have a high prevalence of poor health behaviors, poor cardiovascular health, obesity, and diabetes." Prior intervention programs have not proven sustainable; in other words, while nurses may have found them helpful in improving their overall health, they did not find them effective long-term. In addition to identifying informational gaps in nursing curricula, the team will be using self-reported data from nurses alongside engineering expertise with analytics to develop an intervention program that is based on physical activity, scalable, and sustainable.
The Chait-Choi team’s project focuses on Individualized Blood Pressure Management in the Community and will examine the prevalence of hypertension in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area. Working at the Baystate High Street Health Center with local clinician Dr. Michael Germain and Baystate Health’s Dr. Paul Pirraglia, the team will collect data from the predominantly underrepresented population that the Baystate Health Center serves. The team points out that "Black Americans and Hispanic Americans have significantly lower rates of BP [blood pressure] control than White Americans; these disparities are likely due to systemic racial discrimination, socioeconomic inequity, and unequal access to healthcare services." The project introduces an innovative blood pressure management approach and addresses transportation as a factor in hypertension; if people can't get to places where treatment is offered, regardless of how leading-edge that treatment is, it becomes ineffective.