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Faculty to Research Effects of COVID-19 

September 02, 2020
Nara Gavini
Nara Gavini

Faculty at the MGH Institute will use small seed grants to research the effects of the coronavirus on health care.

The grants, distributed by the IHP’s Research Operations Committee, include 20 faculty from most of the school’s academic programs.

Nara Gavini, the Institute’s director of research, says this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding potential COVID-19 research at the IHP. He hopes these seed grants will develop into external grant proposals for translational research with the goal of tapping into the roughly $4 billion in new NIH research funding on the pandemic.

One grant, awarded to nursing faculty Assistant Professor of Nursing Kristine Ruggiero and Professor of Nursing Pat Reidy will investigate if there is a correlation between parents who vaccinate their child for the flu and parents who say they would vaccinate their child against COVID-19. “When it comes to planning for the future, this information is just as important as the breakthrough vaccine study data reported on the nightly news,” says Dr. Ruggiero of “Transforming Vaccine Hesitancy into Confidence—Understanding Parent-Perceived Vaccine Decision-Making around a Novel Coronavirus.” (Full description is below.)

Eight research proposals have been given seed grants thus far, including Ruggiero and Reidy’s. View a full list of the proposals below:

Assistant Professor of Health Professions Education (HPEd) Anshul Kumar and Adjunct Assistant Professor of HPEd Claudia Rosu: A Community Health Worker Program to Identify and Alleviate Misinformation Effects on Preventing COVID-19 Spread in a Rural Community in India

This project will aim to test a new approach to rapidly counteract the spread of COVID-19 misinformation through training and education. This fall, their team will partner with an NGO that already works in a rural Indian community. Together, they will use an evidence-based community approach to improving the COVID-19-related health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the community. They will complete a preliminary needs assessment with community members on their basic knowledge and beliefs about COVID-19, mask usage, hand hygiene, food myths and nutrition, and MIS-C. They will then remotely train a cohort of community health workers (CHWs) who will be recruited from and work in their local community to deliver a community education program focused on identified community needs and dispelling misinformation. In 2021, the team hopes to share conclusions about remote training of CHWs and the rapid deployment of community-based educational interventions. The team hopes that the learning from this project will help them expand the strategy to other low-resource or underserved settings and different emerging health topics. 

Assistant Professor of Nursing Debra Kelly and Assistant Professor of Nursing Oluwatomisin Olayinka: Effects of COVID-19 on Student Nurses’ Resilience and Mental Well Being

The goals of this study are to explore nursing students’ perspectives and experiences of resilience and mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a thematic analysis of students’ reflective journals and to determine whether the experience of treating patients with COVID-19 and other clinical experiences affect resilience and mental well-being of current nursing students and recent graduates.

Professor of Nursing Elissa Ladd and Julia Miles, MSN ’17: Characteristics of the Patient Population at a COVID-19 Non-Congregate Shelter: An Analysis of Socioeconomic, Housing, and Health Risk Factors

Mapping COVID-19 infections to social determinants of health can inform public policy and healthcare outreach as we prepare for a potential resurgence of disease this fall and winter. Therefore, the aim of this study is to describe the demographic, social, and health characteristics of the population of residents residing at the Chelsea/Revere non-congregate shelter during the Spring of 2020 and to explore the fit of this data with an available predictive algorithm for residents in high risk housing.

Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Joanna Christodoulou: Mitigating Summer Reading Loss During COVID-19: Examining Social Emotional Competencies as Protective Factors

We evaluate the prevention of reading loss through promising malleable factors: social emotional learning skills (SELS) and literacy activity participation. SELS underlie the ability to be available to learn and are a strong candidate for fostering reading resilience through growth mindset, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness. While there are learning opportunities during the pandemic, many students are not participating. We examine one explanation: SELS may be protective against reading loss by allowing more engagement in summer literacy activities. Informed by theoretical frameworks of SELS1 and developmental cascades, these findings can inform future educational programming. Overall, we will explore whether the capacity to leverage SELS is predictive of participating in reading activities and positive reading growth for children with LBLD completing grades 6, 7, 8 (ages 13-15) during COVID-19.

Professor of Physical Therapy Julie Keysor: Health and Function Outcomes After COVID-19 Discharge: A Feasibility Study

The long-term impacts of COVID-19 on health and rehabilitation outcomes are unknown, underserved inner city, lower socioeconomic status, and people of color are disproportionally at risk of COVID-19 and vulnerable to pour outcomes. The specific aims of this study are to explore rehabilitation outcomes of pain, fatigue, dyspnea, depression and function among patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 3 months after discharge and whether impairments and function are correlated to participation restrictions and to explore whether age and race are associated with worse functional outcomes among patients discharged with COVID-19 from the Mass General Brigham system. 
Assistant Professor of Nursing Kristine Ruggiero and Professor of Nursing Pat Reidy: Transforming Vaccine Hesitancy into Confidence—Understanding Parent-Perceived Vaccine

Decision-Making around a Novel Coronavirus

Communication Education Strategies for parents if/when a novel COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. The aims of the study are to 1. Describe the sociodemographic characteristics (child’s age, gender, race, etc.) of the surveyed parents and children. 2. Describe factors that impact/influence parents’ perceptions around vaccine decision-making as it relates to the Influenza vaccine. 3. Describe factors that impact/influence parents’ perceptions around vaccine decision-making as it relates to a novel Coronavirus. 4. Describe and compare any differences between parent-perceived factors that impact vaccine decision-making with regularly scheduled childhood Influenza vaccine vs parent-perceived factors that impact vaccine decision-making as it relates to a novel Coronavirus. 5. Examine if there is a correlation between parents who vaccinate their child for the Influenza (flu) vaccine and parents who would vaccinate their child for the COVID vaccine. 6. Determine if there is an association between child health/disease severity and parent’s perceptions of vaccinating their child. 

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Mandy Kaur: Exploring Practice Patterns of Pediatric Telerehabilitation During COVID - A survey of Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists

The aims of this study are to explore the current practice patterns and identify the challenges faced by PTs and OTs in providing telerehabilitation to the pediatric population during the COVID-19 pandemic and to examine the factors impacting the CDM process of pediatric PTs and OTs delivering telerehabilitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistant Professor of Nursing Oluwatomisin Olayinka: Effect of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic on Patients’ Self-management of Chronic Diseases (Hypertension and Diabetes)

The study will explore the impact of social distancing, quarantine, and lockdown restrictions on patient’s self-management behaviors. The specific aims are to determine the effect of COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions on self-efficacy, patient activation, and ideal self. To determine the effect of COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions on self-management behaviors (medication adherence, self-monitoring of blood pressure or blood glucose, and physical activity). And to evaluate the extent to which self-efficacy, patient activation, and ideal self are associated with self-management behaviors (medication adherence, self-monitoring of blood pressure or blood glucose, and physical activity).