Current Projects - Community Health Advocacy

Community Health Advocacy Awards Grants for Fall 2022

Nine research projects are sharing more than $650,000 in funding through the Community Health Advocacy program to generate solutions focused on the following areas:

  • Exploring prototypes for the transformation of care and community-based initiatives that address social determinants of health
  • Improving outcomes and reducing health care disparities
  • Increasing access to care and reducing barriers to care for individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds

The CHA program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

The funding supports research involving clinicians, engineers and social scientists to rapidly develop technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery. A requirement of the grant applications was for solutions that could be deployed quickly, within four to six weeks.

Fall 2022 Project Awards

AI in education – Training 21st century health care providers

  • Primary PI: Linda Chang, PharmD, University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford             
  • Co-PI: Dawn Mosher, DNP, OSF Saint Anthony College of Nursing

Summary: The goal of this project is to develop an online/hybrid “health professions artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine curriculum” that could revolutionize health care education. The first step in this project will be to identify students’ perception of the benefits and potential harms of AI in health care. The next step will include creating a course to improve health professions student’s knowledge and skills related to AI in health care.

Attending to behaviors: An innovative needs analysis approach for improving health care

  • Primary PI: Lisa Barker, MD, OSF HealthCare 
  • Co-PI: Brenikki Floyd, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago

Summary: This project aims to create and test an innovative framework for needs analysis. Leveraging best practices in patient experience for the emergency department setting and a new behaviorally-anchored needs assessment, the team will create a roadmap to improve the experience of at-risk patient populations.

Prenatal cannabis exposure: Investigating reasons and messaging

  • Primary PI: Erin Berenz, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Co-PI: William Bond, MD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: This project will investigate women’s risk perceptions of using cannabis in pregnancy. This will include understanding the messages women receive about the benefits and harms of cannabis use and the medium they use to consume information. The goal is to help reduce cannabis use during pregnancy.

Solutions for facilitating communication with children and adult patients with special needs

  • Primary PI: Jessica Hanks, MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria                          
  • Co-PI: Matthew Mischler, MD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: This project will employ a human-centered design approach to develop an application that will allow social stories to be built specifically for patients and families encountering the health care system. The idea is to make the stories adaptable and specific to different health care environments so they may be used broadly by patients, caregivers, and their health care team – removing communication barriers and improving health care delivery.

Applying artificial intelligence-based technology for diabetic retinopathy screening in underserved Chicago communities

  • Primary PI: Scott Barrows, MA, OSF HealthCare
  • Co-PI: Deepak Edward, MD, University of Illinois Chicago

Summary: Racial and ethnic minorities are two to three times more likely to develop significant visual complications from diabetes. This project proposes a free artificial intelligence-based (AI) diabetic retinopathy screening program in four selected homeless shelters or community organizations to address such challenges.

Workforce development project: Building a pipeline to practice

  • Primary PI: Susan Stirling, MDM, University of Illinois Chicago            
  • Co-PI: Ann Willemsen-Dunlap, PhD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: This project aims to better understand the challenges involved in attracting and retaining entry-level health care positions, specifically the patient care technician (PCT) position. The research team will explore the needs and challenges of individuals currently in this role and investigate factors that might motivate them to stay and advance. The goal is to improve job performance and employee satisfaction, resulting improved hiring and mentoring processes. 

Digital Card Sort project

  • Primary PI: Mark Hallenbeck, MS, University of Illinois Chicago           
  • Co-PI: Ann Willemsen-Dunlap, PhD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: The project builds off of an in-house developed card sorting tool that helps guide conversations with people around the challenges they face that can negatively impact their health. The goal is to turn the tool into a digital version and diversify its use across OSF HealthCare to explore topics such as community, comfort with technology, and, most recently, upward mobility within the workforce.

Advancing innovations in health professions pipeline education

  • Primary PI: Hana Hinkle, PhD, University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford                     
  • Co-PI: Noël Adams, MBA, OSF HealthCare

Summary: This project aims to advance the work of pipeline programs that can reduce the impact of social, economic and educational determinants and create opportunities for underserved students to have accessible and meaningful support in health care career exploration starting in junior high school. By creating an equalized opportunity to experience and explore health careers through technology work projects, along with regionalized support, we can establish a fully realized pathway to health careers.

Project PLANT: Developing and testing an intervention to promote a whole food plant-based diet tailored to African American men at risk for prostate cancer

  • Primary PI: Christine Jovanovic, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago   
  • Co-PI: Robert Ryan Riech, MD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: Adopting a whole food plant-based diet may be an important and under-utilized treatment for African American men with localized prostate cancer. This project proposes a Phase 1b study to develop and test PLANT (Plant-Based Diet for Prostate Cancer Prevention and Treatment), an intervention to promote a whole food plant-based diet for African American men risk for prostate cancer.

Interdisciplinary oral and primary health care for patients with disabilities

  • Primary PI: Sodabeh Etminan, DMD, University of Illinois Chicago            
  • Co-PI: Matthew Mischler, MD, OSF HealthCare

Summary: The goal of this project is to improve access to care for individuals with lifelong pediatric and congenital onset potentially disabling conditions, a population that has historically had issues accessing oral health care due to lack of clinical resources and trained providers.