Current Projects - Community Health Advocacy

Community Health Advocacy Awards Grants for Spring 2023

Six research projects are sharing $460,000 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.

Spring 2023 CHA Grant Projects

Automated Seizure Detection in Ambulatory EEG

  • Biswajit Maharathi, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Huan Huynh, MD, OSF HealthCare

Ambulatory EEG is a powerful tool to evaluate seizure propensity in epileptic patients within natural community settings and residential environments. This goal of this pilot project is to build a semi-automated seizure screening system using modern machine learning-based computational approaches to significantly reduce the physician’s time evaluating these events by providing faster and more accurate screening methods and improving the patient care experience.

BRIDGeS (Building Resourceful Interactions Despite Grief and Stress)

  • Carolyn Dickens, PhD, APRN, ACNP-BC, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Eileen Knightly, MS, OSF HealthCare

This project addresses the growing issue of violence and incivility in the community and its impact on patient care in hospitals. It utilizes findings from a 2022 community health needs assessment to address cultural and communication barriers affecting nursing staff and patients. Nurse burnout, caused by prolonged stress, has worsened due to staffing shortages, documentation burden and increased violence.

Developing Tools to Empower Patient Understanding, Management and Communication of Condition

  • Michael J. Scott, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Jonathan Handler, MD, OSF HealthCare

This project will focus on social determinants of health (SDoH) and consider solutions that empower the patient to more accurately track and communicate their conditions before they reach the reactive state. The approach is to change the way patients engage with their health-related data and provide better tools to convey this information to their care provider.

Harnessing Mobile Technology to Diagnose Migraines in Rural Communities

  • Yelena Nersesyan, MD, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Hrachya Nersesyan, MD, PhD, OSF HealthCare

The goal of this project is to test and improve the MiGRO app that enables providers to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat migraines, resulting in better health outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. The app also streamlines the referral process, allowing providers to quickly refer patients to migraine specialists, reducing medical costs and improving access to care in rural areas.

Improving Cancer Screening in Underserved High-Risk Populations

  • Elizabeth Papautsky, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Lisa Barker, MD, OSF HealthCare

This project seeks to characterize the current barriers to completion of screening recommendations among patients at high risk for breast cancer, then use that data to create and pilot test an “intervention bundle” to optimize rates of breast MRI completion for eligible high-risk patients. With attention to the underserved communities within the OSF service population, this project will contribute to reduced health disparities by reducing barriers to care in the context of timely breast cancer diagnosis.

UI Health Pancreatic Cancer Screening Initiative

  • Paul Grippo, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Jason Bill, MD, OSF HealthCare

The project aims to develop an infrastructure of early community engagement with clinical trials for all types of cancer. The goal is to address the increasing technological development in screening modalities without simultaneously widening the gap in morbidity rates of cancer within underserved communities. With this health care protocol in place, the team hopes to increase accessibility of clinical trials of methods that are showing promising results in pancreatic cancer detection.