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Current Projects - Connected Communities Initiative

Connected Communities Initiative awards grants for Fall 2023

The CCI program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and Illinois State University. Five research projects are sharing more than $360,000 in grant funding for projects focused on clinical and patient education, health care engineering, data science and cybersecurity.

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.

Simulation To Address Rural Telehealth Education Development

  • Ann Willemsen-Dunlap, CRNA, PhD, OSF HealthCare
  • Susie Watkins, PhD, RN, Illinois State University 

Develop and deliver simulation-based education for undergraduate, graduate and health care practitioners (HCPs) on effective telehealth practices for chronic disease diagnosis, treatment, management and self-care planning in rural communities.

Semi-automated tool for healthcare data structure alignment

  • Roopa Foulger, OSF HealthCare
  • Rishi Saripalle, PhD, MS, Illinois State University

Health care organizations tend to use various vendor tools for data collection. This project aims to develop a tool to autonomously suggest data structure alignment. The project also aims to aid developers in translating vendor data to the organization's format and enhance productivity and contribute to organizational objectives.

Developing New Opioid Intervention and Outreach Resources in Rural Illinois

  • Scott Barrows, MA, OSF HealthCare
  • Joanna Willett, MSN, RN, CNE, CEN, Illinois State University

The CDC reports nearly 10% higher drug overdose deaths in rural areas. Illinois witnessed a 2.3% increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2021. Proposed study focuses on rural populations, using Naloxone (Narcan) interventions to address needs.

GAI-Secure: Transforming Cybersecurity Training with Cutting-Edge AI

  • Tom Caldera, MS, OSF HealthCare
  • Dmitry Zhdanov, MBA, Illinois State University

GAI tools like ChatGPT and MidJourney offer transformative potential but raise concerns including job replacement, copyright issues and potential for criminal use. This project proposal focuses on using Generative AI to enhance Cybersecurity Awareness Training. Recommendations for CAT improvement: breaking tasks into smaller, routine activities and gamification.

Pill Passport: optimizing patient education tools through usability testing

  • Rachel Gonzalez, OSF HealthCare
  • Patricia Pence Ed.D, MSN, RN, CNE, Illinois State University

Pill Passport is a hand-held, personalized tool that includes pertinent health care information, a list of medications and what they are for, an easy-to-read chart for help loading pill boxes, pill space for easy identification and an erasable pen to make changes to their medication list.