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Three seed grants inaugurate aging-in-place research at Smart Apartment

Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth professors Joanne Hickey, PhD, RN, and Constance Johnson, PhD, RN, demonstrate robotic monitoring technology in the Smart Apartment.
Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth professors Joanne Hickey, PhD, RN, and Constance Johnson, PhD, RN, demonstrate robotic monitoring technology in the Smart Apartment.
Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth professors Joanne Hickey, PhD, RN, and Constance Johnson, PhD, RN, demonstrate robotic monitoring technology in the Smart Apartment. (Photo courtesy Cizik School of Nursing.)

(May 19, 2020) HOUSTON - Researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Rice University are initiating research in the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth’s Smart Apartment using seed grants to study technological tools to help older people live independently. 

The first three Internet of Things and Aging in Place Seed Grants were awarded to interdisciplinary teams from multiple institutions who will work together to test ideas, gather critical information, and lay the groundwork for larger grant applications in the future. 

The Smart Apartment, where they will conduct their preliminary research, is a living laboratory equipped with sensors, monitors, robots and other devices that researchers will use to identify and pilot technologies that can help monitor self-management of chronic diseases and detect health and behavior changes in aging and disabled adults. 

“We are pleased to announce the recipients of our first seed grants,” said Constance Johnson, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN, associate dean and chair of the research department at the Cizik School of Nursing. “Improving lives of seniors who want to stay in their own homes is of critical importance as our populations age, and the current pandemic makes the need for technological support and remote monitoring capabilities all the more apparent.” 

Seed Grants 

Facial and Body Motion Technology to Detect Psychosocial Distress in Stroke Survivors and Informal Caregivers Living at Home 

This pilot study will recruit stroke survivors and their informal caregivers to help test technologies in the simulated home environment to look for signs of psychosocial distress, which can contribute to poor outcomes. The grant is funded by Johnson in her role as the Maria C. and Christopher J. Pappas Family Distinguished Chair in Nursing. Cizik School of Nursing Associate Professor Jennifer E. S. Beauchamp, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Principal Investigator. The Co-Principal Investigator is UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) Assistant Professor Shayan Shams, PhD.

The Co-Investigators are:

  • UTHealth SBMI – Associate Professor Xiaoqian Jian, PhD
  • UTHealth McGovern Medical School: Clinical Assistant Professor Jennifer Hughes, PhD; Professor and Frank M. Yatsu, MD, Chair in Neurology Sean Savitz, MD; and Associate Professor Anjail Sharrief, MD, MPH
  • Rice University School of Social Sciences – Christopher Fagundes, PhD

An AI-powered chatbot for supporting the medication information needs of older adults

Researchers aim to develop a voice-activated artificial intelligence “robot” that could be integrated into smart speakers (like Alexa, Siri or Google Home) and/or other devices to answer medication-related questions. The grant is funded by Johnson in her role as the Maria C. and Christopher J. Pappas Family Distinguished Chair in Nursing. Assistant Professor Kirk Roberts, PhD, MS, UTHealth SBMI, is the Principal Investigator.

The Co-Investigators are:

  • UTHealth SBMI – Assistant Professor Muhammad Amith
  • Cizik School of Nursing – Associate Professor Mary Ross, DrPH, MSN, RN, GCNS-BC; and Assistant Professor Mandi Lyons, DNP, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC

 

Aging in Place with Cognitive Impairment: Toward User-Centered Assistive Technologies  

Rice University Department of Psychological Sciences

This study will identify and assess the needs, availability and usefulness of assistive technologies among white, Hispanic and African American patients with mild cognitive impairment to moderate dementia. It is funded by the Rice University ENRICH Program. Marcia O’Malley, PhD, faculty director of the ENRICH program and a professor of mechanical engineering at Rice, co-chaired the Aging in Place event at the Smart Apartment early this year. The principal investigator is Patricia R. DeLucia, PhD, in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice. The Co-Principal Investigator is Cizik School of Nursing Assistant Professor Sabrina Pickens, PhD, MSN, GNP-BC, ANP-BC.

The Co-Investigators are:

  • Cizik School of Nursing – Assistant Professor Barbara Hekel, PhD, MS, MPH, RN
  • Rice University – Associate Professor Philip Kortum, PhD, Assistant Professor Stephanie Leal, PhD, and Professor Fred Oswald, PhD

by Sherri Deatherage Green


In this story


Jennifer E Sanner Beauchamp, PhD, RN, FAAN

Constance M Johnson, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN

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