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University of Iowa News Release

 

June 13, 2007

Obermann Grants To Help Children And Family Research Projects

Two grants from the University of Iowa's Obermann Center for Advanced Studies have been awarded to three UI professors for studies involving children and families.

One of the two studies, led by Ann Marie McCarthy, professor in the College of Nursing, and W. Nick Street, associate professor in the Tippie College of Business, will complete a Web-based application that health care professionals can use to help children cope with painful medical testing and treatment procedures.

The other study, led by Janet Williams, Kelting Professor of Nursing in the College of Nursing, focuses on minor children who care for family members with chronic disease and the effects this role has on the caregiver.

Funding for the two projects comes from a Center for Advanced Studies Spelman Rockefeller (CASSPR) grant from the Obermann Center. The grants provide up to $9,000 and are supported by the UI Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund and the UI Office of the Vice President for Research.

About 4.4 million children in the United States require medical procedures that provoke pain and distress, according to McCarthy and Street. They note that without adequate pain control, children who experience such pain repeatedly can suffer immediate and long-term negative pathological conditions, or sequelae.

To counter this, McCarthy and Street have developed the Computerized Predictive Model for Distraction, a data-driven Web-based application to predict child risk for distress in response to painful procedure, identify appropriate interventions, and provide individualized educational material. The CASSPR grant will allow them to make the program operational and pilot test the application.

According to Williams's findings, about 5 percent of U.S. households have one or more children under the age of 18 caring for a family member with dementia or chronic disease. The problems faced by these youths are not well understood, however.

Williams first examined the issue in 2001 with a National Institutes for Health grant. Her CASSPR grant will allow her to continue her study, "Teen Caregivers for Family Members with Dementia and Chronic Disease," with particular focus on families where adults have dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. She aims to identify care-giving responsibilities and measure the health and well being of the children providing the care. She will also develop strategies for recruiting care-giving teens through Huntington disease and dementia organizations for focus groups.

Many CASSPR grants are intended to support the early stages of research projects so that researchers can gather enough data to be competitive when seeking funds from external granting agencies. Since its inception the CASSPR program has resulted in numerous scholarly publications and almost $18 million in external funding.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is dedicated to scholarship and intellectual exchange. Some Obermann Scholars work independently, stimulated by uninterrupted blocks of time and by informal conversation. Others work in close collaboration. Obermann Scholars have published numerous scholarly books and articles and have been awarded many external research grants and fellowships for projects begun at the center.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer New, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Jennifer-new@uiowa.edu.