Faculty of the department are involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research projects. Descriptions include links to faculty contact information.
Dr. Craig Slatin is the principal investigator of the PHASE in Healthcare research project, a six-year study funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The PHASE project sought to understand health disparities among healthcare workers, studying, among other aspects, how healthcare system restructuring has shaped facility decision-making about employee health and safety and diversity support. Analysis is nearly complete and multiple publications have resulted from the project. Departmental collaborators on this multidisciplinary project included Dr. Michael O'Sullivan, Dr. Patrick Scollin, Dr. Nicole Champagne, and Dr. Eduardo Siqueira.
Dr. Joel Tickner has led the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production's Chemicals Policy Initiative since 2001. The Initiative's objectives are to significantly advance policy dialogue on reforming chemicals policy in the United States; assist in the development of sustainable chemicals management outside the US; encourage the development and use of safer alternatives to toxic chemicals; and identify tools and appropriate ways of assisting green chemistry innovation and safer supply chain management of chemicals. Through this multi-faceted effort, Dr. Tickner's research group has become the leading academic resource in the U.S. on sustainable chemicals policy and has issued numerous detailed policy reports; provided technical support to public health coalitions in numerous states advancing safer chemicals policies; conducted training on sustainable chemicals policy and European chemicals regulation reforms; and has established a new network of companies dedicated to advancing safer chemicals and products, the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council. The initiative has played a critical role in advancing U.S. discussion on the problems of unsustainable chemicals management and the options and opportunities for reforms towards safer chemicals and products. For more information please visit: www.chemicalspolicy.org and www.greenchemistryandcommerce.org
Health Communications Initiatives
Dr. Leland Ackerson is working on several related project related to communication and health. On one such project titled “Feasibility and effectiveness of a social networking site on increasing physical activity in adults”, he is collaborating with Dr. Cynthia Ferrara in the Physical Therapy Department. The project aims to deliver an intervention through face-to-face interaction and social media designed to encourage at-risk individuals to engage in exercise. The project has completed a series of initial qualitative data collection to determine what types of knowledge and support would be the most effective in encouraging positive physical activity outcomes. The program creation and implementation phases will be followed by a multi-faceted program evaluation that will include quantitative and qualitative aspects.
Dr. Leland Ackerson is also collecting pilot data regarding media use and health-related policies. The premise of these studies is that implementing health-related policies, such as mandating seat-belt regulations and taxing cigarettes, allows public health workers to prevent numerous premature deaths and illnesses. By determining the mass and electronic media channels and messages that are most effective for this purpose, community health workers can select the most efficient methods for educating the public about such measures.
Medicare Lifestyle Modification Demonstration
Dr. A. James Lee has been working for some time with Brandeis University to evaluate the Medicare Lifestyle Modification Demonstration. The demonstration, which began in late 1999 and ended in early 2007, temporarily funded two enhanced lifestyle modification programs for cardiac patients: The Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, and the Benson-Henry Mind/Body Medical Institute's Cardiac Wellness Program directed by Dr. Herbert Benson. Both programs involved a 12-month program of multifactor intervention for patients with advanced, but stable coronary heart disease. Dr. Lee is currently working to build research partnerships with Tewksbury State Hospital and Lowell Community Health Center, and has written federal grant proposals with each—respectively, "Effects of an Evidence-Based Nursing Protocol on Lower Respiratory Infections," and "Establishment of a Community-Clinical Partnership for Primary Prevention of Type-2 Diabetes in Persons at High Risk."
Personal Digital Devices (PDDS) at the Point-of-Care
Dr. Patrick Scollin currently conducts research on the use of Personal Digital Devices (PDDs) at the point-of-care. Evaluation of the role of PDDs such as, Personal Digital Assistants, Ultra Mobile Personal Computers, and Tablet Computers containing medical and nursing databases as a source of up-to-date information to be used at the bedside. Research projects have included: Evaluating Students' attitudes to using PDAs in Nursing Clinicals at two schools, Bridging the gap between the PDA and Tablet in Healthcare: The Ultra Mobile Portable Computer at the bedside, and Tablets at the Bedside: Accuracy Testing of Secure Wireless-Based Data Entry in a Nursing Education Laboratory.
Health Promotion and Occupational Health and Safety
Dr. Nicole Champagne is the Principal Investigator of a project being done through the Center for the Promotion of Health of the New England Workforce (CPH-NEW). The Center is under the direction of Laura Punnett from the Department of Work Environment and is a collaboration of UMass Lowell and the University of Connecticut. The Education, Translation, Communication and Dissemination Project has a public sector focus. Building on statewide Heart and Stroke Partnership plans developed by the Departments of Health in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Center will develop curriculum modules and assist in training sessions on 1) the definition and efficacy of health promotion-occupational health and safety integration, and 2) the relationship between work-related stress and the development of heart disease and stroke. In addition, the Partnership will collaborate with the state departments of public health to identify areas of public health activity that would benefit from the inclusion of an occupational health and safety perspective.
UMass Lowell Student Health Surveys
Dr. Beverly Volicer received funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and UMass Lowell to survey health behaviors and health status of UMass Lowell students as part of the annual National College Health Assessment conducted by the American College Health Association. Collaborators in this research included Nancy Quattrocchi, Alexander Pavoll, and Robert Nicolosi. Findings for UMass Lowell students were found to be remarkably similar to those reported by students at other campuses. Results are being used in courses, in grant applications, for education projects conducted through the Student Health Services as service learning projects for Community Health Education students, for evaluation of the Counseling Service, and for campus Health Fairs.
Dr. Slatin, along with Dr Siqueira and Dr. Beth Rosenberg of the Tufts MedicalSchool, have recently become the editorial team of New Solutions, A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. This quarterly journal distributed by Baywood Publishing, began in 1990 as a joint project between the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union and Professor Charles Levenstein at UMass Lowell. Dr. Levenstein now is Editor Emeritus. Information about the journal is available at www.newsolutionsjournal.com
Center for Health Promotion and Research
Dr. Craig Slatin and Dr. Barbara Mawn (Department of Nursing) co-direct the Center for Public Health Research and Health Promotion, one of the five research centers in the School of Health and Environment.
Dr. Craig Slatin is the principal investigator of The New England Consortium (TNEC), a hazardous waste worker/emergency responder health and safety training program funded though the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Worker Education and Training Program. TNEC is a partnership with five coalitions for occupational safety and health (COSH groups) in New England. Dr. Slatin, along with Dr. Beverly Volicer and Dr. Cora Roelofs (UML Dept. of Work Environment), is conducting evaluation research to better understand why firms send their employees for health and safety training and how and if they use the training in their firms.
Dr. Joel Tickner is a Program Director for the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, researches and promotes more sustainable forms of production and consumption. The Lowell Center is one of the world's leading academic centers in research, training, and outreach on safer chemicals and products; sustainable hospitals, cleaner production, and environmental health research. The Lowell Center's sister institute, the Toxic Use Production Institute (TURI), is an international leader in assisting firms in reducing their reliance on toxic substances. In collaboration with the Department of Community Health and Sustainability and the Department of Work Environment, the Lowell Center's faculty and research staff have a range of expertise from public policy, to industrial hygiene, chemistry, and epidemiology.