Three Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Projects Receive Seed Funding

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Interdisciplinary faculty teams from business and health sciences have received funding for their joint research projects.

By Ed Brennen

Three interdisciplinary faculty research projects have been selected to receive mini-grants as part of a new collaborative initiative between the Manning School of Business and the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences.

Funded jointly by Manning School Dean Sandy Richtermeyer and Zuckerberg College Dean Shortie McKinney, the initiative will award $4,000 in seed grant funding to each of the selected projects. The objective of the initiative, which was introduced last semester, is to foster new collaborations between faculty from business and health sciences to perform innovative studies in new areas. 

The first three projects to receive funding are:

  • A Holistic Data Analytic Approach to Determine Impacts of the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act (CARE) on Reducing Readmission and Mortality Rates among Older Adults. This year, Massachusetts joined 39 states with CARE Act laws. This study will examine the 30-day hospital readmission rates before and after the act was implemented in other states. The objective is to evaluate the impact of this newly enacted policy on hospital readmissions of various causes of diseases, on mortality rates and readmission of patients in states with the CARE Act. The project team includes, from the Manning School: Asil Oztekin (Assoc. Prof. Operations & Information Systems), Yi Yang (Assoc. Prof. Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation) and Li Sun (Assoc. Prof. MEI); from the Zuckerberg College: Seung Eun Lee (Asst. Prof. Nursing); and from UMass Amherst: Ning Zhang (Asst. Prof. Health Policy Management).
  • The CARE Act: Processes Affecting the Community/Caregiver Perspective of Caring for Older Adults. This project will analyze the processes used by hospitals, home health organizations and community and state agencies to deliver and support the transitional care needed for older adults. Using healthcare computer simulation software, the study will replicate the current processes and options for future improvements. The study can investigate how changes to existing hospital policy and processes benefit or diminish stakeholder outcomes including internal (e.g. administration costs, nurse productivity and stress) and external (e.g. caregiver and patient well-being) outcomes. The project team includes, from the Manning School: Karoline Evans (Asst. Prof. Management), Nichalin Summerfield (Asst. Prof. OIS), Ann Kronrod (Asst. Prof. MEI) and Brian Lee (Asst. Prof. OIS); and from the Zuckerberg College: Margaret Knight (Assoc. Prof. Solomont School of Nursing) and Lisa Abdallah (Prof. Nursing).
  • Using a Pun to Make Healthy Life Fun: Exploring the Use of Figurative Language in Encouraging Healthier Behavior. People often avoid healthy choices and procrastinate health-related activities, such as exercising or maintaining a balanced diet, because they are not perceived as enjoyable. This study will address these challenges through the use of figurative language in health communication. Figurative language has been shown to signal fun and to induce a positive mood. Therefore, the use of figurative language may help represent health behavior as fun in an implicit way, thus modifying long-term perceptions of healthy life choices. The project team includes, from the Manning School: Ann Kronrod (Asst. Prof. MEI); and from the Zuckerberg College: Herpreet Thind (Asst. Prof. Public Health) and Kelsey Mangano (Asst. Prof. Nutritional Sciences). 

“Congratulations to those receiving funding,” Richtermeyer said.  “We are enthusiastic about the potential of all the ideas to bring about meaningful research collaborations between the Manning School of Business and the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, and we look forward to hearing the updates as this scholarship progresses.”

“We would like to thank everyone who put together such interesting proposals,” McKinney added, “and we hope these are just the beginning of strong collaborations between our two colleges.”

The grant submission and review process was coordinated by Manning School Assoc. Dean Jennifer Percival and Zuckerberg College Assoc. Dean Deirdra Murphy.