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Joy Hammel, Emily Kringle and Jessica Kersey awarded a UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science pilot grant

Please congratulate Joy Hammel, Emily Kringle and Jessica Kersey who are investigators on a recently funded CCTS pilot grant. For those who would like to learn more about this very interesting project, see abstract below.

Title: Improving the Health and Social Participation of People with Disabilities from Underrepresented Groups post COVID and in Public Health Emergencies

Investigators: Joy Hammel, Emily Kringle, Jessica Kersey

Collaborators: UIC Department of Occupational Therapy, UIC Department of Medicine, Access Living Center for Independent Living and Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse

Abstract: Social isolation has been shown to negatively affect the physical and mental health of older adults, as much as smoking and obesity, placing it as a major public health issue and focus of health intervention research. Yet, we know little about the impact of social isolation on adults with long term disabilities, nor do we have models of evidence-based interventions to address isolation and increase the health and social participation of this population. We also know little about how COVID-19 has exacerbated social isolation and physical and mental health of people with disabilities. People with disabilities have higher rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and prior to COVID, experienced poorer health and health care access than their non-disabled peers, putting them at even greater risk for long-term COVID consequences. People who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and are living in poverty also experience higher rates of COVID cases and deaths and significant health care access disparities. Yet, we have little research examining how the combination of disability, race, ethnicity and poverty impact health and social participation since COVID, nor the disparities experienced. The purpose of this proposal is to partner with disability community members to examine how COVID has affected social isolation and health, and to design and pilot test an intervention to reduce social isolation and increase the health and social participation of people with disabilities, especially people who identify as BIPOC and who are living in poverty.