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ENGOAL Program: Crossing Boundaries and Making Strides

  By Patrick Broadwater
  Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sandhya Seshadri hugs Jean Clark during an ENGOAL class

Halfway through their collaborative two-year program, University of Rochester researchers and community stakeholders are making strides in crossing boundaries and educating older Rochester adults about active participation in projects with geriatrics health researchers.

The ENGOAL program (Engaging Older Adult Learners as Health Researchers), funded by a $250,000 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Award, began June 1, 2017 and pairs researchers from the Warner School of Education and School of Nursing with stakeholders from North East Area Development (NEAD), Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition, the Rochester Housing Authority, and the Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition.

The goal of the program is to instruct older adults to become educated consumers of research and to partner with geriatrics researchers in developing community relevant research questions. The program also aims to develop participants’ health literacy, enabling them to advocate for themselves and members of their communities, as well as increase older adults’ engagement in their health care and foster their communication with health professionals.

Eleven older adults who are members of the first cohort of participants completed six months of in-class education and training on research methods and are currently engaging in apprenticeships with researchers at the University of Rochester and community partners in programs for community members. As part of their initial education, these participants also learned and actively participated in two important aspects of scientific research: protecting human subjects and research dissemination.

Human Subject Protection:

ENGOAL participants came to the Warner School over two Saturdays during the winter for their classes. They learned about the ethics of research and how to protect human subjects when conducting research. Following discussions on ethical research, they took the test from CITI to receive certification for protection of human subjects in minimal risk research studies.

Research Dissemination:

In March, ENGOAL participants attended the UNYTE Scientific Session on “Promoting Diverse Representation in Translational Research” at the School of Nursing. The purpose of the UNYTE Scientific Session is to bring together researchers, community partners, clinical leaders, and data scientists from across UNYTE institutions to spark interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations that promote diverse representation in translational research.

The ENGOAL team presented both at the panel presentation and at a break-out session. Prior to the conference, all participants worked with the ENGOAL leadership team to prepare for the conference. As part of the class homework, all participants were asked to reflect on specific aspects of their experience and these reflections provided a framework for the break-out session.

Silvia Sörensen, PhD, associate professor of counseling and human development at Warner, is the principal investigator on the PCORI grant. Other members of the study’s leadership team include: Joyce Duckles, PhD, associate professor of counseling and human development at Warner; Craig R. Sellers, PhD, MS, RN, AGPCNP-BC, GNP-BC, FAANP, professor of clinical nursing and medicine/ division of geriatrics and aging, and Sandhya Seshadri, PhD, MA, MS, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of clinical nursing, representing the School of Nursing and project director for the program; Rev. Phyllis Jackson, BS, RN, manager, Community Wellness Initiatives, Common Ground Health; Doreen Young, Beechwood Greenhouse Collaborative; and George Moses, executive director, North East Area Development and chair, Rochester Housing Authority.

Categories: Community, Research

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