Project Sponsor(s): Heidi Russell, MD, PhD
Project Title: Burden of Medical Care in Complex Childhood Illness
Project Description: Dr. Russell is working on several projects related to the burden of medical care in complex childhood illnesses. The student selected to work on this research team may participate in helping with one or several of these projects depending on need and timing.
One project involves studying the effects of cooperative group recommendations for childhood cancer treatment which have resulted in extremely long hospitalizations for children and their families. We are currently examining the impact of these recommendations on overall hospital use (number of days in the hospital, delays in admissions for other patients). However, the direct financial, psychosocial and emotional impact on the families involved in these prolonged admissions is poorly understood and will be a component of future research directions. A student could assist the research team with various aspects of interviews with families, tracking financial diaries.
A second project involves studying the connection between medical care, schools, and chronic school absenteeism. Poor academic and economic achievement is a known long-term consequence of chronic illness. Recent research performed at Texas Children’s Hospital identified challenges patients are having attending school, and chronic illness is reported by schools as one of the primary reasons for high absentee rates. We would like to explore how our medical system and educational systems intersect around children with complex chronic illnesses. A student may be asked to assist in various related research tasks to include compiling school district policies, data collection and analysis of hospital/school interactions, and attending research meetings.
Institution and Location: Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, Texas Children’s Hospital
Eligibility for international students?: Yes
Expectations of student:
- The student must devote 10 hours per week to the project (consistent with a 3-credit course) and will develop a timeline of activities in collaboration with supervisor(s). The student will meet at least monthly with the faculty supervisor(s) to evaluate progress.
Prerequisite training: Students with the following interests/experience might consider this project, although anyone interested in health care systems would be a reasonable ﬁt: social science majors (including sociology or anthropology), policy, or communication. Students should be enthusiastic, organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, adaptable, punctual, professional, willing to be flexible and adaptable (some research tasks are more fun than others, and this project involves a mix of research streams), and have excellent writing skills.
Knowledge and skills student can expect to gain: Insight into how research teams function, how research ideas are generated and executed, how data is collected and analyzed, and the translation of that analysis into knowledge or action. The student will also have the opportunity to gain experience in a complex health care system.