Current Projects

Community Health Advocacy Awards Grants for Spring 2022

Nine research projects are sharing more than $650,000 in funding through the Community Health Advocacy program to generate solutions focused on the following areas:

  • Exploring prototypes for the transformation of care and community-based initiatives that address social determinants of health
  • Improving outcomes and reducing health care disparities
  • Increasing access to care and reducing barriers to care for individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds   

The CHA program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

The funding supports research involving clinicians, engineers and social scientists to rapidly develop technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery. A requirement of the grant applications was for solutions that could be deployed quickly, within four to six weeks.

Spring 2022 Project Awards

Exploring Opportunities to Design and Implement Interventions to Increase Health Literacy in the African American, Medicaid Population

  • Julie Traenkenschuh, Director Performance Improvement, OSF HealthCare
  • Brenikki Floyd, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Kevin Garcia, University of Illinois Chicago

The focus of this proposed project is to address the role of innovative health literacy (HL) interventions in health care systems settings to reduce health inequities among minority populations.

To achieve our goal, formative research will be conducted to better understand the experiences of patients and health care providers involved in HL interventions and their perceptions of effectiveness. Using this information, we aim to recommend evidence-based practices toward the development of innovative HL intervention design strategies
for health care system settings.

Telehealth to address health care disparities

  • Linda Chang, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Dawn Mosher, Assistant Professor, OSF HealthCare

  • Ananya Gangopadhyaya, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Radhika Sreedhar, MD, MS, FACPMS, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Yovia Xu, PhD, Health Disparity Course Director University of Illinois Chicago

  • Paul Chastain II, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Associate Director of Simulation Events and Development, University of Illinois Chicago

We propose an innovative interprofessional collaborative project to train a new generation of students to have expertise in telehealth care. Few studies have examined education and training programs to prepare clinicians for the broader use of telehealth practices.

We propose a three-phase community-based curriculum development and pilot testing project that enhances multi-disciplinary clinicians' telehealth competency in addressing urban health disparities to address this gap.

Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for Cardio-Oncology

  • Jacob Krive, PhD, MS, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Chetan Bhardwaj, MD, OSF HealthCare
  • Karl Kochendorfer, MD, Chief Health Information Officer, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Associate Professor of Clinical Family & Community Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Ravishankar Iyer, PhD, George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering, University of Illinois
  • Christopher Gans, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, Director of Cardio-Oncology Program, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Natalie Parde, PhD, Assistant Professor, Co-Director of the Natural Language Processing Laboratory, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Marianna Krive, DO, General Cardiologist, Director of Cardio-Oncology for Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Condell Medical Center, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Condell Medical Center
  • Sandeep Kataria, MBA, UI Cancer Center, Director of Oncology Bioinformatics, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Roopa Foulger, BS, VP of Digital and Innovation Development, OSF HealthCare
  • Arash Jalali, PhD, UI Cancer Center, IT & Bioinformatics Manager

Recent improvements in oncology are extending the lives of cancer patients but are also having an unforeseen impact on cardiovascular health. Cardio-oncology is a new medical subspecialty with a growing record of research and treatment of cardiotoxicities caused by oncology treatments.

We propose artificial intelligence (AI) based solution that mines clinical data to identify oncology patients who are eligible for referral to cardio-oncologists and predict their risk for cardiovascular complications, with future research implications enabling discovery of the new cardiotoxicities using real world evidence.

Does providing free education on Medicare benefits improve health outcomes in working class communities?

  • Sarah Donohue, PhD, Director, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria
  • Nathan Pritzker, MBA, Strategic Program Manager, OSF HealthCare
  • Ben Shaw, PhD, MPH, Division Director in Community Health Sciences at UIC, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Uchechi Mitchell, School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago

2021 focus groups found that one of the main reasons Black/African American and Hispanic/LatinX populations in Peoria’s most vulnerable zip codes do not seek regular medical care is a fear of a large medical bill and not understanding what insurance may or may not cover.

It is likely that in a similar populations of Black/African American individuals living on the South Side of Chicago, the same fears and barriers are present. By empowering individuals ages 65 and older with the knowledge of what Medicare can cover, this project will help to promote the use of primary care, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.

Using a community-based approach to improve health literacy and cancer screening rates in minority populations

  • Sarah Donohue, PhD, Director, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria

  • Scott Barrows, Design Lab Lead, OSF HealthCare

  • Mary E. Stapel, MD, Medical Director, Community Care and Community Clinic, Medical Director, Hospital Outpatient Departments, Assistant Program Director, Internal Medicine-Pediatrics, GRowLocal (Global Rural Local Health Equity) Track Director, OSF HealthCare

  • Stephen B. Brown, MSW, LCSW, Senior Director, Social & Behavioral Health Transformation & Advocacy, Director of Preventive Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Michael G. Browne, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Chicago

The lack of a comprehensive survey tool for specific diseases, as well as the information obtained from pilot focus groups, indicates that an intervention on barriers to screening, including health literacy, is necessary.

In this proposal, we seek to obtain baseline measures on health literacy for cancer screenings and to work on interventions to improve health literacy around these topics. Our target population is Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino individuals living in the South Side of Chicago.

Pediatric Mental Health Model and Application Development in Connection with the School's Information Management System

  • Ugo Buy, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Kyle Beorke, Director Behavioral Health Ambulatory Services, OSF HealthCare
  • Sister M. Pieta Keller, Innovation Engineer, OSF HealthCare
  • Mark Hallenbeck, MS, Lecturer, University of Illinois Chicago

To improve patient care and access to treatment, an adolescent mental health predictive model should be built from the data from the school’s information management system to help minimize disparities and increase access to mental health care. We are proposing the development of an algorithm based on Illinois and national research that correlates student performance changes with mental health indications.

The platform works as a bridge within the school’s information management system to identify, flag, and connect students in need to mental and emotional health resources and further health care within the OSF Ministry. A predictive model within the app would enable teachers, counselors, coaches, and parents to know who and when to focus support.

Creating Human-Centered Decision Support Archetypes for CliniPane: a “Third Paradigm” in Clinical Decision Support

  • Jonathan Handler, MD, Senior Innovation Fellow, OSF HealthCare
  • Kal Pasupathy, PhD, MS, Head and Professor, Biomedical and Health Information Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Elizabeth Lerner Papautsky, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Scott Barrows, Design Lab Lead, OSF HealthCare
  • Spencer McDaniel, UI/UX Engineer, OSF HealthCare
  • Roopa Foulger, BS, VP of Digital and Innovation Development, OSF HealthCare

Due to common EHR limitations, clinical decision support often provides limited benefits and may create detrimental inefficiencies, especially when caring for underserved populations for whom both clinical and social determinants of health must be addressed.

A separate effort seeks to address those limitations by creating an application analogous to a “clinical Heads-Up Display” (aka “CliniPane”) to provide a complementary form of clinical decision support. This proposal aims to design seamless, high-quality, and effective user experiences to support this “third paradigm” of decision support display.

Telerehabilitation Disparities for Patients with Limited Proficiency

  • Mansha Mirza, PhD, MS, Associate Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Courtney Pilat, Director Digital Outpatient and Community Care, OSF HealthCare

This study will investigate disparities in outpatient telerehabilitation delivery for patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) as well as identify barriers to and facilitators of equitable telerehabilitation for this population. Nearly 26 million individuals in the US have LEP. This group is particularly vulnerable to telehealth challenges.

This project advances CHA’s goal of addressing health care challenges in urban settings and reducing barriers to care for individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

A text messaging based educational intervention aimed at improving outcomes in myasthenia gravis

  • Pritikanta Paul, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Jorge Kattah, MD, OSF HealthCare

  • Dr. Biswajit Maharathi, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago

  • Dr. Dilip Pandey, MD, PhD, FAHA, University of Illinois Chicago

Many patients in medically underserved communities are unable to keep up due to lack of disease education and inadequate provider access. We aim to address this immediate need of improving health care access using technology with the hypothesis that text based educational messaging improves disease literacy and treatment adherence leading to better outcomes.

Through this pilot project we propose to build a bilingual text message-based intervention to systematically deliver disease specific information and reminders to MG patients to improve treatment adherence.


Fall 2021 Project Awards

OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center Community Engagement Project

  • Susan Stirling, Adjunct Associate Professor, Design Research, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Earl Power-Murphy, Coordinator Innovation-Education Specialist, OSF HealthCare

Historically hospitals have had challenges engaging with the communities they serve. Focusing on community engagement has become important, as we face complex public health challenges that stretch and test the capacity and resilience of health systems and the populations they serve. “Authentic engagement” involves a process where hospital leaders do less leading and more listening in order to build health care offerings that better fit the community.

The goal of our project is to build on the notion of “authentic engagement” and showcase findings from our year-long investigation into authentic community engagement. We will create an interactive exhibit, and a roadmap, to help facilitate the process of authentic community engagement. Our proposed solution will address this historic gap between hospitals and their communities by including all stakeholders (i.e., hospital leaders, clinicians, and staff, as well as community leaders and residents). Our solution will provide a framework for critical conversations and action steps for all invested. The result will be meaningful, long-lasting partnerships that lead to improved health outcomes for the community.

Leveraging Community Resources to Screen for Social and Structural Determinants of Health to Promote Coordinated Community Interventions

  • Mark Hallenbeck, OSF HealthCare Lab Project Lead, UIC Innovation Center
  • Earl Power-Murphy, Coordinator Innovation-Education Specialist, OSF HealthCare
  • Emina Hadzic, Graduate Assistant, University of Illinois Chicago
  • MiKealy Thomas, Research Assistant, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Maddie Demo, Research Assistant, University of Illinois Chicago

Current methods of determining SDoH, particularly in underserved low-income areas are inadequate. Before we can address SDoH, we need to be able to properly identify patients who have these barriers. Hence, screening becomes very important. Although there are well-established medical screening programs such as those for breast and colon cancer, there is no universal screening for SDoH. We are missing a significant portion of the population that does not interact directly with the health care systems. The parts of the population that we are missing are often the ones that are at highest risk, making it vital to understand their needs. We see this as the primary opportunity for the innovation we propose.

Exploring Alternative Care Models for Primary Care, Focused on ACSC in Low-Income, Southside Chicago Communities

  • Michael Scott, PhD, Innovation Education Director, UIC Innovation Center
  • Earl Power-Murphy, Coordinator Innovation-Education Specialist, OSF HealthCare
  • Marco Susani, Clinical Professor, Industrial Design, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Samantha Melchori, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Illinois Chicago, Global Operations Manager, Caterpillar Mining
  • Katie Carow, Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Kyle Formella, Director Medical Visualization, OSF HealthCare

Current methods of delivering primary care, particularly in underserved low-income areas, lead to high rates of Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSC). These conditions represent a significant contributor to increasing hospital expenditures and a major load on health care systems. These diseases tend to lead to many avoidable hospitalizations of those suffered from chronic diseases that could be avoided by better management. Additionally, it prevents individuals from engaging with their health care system in a positive, proactive way as opposed to negative and reactive.

Traditional medical approaches address symptoms of ACSC but do not address the root societal causes. Health care must shift to engage in addressing these root causes to decrease the burden on the system, while improving outcomes overall with sustainable business models. After performing a review of existing solutions, trends and emerging technologies, this project will develop new ways to look at primary care that can better engage with this underserved audience.

IPE Patient Discharge Curriculum

  • Dawn Mosher, DNP, RN, CHSE, OSF HealthCare
  • Radhika Sreedhar, MD, MS, FACPMS, UIC College of Medicine
  • Linda Chang, PharmD, MCPS, CDE, MPH, Associate Professor, University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford
  • Martin MacDowell, Research Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Paul Chastain, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Associate Director of Simulation Events and DevelopmentUniversity of Illinois College of Medicine

GAP: Patients inability for self-management and patient lack of awareness of whom to contact after discharge from the hospital.

Solution: Standardized simulation of patient discharge will allow team members to work collaboratively, improve engagement with the simulated patient, address the social determinants of health and provide education at the time of discharge which in the long term can reduce readmissions. The interprofessional teams will consist of medical students, pharmacy students and nursing students.

Methods to verify that aims are met: Checklists created by multidisciplinary teams will be used to assess student’s level of competency and debrief sessions will be used to help all students meet the outcomes. Knowledge and attitudes will be assessed using pre and post curriculum surveys. Skills will be assessed during the simulation encounter.

Project ACTT: Autism Caregiver Telehealth Training

  • Emily Gregori, Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Amanda Estes, Director Portfolio Services, OSF HealthCare
  • Holly Swearingian, MSN, PCNS-BC, Manager Clinical Opterations, Autism Collective

Adolescents and adults with ASD display deficits in academics, communication, functional skills, social behavior, and problematic behaviors that require intensive and individualized assessment and intervention to remediate. However, there is a critical shortage of high-quality intervention services for adolescents and adults with ASD. Telehealth is a method for increasing access to essential applied behavioral health services using distance technology. While research has shown that telehealth is an effective method for improving outcomes for young children with autism, there are no telehealth programs that provide the coordinated and comprehensive care needed by the adolescent and adult population. The proposed program will develop an innovative telehealth model that provides coordinated and comprehensive applied behavioral assessment and intervention to adolescents and adults with autism. The program will be developed using an iterative mixed-methods approach that integrates critical aspects of applied behavioral assessment and intervention with comprehensive assessment. The project will also test the efficacy of the program through an experimental single-case study. Capitalizing on expertise from staff across organizations, the proposed project will result in a validated approach for providing services to adolescents and adults with ASD and their caregivers with quantitative and qualitative data on the program's efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability.

Social Determinants of Health Care Utilization: A Big Data Predictive Modeling Approach

  • Sage Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Policy and Administration
  • Sarah Stewart de Ramirez, MD, MPH, MSc, Associate Dean for Population Health Equity Innovation, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria
  • Arash Jalali, PhD Student, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Karl Kochendorfer, MD, FAAFP, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Chief Health Information Officer, UI Hospital and Clinics

Neighborhood social, economic, and built environmental factors contribute to individual residents’ health outcomes. Health inequities in access to care and health outcomes, particularly among racial/ethnic minority communities, persist. Minority communities have great social and economic needs, while experiencing multiple health concerns. The limited success in reducing health disparities is partly due to the focus on individual behaviors, ignoring the role of social and structural factors in producing health inequities.

Institutions and organizations bridge network ties and help link cross-class and cross-racial relationships. Through community organizations, residents in resource-poor communities can be linked to wider networks of services and resources external to their community, which then increases residents’ opportunities to gain access to social capital that these individuals would have not possessed. However, hospital catchment areas are often dependent on where patients are coming from, rather than what community needs are. The premise of this study is that coordinated and organized plans for all Chicago hospital’s CHNAs will help develop collaborative plans for equitable hospital coverage. This proposed study aims to generate data necessary to inform proactive plans to address social determinants of health needs of communities.

Bridging the Health Care Gap for the Homeless through Telemedicine

  • Faria Munir, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Scott Barrows, Design Lab Lead, OSF HealthCare
  • Mary Stapel, MD, Physician, OSF HealthCare

By implementing telemedicine tablet kiosks in Chicago homeless shelters, there will be an increase in access to health care in this population measured by tablet kiosk use within 6 months and 1 year of project implementation. The aim of the project is to improve health by addressing social determinants of health; this will be achieved by providing quality health care access in a consistent, attainable location. Secondary outcomes will include the reduction of emergency department and urgent care services utilized by the study population and satisfaction of services provided by surveying the study population.

Does Providing Free Transportation To Primary Care Visits Improve Outcomes? A Pilot Program in Chicago's Washington Heights Neighborhood

  • Sarah Donohue, PhD, Director, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria
  • Nathan Pritzker, MBA, Strategic Program Manager, OSF HealthCare
  • Benjamin Shaw, PhD, MPH, Director of Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Uchechi Mitchell, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Professor, Community Health Services, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Naoko Muramatsu, PhD, Professor, Community Health Services, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Betsy Cliff, PhD, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Jennifer Kwok, PhD, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Emily Stiehl, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration, University of Illinois Chicago

OSF HealthCare has begun a journey of health care innovation in the south side of Chicago where many different socioeconomic factors play a key part in engagement with health care. This population is largely older, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and primary care is underutilized while a nearby ED is over-utilized. OSF HealthCare has a vested interest in achieving better health outcomes for the populations in the Washington Heights area and is investing in care access within this neighborhood. In an effort to encourage traffic to the primary care office OSF HealthCare would like study the impact on offering free transportation to the primary care office.

The focus of this proposal is to study the impact of increasing access to primary and preventative care, by eliminating the barrier of transportation. Specifically, the primary objective of this proposal is to determine if free transport to and from the medical office site drives enough of a change in behavior to impact key metrics including risk-based arrangements, health outcomes, and follow-up visits. Effectively scaled, the objective of this program would be to create savings and new revenue for the organization. This will do done by establishing an effective baseline of behavior, and then quantifying a change in that behavior throughout the duration of the pilot. This project will establish metrics for health outcomes, ED/PCP utilization, and will examine the feasibility and sustainability of such a program.