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Research Programs

Accessible Leisure Laboratory

The major goal of ongoing rearch by Lisa Mische Lawson, Ph.D., CTRS, is to promote the health of individuals with disability and chronic illness through leisure and physical activity.

This research team investigates factors impeding or facilitating leisure participation and effects of physical activity on health behaviors and body composition. Mische Lawson directs KU Sensory Enhanced Aquatics, a swimming and water safety program for children with autism spectrum disorders. Her research specifically focuses on the effects of water-based physical activity on health outcomes of children with autism.

Graduate students working in this program obtain clinical and research experiences with physical activity measurement, program development and evaluation, one-on-one client services, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. They also acquire significant presentation and writing experience suited for communicating with professional and general audiences.

Educational Methodologies and Community Participation

Dory Sabata, OTD, OTR/L, studies teaching and learning methodology, interprofessional education and practice, and community participation and health of persons with stroke.

She developed year-long service learning opportunities for entry-level occupational therapy students and championed interprofessional education. In addition, she now leads the department to develop and implement innovative educational methodologies.

Sabata's research of educational methodologies and community participation of stroke survivors is intertwined. Students are trained to support stroke survivors to participate in community activities. Research projects investigate both the effectiveness of educational methodologies and participation outcomes.

Person- and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Lab

Research by Frances M. Yang, Ph.D., focuses on the refinement and development of measuring person-centered health outcomes to produce evidence for decisions made for prevention, monitoring, and treatment. An important aspect of this research is measuring changes in outcomes with time and culture, by comparing changes to the population level, in order to identify normal age-related changes, as opposed to changes that signal impairment.

This research lab group is currently examining the measurement and interpretation of change scores for well-being as quality-of-life research for aging older populations living with one or more chronic health conditions,. They are specifically identifying risk factors for top diseases causing negative sequelae in older adults while simultaneously modeling multiple chronic health conditions using Big Data.

By identifying diverse characteristics of patients or persons through the power of large databases, Yang's lab can develop algorithms that are more sensitive and specific to successfully meeting the health goals of each person.

Rehabilitation of Concussion Injuries

Research by Jeff Radel, Ph.D., studies biophysical and social risk factors for concussions and other causes of traumatic brain injury. Of particular interest are the subset of patients who are slow to recover full function after brain injury and those individuals continuing to experience persistent post-concussion symptoms that often limit return to normal activities.

An important focus is the evaluation of factors influencing the trajectory of recovery and the study of social factors influencing participation by parents, students, teachers, and school officials behaviors and activities that risk concussion injury.

Visual Neuroscience Laboratory

By studying animal models of brain development and retinal function, Jeff Radel, Ph.D., is exploring experimental perturbations in the developing brain. His work has examined dietary fatty acids in relation to brain and retina development, and vascular pathology of the retina after perinatal oxygen exposure (a model of retinopathy of maturity in humans).

Last modified: Apr 04, 2020