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SPH Names Inaugural Recipients of Seed Grant Competition

Racism, Mental Health Among Awardees’ Research Topics

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First officer is pushing on thrust levers to speed up aircraft and takeoff.
Studies show multitasking impairs on-the-job cognitive-motor performance of operators like aircraft pilots. One of the five projects funded by the School of Public Health's new Seed Grant Competition will explore how working together as a team can mitigate this negative effect. Photo: iStock.

The School of Public Health (SPH) recently announced awardees of its first-ever Seed Grant Competition - a funding program totalling $75,000 and designed to support collaborative, multidisciplinary public health research that enriches lives. 

The internal competition among staff and faculty encouraged building new and innovative partnerships, particularly across departments and with faculty from the A. James Clark School of Engineering (ENGR) and the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU). Other partners supporting the program include The Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which hosted a design thinking workshop during the development phase of researchers’ projects.

Early career researchers were strongly encouraged to apply for the awards.

“I am extremely proud of the faculty members who won these awards and their dedication to solving complex local and global challenges,” said Dean Boris Lushniak. “The scope of their projects is a reflection of the importance and reach of our SPH research.”

“This is an exciting research advancement for our school,” added Robin Puett, professor and associate dean for research. “The Seed Grant Competition awards not only support the upward trajectory of early career researchers and novel research that combines public health with arts, humanities and engineering applications but also enable SPH researchers to directly impact the health of communities.”

Lead Researchers: Associate Professor Marie Thoma (FMSC), Associate Professor Mona Mittal (FMSC), Assistant Professor Rebecca Gourevitch (HPAM)

There are major gaps in access to services for perinatal mental health, and creative community-based solutions are needed to expand care. Researchers will develop a community health worker-based perinatal mental health intervention to help enrich the lives of mothers and families.

Lead Researchers: Assistant Research Professor Kirsten Stoebenau (BCH), Associate Professor Mona Mittal (FMSC)

Researchers will examine ways to improve mental health for hospitalized people living with HIV or AIDS in Zambia using literature reviews and data analysis.

Lead Researcher: Assistant Research Professor Sheldon Tai (MIAEH)

Respiratory viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 can transmit via fine aerosols, which can travel deep into the respiratory tract and cause infections in the mucosal epithelial cells. But little is known about the adaptive mucosal immunity found in these deep airways. Researchers will explore this immunity to help close the knowledge gap.

Lead Researcher: Assistant Research Professor Hyuk Oh (KNES)

“Operators,” professionals like aviators and firefighters who know how specific equipment or machines work, commonly practice multitasking while on the job. But many studies show that multitasking impairs cognitive-motor performance and degrades higher mental processes. This study will explore how working together as a team (known as “teaming”) can mitigate the negative effects of multitasking.

Lead Researcher: Lecturer Ronald Mower (KNES)

Researchers will explore emotions involved in interracial encounters and develop strategies to disrupt the irrationalities of negative emotion (fear, hate, anger) that are fused to historical tropes of race. They will specifically look at how physical culture (sport, exercise, recreation, dance, etc.) and varied contexts of human movement are involved in producing interracial encounters and possibilities for collaborative engagement.

  • Categories
  • Research
  • Faculty
  • Departments
  • School of Public Health
  • Department of Family Science
  • Department of Health Policy and Management
  • Department of Behavioral and Community Health
  • Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
  • Department of Kinesiology