Charles J. Strosacker Research Fellowship Awarded to Adrian Castillio, Kathryn Genoa and Junwen Hu.
East Lansing, Michigan, March 4, 2023 — The Health & Risk Communication Center Strosacker Research Fellowship provides funding intended to support opportunities for graduate students to engage in hands-on research, apply theoretical constructs to real world health practices, and share results and impacts from funded projects with community partners. All the projects focus on issues that are important to people in Michigan. This year’s recipients include Ph.D. students Adrián Castillo, Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders, Kathryn Genoa, Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders, and Junwen Hu, Department of Communication.
Castillo’s research focuses on Michigan’s elderly population that is growing year after year. Some of the health and communication challenges facing the elderly population, as well as their social environment, are related to swallowing and voice disorders. Castillo’s research aims to examine the perceptions and knowledge of speech-language pathologists in jointly addressing voice and swallowing problems in older adults in the long term, this information will be valuable for creating more efficient rehabilitation techniques for improving the quality of life related to communication and feeding in Michigan’s seniors and decreasing its associated health burdens. Adrian’s advisors on this project are Dr. Eric J. Hunter and Dr. Thea Knowles.
Genoa-Obradovich’s project will utilize virtual reality (VR) as a means of distraction in hopes of reducing perceived pain during dysphagia (swallowing) therapy for patients undergoing radiation treatments for head and neck cancer. Specifically, she is looking to see if VR based distraction will increase patient completion of dysphagia therapy and if it will reduce perceived pain during exercise completion. The goal is to find new ways to improve long term functional swallowing outcomes in patients with dysphagia following head and neck cancer. Kathryn’s advisor on this project is Dr. Jeff Searl.
Hu’s project seeks to identify effective social support strategies among Michigan college students. Specifically, Hu argues that validation messages play an essential role in aiding support relationships and continued supportive communication. He will study this issue using a combination of an experiment and content analysis of the things people say to each other. Hu’s advisor on this project is Dr. Amanda Holmstrom.
The Strosacker Awards are awarded and administered through the Health and Risk Communication Center (HRCC): Healthy People-Healthy Planet. The HRCC is an interdisciplinary center with over 50 faculty affiliates which supports and facilitates research on health, risk, environment, and science communication. It is home to the Health and Risk Communication M.A. program and its Iris Scholars Program translates research findings into practical, useful information for people. For more information on the HRCC visit http://hrcc.cas.msu.edu/.
— Ashley Wilson