A Boise State University team of nursing and gaming professionals has won a national education award for developing a wearable technology that allows nursing students to practice complex simulations with significant cost savings compared to more standard training.
The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) has bestowed a WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award to the Boise State development team for their Virtual Reality Nursing Simulation with Custom Haptic System for Patient Safety. The awardees will be recognized during WCET’s 27th annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, Nov. 11-13.
The haptic system is a new, wearable technology that enables a student to see and interact with (touch, hold or grip) objects in the virtual environment, allowing for complex simulations (like catheter insertion) with significant cost savings compared to more standard training on a simulation medical manikin.
The team was led by Anthony Ellertson, director and clinical associate professor of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile program (GIMM) in conjunction with the College of Innovation and Design and the Division of Research and Economic Development. GIMM is a new undergraduate major formed under the College of Innovation and Design. Its focus is developing cutting-edge mobile and gaming technologies, including the Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality.
“Using virtual reality in education provides students with opportunities to practice necessary skills in a realistic and low-risk environment,” Ellertson said. “Not only that, projects like this one provide a cost efficient solution for increasing access to medical training for nurses.”
Ellertson, along with Suzan Kardong-Edgren, a nursing and simulation expert, were responsible for the technology’s conception and development. Ann Butt conducted field research to test the technology with students. Amod Damle, Cameron Heikkinen and Sam Blomberg also contributed to the project.
In Civic and Ethical Foundations, a core course at Boise State, students learn about ethics, diversity and citizenship by participating in projects that take them beyond the classroom and into the world.
Spear, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of Allied Health Sciences, and her class is featured in this Update article.
Students in Spear’s Spring 2015 University Foundations 200 class found out first-hand what it means to be an active citizen by helping with the city of Boise’s Energize Our Neighborhoods initiative. They created a detailed, interactive “before” map of the Vista Avenue neighborhood that was presented to the initiative’s strategic leadership team in August. The map provides a yardstick for measuring changes in the community’s livability.
To create the map, the students put in about 1,200 combined hours walking more than 40 neighborhood streets, mapping sidewalks, bike paths, lighting and other physical aspects of the neighborhood.
The students also identified opportunities to improve safety and livability, such as removing low hanging branches that might pose a future hazard to street traffic, placing signs that might improve traffic flow, and noting which vacant spaces have the potential to become community green space or pocket parks.
“The students were an incredible benefit,” said Rhiannon Avery, grant and programs manager for Boise’s Division of Housing and Community Development. “Their presentation was really creative and they gave thoughtful suggestions that kept resources in mind.”
After mapping the Vista neighborhood, the students wanted to make an additional, tangible contribution to the community, so they constructed “little free libraries.” Little free libraries are tiny book exchanges where community members can stop to take or give a book. The “libraries” promote reading, inspire people to take a walk in their community and connect neighbors through book sharing. Materials for the libraries were donated by a local Home Depot and the Boise Weekly.
As a Bicycle Friendly Campus located along the scenic Boise River Greenbelt, Boise State University already is in a strong position to support a healthy lifestyle. However, organizers believe a new campus initiative will help elevate the 22,000-student campus to a whole new state of fitness and well-being.
Known as BroncoFit, the initiative includes physical, mental and financial health, as well as an understanding of health insurance and the new health care models being developed as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Baseline screenings are being developed to help campus organizers understand what students, faculty and staff already know, feel and do in relation to their health. While creating a new model of health promotion and health care delivery, this information will be used to generate programs, courses, apps and policies likely to result in more knowledgeable health consumers.
About 21 million students are enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States each year. Campuses also comprise countless employees in jobs ranging from teaching to administration. But very few institutions collect health data in a systematic fashion, and little is being done to create a business model for improving the health of university populations.
“If we can create informed consumers of health promotion and care on campus, the potential exists to enhance and influence the health of the entire nation,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The BroncoFit program aims to be the catalyst for this big idea.”
Campus policies addressing wellness, campus housing, food availability, walking and biking access, well-being courses and more will be examined or developed, with an eye toward creating a healthy environment.
Faculty, staff and students from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Business and Economics are contributing complementary theories and approaches from the fields of business, economics and health. Professionals within University Health Services are charged with implementation and day-to-day operations.
One step is creation of a freshman health enhancement course. Students will be offered incentives to answer questions related to their health knowledge, beliefs and behaviors as well as select biometric data. This information will be summarized for their personal use in a one-credit course about personal health and how to become savvy medical consumers.
“KIN-ACT 197 will offer practical, real-world information that is especially important to college students,” said Tina Freeman, a graduate of Boise State’s master’s program in health promotion and the central academic adviser in the Department of Kinesiology. “This includes mental health and test anxiety, physical health, injury prevention, healthy eating, financial responsibility and holistic therapies, among other things.”
The course will include 15-20 minutes of exercise in each class period, and a requirement to be physically active outside of class. The goal is to have each student meet The World Health Organization’s recommended weekly guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.
Faculty interested in collaborating in the development, implementation and analyses associated with BroncoFit are invited to attend an informational session from 3-5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in the Student Union Bishop Barnwell Room.
Mary Holden, community liaison for the Center for the Study of Aging, was awarded the Justice Alliance for Vulnerable Adults Service Award during the 2015 Summit on Elder Abuse and Exploitation. Holden is also a graduate of Boise State’s School of Social Work (1991) and the Gerontological Studies Graduate Certificate program (2012). The summit was hosted by the Justice Alliance for Vulnerable Adults (JAVA), a program of the Center for the Study of Aging at Boise State University, on June 19 in the Student Union.
“Mary Holden represents the best of Boise State University,” said Sarah Toevs, director of the Center for the Study of Aging. “She is engaged in the community, committed to making good things happen, and strives for excellence. Her leadership of the Justice Alliance for Vulnerable Adults (JAVA) has been outstanding. Results include the delivery of over 50 monthly educational sessions designed for service providers and other professionals and the development of the annual Idaho Summit on Elder Abuse and Exploitation into a valued interdisciplinary event.”
The focus of the summit, “Overcoming Barriers to Successful Identification of Elder Abuse Crimes,” featured expert interdisciplinary panel discussions and two keynote speakers: Paul Greenwood, deputy district attorney from the Family Protection Division in San Diego, California, and Nora Carpenter, president and CEO of United Way Treasure Valley.
Greenwood has been a prosecutor since March of 1993. He is the head of the Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit for the San Diego, California, District Attorneys office. The San Diego DA’s Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit was awarded the California State Association of Counties’ Challenge Award for innovation and creativity in 1998. Greenwood has been involved in the prosecution of over 500 felony cases of elder and dependent adult abuse, both physical and financial. He assisted with the drafting of Elder Abuse legislation for California Evidence Code actions and has been featured on both CBS’s “Eye on America” and NBC’s “Nightly News.” Greenwood was inducted into the Elder Rights Advocacy Hall of Fame in 2011 by the National Association of Legal Services Developers.
Carpenter is the president and CEO of United Way of Treasure Valley and a well-known leader in Idaho’s nonprofit community. An Idaho native, originally from Caldwell, Carpenter is a recent addition to United Way, having joined the organization in late 2012. Throughout her career, Carpenter has focused her energy on building and inspiring emerging leaders to channel their talents toward positive, meaningful impact for themselves and their community.
Marty Downey, associate professor for the School of Nursing, presented two posters on pilot studies at the American Holistic Nurses’ Association 2015 conference in Branson, Missouri on June 12-17.
The first poster, “A Randomized Control Trial of the Effects of Healing Touch for Newborn Male Infant Circumcision Inpatients,” was presented with Laurie Bourn, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse from St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. Healing Touch is a complementary therapy that involves gentle, noninvasive touch that supports the human energy system by restoring balance and harmony. Downey mentored Bourn and Melora Kellis, also a nurse at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center who studied whether Healing Touch therapy in addition to the current standard of nursing care affected the pain scores, oxygenation and heart rates on newborn males undergoing a circumcision procedure. Preliminary data for this ongoing study may provide new information about the combination of the traditional care and holistic therapy, which may reduce the infant’s pain during the procedure. This may also encourage practitioners to integrate more holistic practices into traditional healthcare practices.
The second poster, “The Effectiveness of Two Holistic Therapies in Reducing Test Anxiety Among Nursing Students” was co-authored by Janet Willhaus, assistant professor for the School of Nursing, and Alia Crandall, a recent graduate of the Boise State baccalaureate nursing program. The research team sought to determine whether or not aromatherapy and Healing Touch therapy reduced test anxiety among nursing students. They found that these complementary holistic therapies may significantly reduce test anxiety among nursing students.
Crandall also attended the conference after receiving the Bea Alley Commemorative Conference Scholarship, which covers the registration fees for the full conference.
Karla West, director of Counseling Services in University Health Services, was quoted in a Boise Weekly story about the pressures that drive 1,100 U.S. college students to commit suicide each year. West talked about the measures taken at Boise State to assist students, particularly in the first transitional year. At the heart of the university’s efforts is QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer — a technique that has been taught to about 600 faculty and staff. Read the story here.
Dr. Vincent Serio, M.D., physician and director of Medical Services for University Health Services, has successfully completed his recertification examination with the American Board of Family Medicine. Board certification confirms a standard of excellence in knowledge and practice to physicians who not only certify via the examination process, but who also work diligently on the maintenance of these skills during the seven-year cycle between examinations.
Health Services offers medical care to faculty, staff and students, and the dependents of these groups, on campus.
“Board certification by the American Board of Family Medicine is the highest professional recognition that a family physician can achieve. It is an indicator of the physician’s commitment to the specialty of family medicine and the requirements needed to give quality care to their patients. In addition to a written exam, the board evaluates quality indicators taken directly from the patients that the physician sees — so board certification means that the doctor not only talks the talk, but walks the walk,” said Serio.
The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), one of 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is the second largest medical specialty board in the United States. Physicians must recertify every ten years in order to continue practicing medicine.
Serio came to Boise State University in 2004 as director of Medical Services. He sees patients in addition to supervising the medical staff and serving as a liaison to the University for health-related matters. His clinical interests include general medicine, reproductive health, and wilderness and travel medicine. He also performs minor surgery and procedures, including colposcopy, intrauterine device (IUD) placement, and skin biopsies.
Serio grew up in Richmond, Virginia and moved to Idaho in 1995 to train as a family medicine physician. After graduating from his residency in 1998, he practiced medicine at Terry Reilly Health Services. While there, he served as lead physician at the Boise clinic for homeless patients, practiced rural family medicine in Marsing and Homedale, Idaho, and delivered hundreds of babies. In 2001, he joined Saint Alphonsus Medical Group in Meridian, Idaho, where he again practiced full spectrum family medicine.
Serio holds a clinical instructor appointment at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, where he helps train physician assistant students, and has held a clinical instructor appointment at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he was involved in training medical students. Serio completed a bachelor of science in biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He was awarded both a degree of master of science in biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and a doctor of medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia.
Serio is accepting new patients at Health Services (faculty, staff and students, and their dependents, are all eligible for medical care at Health Services). Call 426-1459 for appointments and more information.
Making healthy food decisions can be daunting, particularly for pregnant women who need to consider the nutrients that they need to grow a strong, healthy baby. Additionally, healthy food and pregnancy can be financially burdensome.
Despite its relatively high cost, more than 50 percent of Americans purchase organic food at least occasionally. Organic food is grown without using specific pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. These purchases are often driven by a belief that organic food confers a health benefit. However, very little evidence exists to suggest what, if any, health improvement is provided by eating organic food.
Boise State researcher Cynthia Curl, assistant professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health in the School of Allied Health Sciences, is beginning a pilot study to better understand the effect of eating organic produce during pregnancy. She hopes that this pilot study will lay the groundwork for a larger dietary intervention study to investigate whether there is a relationship between eating organic food during pregnancy and subsequent cognitive outcomes in children.
In this pilot study, Curl will recruit ten pregnant women who currently do not eat organic produce. The women will be randomly assigned to either continue their current diets or to eat organic produce throughout their pregnancies, and the study will provide the women with the appropriate produce. Curl and her student research assistant, Jessica Porter, will assess the efficacy of the dietary intervention by measuring biological levels of selected pesticides at repeated intervals throughout the course of each woman’s pregnancy.
The research team hopes to identify and overcome logistical and analytical challenges and to collect data that is useful for designing the larger, future study. That future study would include more women and would follow the children for up to two years to identify any differences in cognitive performance associated with the maternal diet during pregnancy.
Curl is one of twelve new investigators who were awarded participation in the University of Washington’s Institute of Translational Health Sciences’ “Rising Stars” program. The program was launched to help promising, early-stage investigators from the five-state WWAMI region of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho to make good impressions as they apply for additional funding opportunities.
On June 1, 2015, Curl and the other participants began a two-year career-development package designed to culminate with the submission of a K- or R-series grant application to the National Institutes of Health. The participants are receiving mentoring and instruction in grant-writing, and they will receive monthly check-ins from peers to get feedback on projects and will face mock grant reviews. Each participant is also receiving up to $15,000 in development funding.
Curl is an assistant professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health in the School of Allied Health Sciences. Prior to joining the Boise State faculty in 2015, she spent eight years as the project manager for the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution at the University of Washington, a job she held while earning her doctoral degree. Prior to that position, Curl worked in academia as a researcher for the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center at the University of Washington. Throughout her academic training, Curl has earned several honors and awards, including the prestigious Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency, which supported her doctoral research, and the Magnuson Scholar Award, awarded each year to the top student in each of the Health Sciences Schools at the University of Washington.
The Rising Stars program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant Number UL1TR000423. Learn more about Curl.