ACCEL Video Series

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Presented by the Professional Development Core and Dr. Melinda Duncan

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Specific Aims and Developing a Strong Research Plan

Presented by the Professional Development Core and Melinda Duncan, PhD

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Law, Technology, and End-of-life Planning

Advance directives (AD) were created as legal documents to help ensure that patients’ wishes are respected at the end of life. However, their actual impact on end-of-life care is less clear. Most people do not complete them, and they are often unavailable when needed. Recent technological innovations have sought to reinvent ADs. Tech start-ups offer tools to create and store digital ADs, and commercial electronic health record systems are expanding their functionality to store end-of-life wishes. I trace the history of ADs, discuss the limitations of the legal model, and describe current efforts to digitize end-of-life planning. I will focus in part on efforts at the University of Pennsylvania to develop an EHR-integrated online platform for documenting end-of-life plans.

Joshua Rolnick, MD, JD is a general internist and VA advanced fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania/Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Some of his recent work focuses on using technology to improve end-of-life planning. He was part of a team at the University of Pennsylvania that created oucarewishes.org, an EHR-integrated web platform. He completed a combined MD/JD between Stanford School of Medicine and Yale Law School, followed by residency in internal medicine at Stanford. He also practiced as a hospitalist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. 

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Complex Models to Understand Complex Health Behaviors

Most of the health conditions are directly or indirectly resulted from humans’ decisions. These decisions are affected by a wide range of personal and environmental factors. While understanding health decision-making processes can lead to significant breakthroughs in both treatment and prevention of different diseases, due to their complex nature, our knowledge about many of these processes is very limited. Computational and data-driven techniques are increasingly considered as powerful options to fuse various types of data (such as biological and behavioral data) to understand these complexities. In this talk, I will present several projects from the areas of smoking and obesity research in which I have used complex systems and AI methods to study health behaviors. Additionally, I will discuss some of our future research directions in the "healthy lAIfe" lab as part of the CIS Department and the recently launched Data Science Institute at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Rahmat Beheshti is an assistant professor in the Data Science Institute and also the Department of Computer & Information Sciences at the University of Delaware. He has a unique interdisciplinary background by finishing his postdoctoral training in Public Health and his Ph.D. and MSc in Computer Science. He has been working in the area of Health Data Analytics and Computational Epidemiology for the past eight years. Specifically, he has worked extensively on two major public health epidemics: smoking and obesity and has focused on very different aspects of these two, including the social, economic, environmental, and lately biological factors that affect these epidemics.  

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Racism, Adversity, and Child Health

Racial discrimination is a toxic psychosocial stressor that can affect individuals and communities of color.  This presentation will explore how common are perceptions of racism in minority children and explore the research on its effects on child health.  An overview of the development of the PRaCY—a psychometrically valid questionnaire to measure perceptions of racism in children will follow, followed by a model that describes how racism “gets under the skin” to contribute to poor health outcomes as well as racial and ethnic health disparities throughout the lifecourse. Finally, we’ll discuss the inclusion of racism into the expanded definition of “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs).

Lee Pachter, DO is the Director of Community & Clinical Integration in the Department of Pediatrics at Nemours, and professor of pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.  He conducts research in health disparities and the social determinants of health, and is the co-lead for community engagement & outreach for the Delaware-CTR ACCEL. Lee is also the director of the Population Health Policy program at the Jefferson College of Population Health, and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

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