CFIR Rolling Submissions: Improvement of Videofluorographic Swallow Study Interpretation

Eye-Tracking to Improve Videofluorographic Swallow Study Interpretation

Jeff Searl, PhDPrincipal Investigator: Jeff Searl, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. Communicative Sciences & Disorders (MSU)

Purpose: Optimize diagnostic accuracy of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) doing videofluorographic swallow studies (VFSS) through understanding of eye-gaze behaviors.


CFIR Rolling Submissions: Identifying Transitional Needs for Older Adults with Type II Diabetes

Hospital to Home: Identifying Transitional Needs for Older Adults with Type II Diabetes

Denise Soltow Hershey, PhD, RN, FNP-BCPrincipal Investigator: Denise Soltow Hershey, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, Associate Professor, College of Nursing (MSU)

Purpose: To describe the met and unmet healthcare needs associated with the transitional care process for older adults with a comorbidity of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) at the time of discharge, 72 hours, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 30 days post hospital discharge.


CFIR Micro-Grant Support: Correlation Between the Gut Microbiome and Response to Immunotherapy in Cancer Patients

Gut Microbiome and Response to Immunotherapy in Cancer Patients

Gordan Srkaolvic, MD, PhDVenu Gangur, PhDPrincipal Investigators: Gordan Srkalovic, MD, PhD, Director, Clinical Trials, Sparrow Cancer Center; Venu Gangur, PhD, Associate Professor; Director of Immunology Laboratory, Dept. Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University

The Long-term goal of this project is to elucidate the relationship between the gut microbial population diversity and the outcome of cancer immunotherapy in patients treated at the Sparrow Cancer Center. The Specific Aim of this proposal to establish an interdisciplinary project by conducting a feasibility pilot study.


CFIR Micro-Grant Support: Binge Watching Entertainment Media

Health implications of Binge Watching Entertainment Media

Robin Tucker, PhD, RDPrincipal Investigator: Robin Tucker, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor, MSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

The impact of media use on health is well-documented. However, little is known about binge watching – exposure to multiple episodes of a television show or movies in a single day, despite 70% of Americans reporting this behavior. Preliminary survey data from this research team suggests that binge watching is associated with sleep curtailment, as well as with less healthy food choices. The next step is to move beyond self-report data, and to include objective measures of sleep, diet, and media use. The goal of this research program is to provide recommendations for physicians, dietitians, and other practitioners in discussing media use with patients.


CFIR Micro-Grant Support: VR/Pediatric Emergency Care

Improving Care in the Pediatric Emergency Department with Virtual Reality

Shelia Cotten, PhDPrincipal Investigator: Shelia Cotten, PhD, Director, Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation & Research, MSU Foundation Professor

Emergency departments (EDs) are often perceived as scary and induce anxiety in children. Being stuck with a needle (to start an IV) may add to anxiety.  Currently at Sparrow, when a child in the ED shows sign of anxiety and/or high levels of pain, Caregivers will ask the child life specialist (CLS) to assist in distracting the child during the IV start. The child life specialist will visually distract the child, such as through the use of an iPad; however, the child can often still watch the nurses and the needle, resulting in a failure of the iPad distraction and the child becoming more anxious. As the child becomes anxious, his/her pain perception significantly increases.  With VR, the child’s vision is blocked by the VR headset. Not only is the child distracted visually, but also auditorily with headphones connected to the headset.


CFIR Health Topics Call:Interest in Primary and Underserved Care Among Minority and Rural Medical Students

Interest in Primary and Underserved Care Among Minority and Rural Medical Students

Jennifer Edwards-Johnson, DOPrincipal Investigator: Jennifer Edwards-Johnson, DO, Assistant Professor Sparrow-MSU Family Health Center (MSU)

Purpose: To examine the evolution of interest in primary and underserved care from matriculation to graduation and compare to eventual practice location in rural or underserved communities for a 19-year cohort of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students.  Outcomes will be compared by race, ethnicity, rural origin and gender.


CFIR Names First Research Fellows

Opel and Wittenborn: First CFIR Research Fellows

Dawn Opel, JD, PhDAndrea Wittenborn, PhDThe Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research has named its first two Research Fellows, who will focus on issues such as improving treatment for depression and use of information technology to enhance Patient care.

Dawn S. Opel, JD, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and User Experience in the College of Arts & Letters at MSU.

Andrea Wittenborn, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at MSU.


CFIR Supports Implementation Science Research Teams

Implementation of a Collaborative Care Model to Prevent Mental Illness

Andrea Wittenborn, PhDAmy Romain, MSWPrincipal Investigators:Andrea K. Wittenborn, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies (MSU) and Amy Romain, MSW, Director of Behavioral Medicine, Sparrow/MSU Family Medicine Residency

There is a crisis in mental healthcare in the U.S. Mental health and substance use disorders are common and disabling, resulting in high healthcare costs, lost productivity, and early death. Due to limited access, a shortage of mental health providers and stigma, many patients are unable to get the care they need (Kaiser, 2014). Primary care providers are the defacto mental healthcare providers, with 70% of all primary care visits driven by psychological factors. However, primary care physicians (PCPs) often lack the resources to adequately care for these patients.


CFIR Health Topics Call: Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Health among Older Adults

Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Health among Older Adults

Hui Liu, PhDPrincipal Investigator: Hui Liu, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology (MSU)

The proposed project is a pilot study of a broader project which aims to promote scientific understanding of the links between partnered sexuality and cardiovascular health among older adults. It has three specific aims: 1) collect pilot clinical data on partnered sexuality and cardiovascular health among older adults; 2) evaluate the pilot data collection process and determine the feasibility of the approaches; and 3) analyze the pilot data to develop preliminary results on the associations of sexuality with a range of cardiovascular biomarkers.


CFIR Health Topics Call: Virtual Agent

Andrea Wittenborn, PhDA Virtual Agent to Screen for Mental Health in Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Principal Investigator: Andrea Wittenborn, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), (MSU)

This project has the potential to transform care for pregnant and postpartum women. Despite advances in screening, depression and IPV remain under-detected. When faced with intractable problems,Clayton Christiansen noted the need for “disruptive technologies” that move beyond incremental improvements to a new vision of care. Using a virtual agent powered by artificial intelligence to overcome challenges associated with depression and IPV screening by human clinicians could provide the technology breakthrough needed to improve the detection of two common and costly health conditions.


CFIR Micro-Grant: Adjuvant Chemoradiotherapy

Michael McLeod, MD, MBA, FACS 

Adjuvant Chemoradiotherapy in the Management of Resectable Pancreatic Cancer in the Elderly: Analysis Using a National Database

Principal Invistigator: Michael McLeod, MD, MBA, FACS, Department of Surgery, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU)

A research team composed of two residents and three faculty members of The Department of Surgery investigate the survival outcome of elderly pancreatic cancer patients who have undergone a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy following pancreatic resection.


CFIR Population Health Call: Risk Factors for Hospitalized Cancer Patients

Supratik Rayamajhi, MD, FACP    

Clinical Risk Factors and Predictors of Venous Thromboembolism Amount Hospitalized Cancer Patients

Principal Investigator: Supratik Rayamajhi, MD, FACP, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Internal Medicine Residency, Advanced Medicine Clerkship Director, Department of Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU), Sparrow Hospitalist Staff member

Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a major public health burden...This is a retrospective cohort study that aims to analyze demographic, clinical and laboratory variables among unique population of established CAT patients undergoing nticoagulation therapy at Sparrow Hospital. Our study focuses on recognizing the most consistent and reproducible variables associated with CAT. Identification of these parameters should help in devising precise predictive model for CAT.


CFIR Rolling Submissions: Speaking Up Study Funded

Kenneth Levine, JD, PhD Kami Silk, PhD   

Speaking Up: Improving Patient Care through Recognizing, Reporting, & Responding

Co-Principal Investigators: Kenneth Levine, JD, PhD and
Kami Silk, PhD, Department of Communication, Michigan State University (MSU)

This research aims to improve safe patient care and to help reduce hospital readmission by investigating how to best encourage Sparrow Hospital medical staff to speak-up when adverse events occur. To that end, the two aims are to: Aim 1: Conduct formative research via focus groups and survey methods to develop an understanding of the existing culture of speaking-up about medical errors and near misses. Aim 2: Develop an evidence-based intervention to increase and enhance Sparrow’s capacity to recognize, report and respond medical errors and near misses within system-defined time parameters.


CFIR Rolling Submissions: Obesity Study Funded

Jiying Ling, MS, PhD, RN   

Identify Effective Intervention Components to Prevent Obesity: A Factorial Design

Principal Investigator: Jiying Ling, MS, PhD, RN; Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University (MSU)

The prevalence of overweight/obesity (OW/OB) in Head Start children is 1.5 times the rate of U.S. children aged 2-5 years. Few interventions, however, have targeted preschoolers from low-socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds, resulting in continuing OW/OB SES disparities. Although parents are recommended “agents of change,” involving parents in intensive face-to-face programs is costly and time-consuming, and low attendance is a problem. Studies in school-age children show that parent-child interventions are superior to child-only interventions but not superior to parent-only interventions on child’s anthropometric indicators. No similar evidence was identified for preschoolers. To address this gap, the proposed factorial trial will examine the feasibility and preliminary main and combined effects of 2 intervention components (parent and child) on children’s healthy behaviors (dietary intake and physical activity; primary outcomes), waist circumference, and BMI z-score among Head Start children aged 3-5 years.


MyT1D Hero

Bree Holtz, PhD    

MyT1D Hero
Pilot funding provided by CFIR

Bree Holtz, a researcher at Michigan State University, and her team are developing and testing an innovative mobile phone app, called MyT1D, to connect adolescents with type-1 diabetes (T1D) with their parents to help support the transition to self-management.

IMG_0901This mobile app is unique because it links parents and kids in a way that existing technologies do not by creating two separate apps (one for the parent and one for the child) that work together to manage the care of the child.  The main goal of this research is to aid in the successful transition to self-care for the kid and increase positive health outcomes. This research will also help us to further understand what types of messages, reward systems, and technology cues can improve adherence.

This research is supported by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) grant #1-16-ICTS-045. For more information on the ADA please visit their website:

For more information and to register as a participant, please go here


CFIR Funds First Micro-Grant:Bullying Among Nurses

Primary Investigator: Judy Arnetz, PhD, MPH, PT    

Workplace Bullying Among Nurses: An Exploration of Experiences and Perceived Root Causes

Principal Investigator: Judy Arnetz, PhD, MPH, PT, Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU)

The Center for Innovation and Research provided both $2,000.00 and $5,500.00 micro-grants for a pilot study on bullying among nurses at Sparrow Hospital. The aim of the study is to explore experiences and perceptions of the root causes of bullying among a sample of hospital nurses.


CFIR Rolling Submissions: Hopelessness Research Study Funded

Susan Dunn, PhD, RN   

Hopelessness and Physical Activity in Racial Minority Patients with Heart Disease

Principal Investigator: Susan Dunn, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Michigan State University (MSU)

Hopelessness is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Physical inactivity is additionally responsible for increased cardiovascular events and death. Most individuals with CHD do not meet current exercise guidelines, and hopeless individuals are at particularly high risk for inactivity. Yet, little research exists describing hopelessness and its relationship to exercise in CHD patients and no research exists specific to racial minority patients.


CFIR Call for Patient and Family Engagement Project Funded: Sleep Apnea

Nazia Naz S. Khan, MD, MS, FACP 

Improving Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Adherence in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Impact of Patient and Family Engagement

Principal Investigator:Nazia Naz S. Khan, MD, MS, FACP, Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU)

A randomized control parallel group clinical trial study to assess the impact of patient and family engagement in improving continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  The primary aim of this study is to assess the impact of shared decision-making, patient activation, family engagement on CPAP adherence and satisfaction with decision. 


CFIR Project Receives National Attention: False Alarms

Piper Probst, DNP, RN-BC    

Sparrow Study Reduces False Alarms in Neonatal Unit

Principal Investigator: Piper Probst, DNP, BC-RN, Director; Nursing Practice, Education & Research, Sparrow Health Systems (SHS)

Sparrow’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) is getting national attention for a research project that has helped Nurses reduce false and nuisance alarms from Patient monitoring equipment. The project is aimed to combat alarm fatigue, a growing problem in hospitals across the country. The increased use of technology to monitor Patients has led to a rise in false and nuisance alarms that have nothing to do with the condition of the Patient but are related to the monitoring of equipment.


Research Support: mHealth Project

Pang-Ning Tan, PhD   

Mobile Tool to Aid Health Behavior Choices 

Principal Investigator: Pang-Ning Tan, PhD, College of Engineering, Michigan State University (MSU)

The goal of the project is to develop and test a mobile application presenting future risks to aid patients’ health behavior choices. The purpose is to improve self-efficacy and self-management activities for people with impaired glucose function and who are overweight.


Research Support: Cybermeditation Toolkit

Carrie Heeter, PhD   

A Cybermeditation Toolkit for Hospice and Palliative Caregivers 

Principal Investigator: Carrie Heeter, PhD, Department of Media and Information, Michigan State University (MSU)

Caregivers in Sparrow’s Hospice and Palliative Care are participating in a study combining the convenience of modern smartphone apps with the age-old practice of meditation.
In an innovative six-week study through the Center for Innovation and Research, a collaboration between Sparrow and Michigan State University, Caregivers are testing a series of apps designed by an MSU Department of Media and Information professor that offer daily guided meditation sessions.
Sparrow officials hope the project will help Caregivers learn how to easily incorporate the stress-fighting benefits of meditation into their daily lives.


First Co-Funded Project Awarded

Daniel Menchik, PhD

Hospital readmission study co-funded by the Center for Innovation and Research, Science Studies @ State and Sparrow Foundation

Principal Investigator: Daniel Menchik, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University (MSU)

Researchers from Michigan State University and Sparrow have been awarded $12,000 by the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research and Science Studies @ State (S3) to study what social and medical factors play a role in Patient recovery and hospital readmissions.

Subsequently, further funding was provided by the Center for Innovation and Research along with the Sparrow Foundation.

The study, led by Daniel Menchik, PhD, of MSU’s Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology, will focus on orthopedic surgery Patients to track which Patients are readmitted and for what reasons.


CFIR Leadership Changes

Shelia Cotten, PhD; Prabu David, PhD  

Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research names Board Chair, Director

Prabu David, Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, has been named as the new Chair of the Governing Board for the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research.
David will follow Dean Mary Mundt, who is retiring after serving as Chair since the Centers inception in September 2012.

Shelia Cotten, PhD, has been named the Director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation. Cotten has served as the Interim Director since August 2014 and is a professor in the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communications Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.


Second Research Project Funded by CFIR

Rajiv Ranganathan, PhD

Stroke Rehabilitation Assessment Funded by the Center for Innovation and Research

Principal Investigator: Rajiv Ranganathan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology/Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University (MSU)

Researchers from Michigan State University and Sparrow have been awarded $50,000 by the Center for Innovation and Research to study ways to improve stroke rehabilitation. The study, led by Rajiv Ranganathan of the MSU College of Education, will utilize a virtual reality environment to examine if its uses could benefit stroke Patients undergoing rehabilitation. “The importance of this study is reflected in terms of the underlying problem,” Ranganathan, assistant professor of kinesiology at MSU, said. “Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and we still don’t have good, effective ways to quantify or treat movement deficits in stroke survivors. By using recent advances in technology, we are hoping that this study can at least provide a stepping stone toward that goal.” The virtual reality system measures movements with high precision, which are then translated into a game-like interface.


First Grant Awarded

Erin Sarzynski, MD, MSCenter for Innovation and Research Awards First Grant to Fund Development of Medication Management Mobile App

Principal Investigator: Erin Sarzynski, MD, MS, Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU)

Sparrow and MSU’s Center for Innovation and Research has awarded a grant to fund the development of a mobile app that aims to tackle an issue that causes thousands of unnecessary deaths each year. 

The $75,000 grant, the first from the newly created Center for Innovation and Research, was awarded to Erin Sarzynski, MD, MS. of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Geriatrics Division. The grant will be used to develop and test a mobile app that will streamline medication management for Patients with chronic illness and encourage adherence to medication regimens. 


First Translation Grant Funded

Piper Probst

Alarm Safety Intervention funded by the Center for Innovation and Research

Principal Investigator: Piper Probst, DNP, BC-RN, Director; Nursing Practice, Education & Research, Sparrow Health Systems (SHS)

MSU and Sparrow’s Center for Innovation and Research has awarded $25,000 in project support to study ways to improve alarm safety, a health care priority across the nation.

The study will investigate alarm safety interventions in Sparrow’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU). As more monitoring equipment is used, there is an increase in alarms, which can result in alarm fatigue or desensitization—especially if the majority of alarms are false alarms or nuisance alarms.


CFIR Provides Funding Support

Bree Holtz, PhDCenter for Innovation and Research Funds Data Gathering on Adolescents with Type-1 Diabetes

* Subsequent to completion of the pilot project, the team submitted a grant proposal the the American Diabetes Association (ADA) entitled, Using an MHealth App to Transition Care of Type-1 Diabetes from Parent to Teens.  The project was selected for funding.
Professor to Develop App for Diabetes Management.
See also: My T1D Hero

Principal Investigator: Bree Holtz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Advertising & PR. Dept. of Media & Information, Michigan State University (MSU)

MSU and Sparrow’s Center for Innovation and Research has awarded nearly $9,000 in project funds to support focus groups in gathering baseline data on adolescents with Type-1 diabetes.  The data will be used to prepare a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Proposal titled: Using an mHealth app to transition care of Type-1 diabetes from parents to teens   Focus groups and interviews will include adolescents with T1D, parents of children with T1D diabetes, and pediatric diabetes nurses who care for T1D children and adolescents. The goal is to better identify what characterizes the transition period between parent management and self-management; what the biggest challenges are, what the communication is like between parents and children, and what a proposed mobile phone app could do to aid in that transition.



CFIR Closing