Current Projects


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

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...View Full Article

Daniel Menchik, PhD

Hospital readmission study co-funded by the Center for Innovation and Research and Science Studies @ State (S3). Additional co-funding support has been given by the Sparrow Foundation.

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

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.  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... View Full Article

Nazia Naz S. Khan, MD, MS 

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, College of Human Medicine, Department of Medicine, Michigan State University 

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). Researchers have been awarded $50,000.00  to assess the impact of shared decision-making, patient activation, family engagement on CPAP adherence and satisfaction with decision... View Full Article

Jiying Ling, MS, PhD, RN   

Identify Effective Intervention Components to Prevent Obesity: A Factorial Design

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

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...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... View Full Article

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... View Full Article

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 IMSU), 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 anticoagulation 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... View Full Article

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... View Full Article

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.
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Hui Liu, PhDPartnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Health among Older Adults

Principal 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.
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Jennifer Edwards-Johnson, DOInterest in Primary and Underserved Care Among Minority and Rural Medical Students

Principal 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.

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Shelia Cotten, PhDImproving Care in the Pediatric Emergency Department with Virtual Reality

Principal Investigator: Shelia Cotten, PhD, Professor, Department of Media & Information, Director, Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation & Research

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.

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Robin Tucker, PhD, RDHealth implications of Binge Watching Entertainment Media

Principal 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.

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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.

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Denise Soltow HersheyHospital to Home: Identifying Transitional Needs for Older Adults with Type II Diabetes

Principal 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.
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Jeff Searl, PhDEye-Tracking to Improve Videofluorographic Swallow Study Interpretation

Principal 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.

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From some of CFIR's Principal Investigators:

"The small grant that I had, less than $8000, helped me start my diabetes app for T1D project.  I was able to do some interviews and focus groups to use as preliminary data for an R21 and an ADA grant.  My NIH grant was scored, but not funded and I was awarded the ADA grant for $600k.  I believe that the ADA grant helped secure my position as a tenure track professor and hopefully, will help me in getting other grants awarded.  I definitely do not think that I would have gotten the ADA grant without the CFIR seed money."
~Bree Holtz, PhD

"The funding from CFIR has been instrumental in building my research at MSU. For interdisciplinary work like stroke rehabilitation, it is critical to have collaborators where there is some incentive to work toward a common goal. The funding from CFIR was able to achieve exactly this goal - building a collaboration between Kinesiology, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Engineering. In addition, with funding at federal agencies becoming increasingly competitive, the ability to get solid preliminary data that can be included in grant proposals was invaluable. The funded project has now resulted in a solid collaboration - with two grant proposals, and two manuscripts that are about to be submitted. In a larger sense, I think the most important thing that the funding has allowed us to do was improve the visibility of stroke research on campus. This visibility has now allowed us to pursue new related research questions (such as the effect of immersive virtual reality).
My personal view is that the CFIR funding is one of the most critical seed funding mechanisms on campus, especially for new faculty in biomedical research looking to build new collaborations. I hope that this opportunity will continue for other investigators in the future."
~Rajiv Ranganathan, PhD

 "Being awarded a CFIR grant for A Cybermeditation Toolkit for Hospice and Palliative Caregivers has been the most important grant so far in my long academic career.
It has been SO IMPORTANT to get to actually implement the plans for the 6 week program, to have caregivers participate for 6 weeks, to collect pre and post data.  We learned a ton, and got plentiful significant outcomes.  So much data, we are still analyzing.  Multiple conference papers.  One NIH R21 already.  Working on multiple articles. The grant really gave me the boost, in terms of experience, data, and colleagues, that enabled me to really establish cybermeditation as my domain of creative and research scholarship. Endless more to do. Which is ideal. THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving me this start."
~Carrie Heeter, PhD