Chronic Disease, Development and Educational Outcomes Research Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

Dr. Harris directs the Chronic Disease, Development and Educational Outcomes Research Laboratory, which examines the effects of pediatric chronic disease on developmental and educational outcomes, particularly for youth with asthma and sickle cell disease. The lab is particularly interested in the complications of chronic disease, the unidentified impacts these conditions have on everyday functioning for youth in community and educational contexts, and interventions to support youth with chronic disease. Neighborhoods and environment are key factors impacting these relationships; thus, Dr. Harris incorporates the use of geospatial methods to explore the ways in which health disparities, race, income, social processes, and in- and out-of-school factors operate differentially across space to impact student outcomes. The lab is also focused on incorporating methods of implementation science and building community partnerships to address the translation of findings to practice.

General Description of Student Activities

Students will have the opportunity to build their research skills through participation in lab activities such as literature reviews; data collection, management and analysis; quantitative and geospatial analysis; scientific writing; and presentation of results. Students will work on existing lab projects or collaborate with Dr. Harris to identify or develop a related project that fits within the scope and timeline of the research experience. Participation in lab meetings will help students build their understanding of social determinants of health, as well as their clinical and behavioral research skills. Time requirements are in line with the Program in Occupational Therapy expectations.

Examples of Projects

  • Assessing barriers and facilitators to coordinated chronic disease management in schools for youth with asthma
  • Examining the spatial relationship between contextual factors, health-care utilization and education in asthma and sickle cell disease
  • Determining the relationship between mental health, educational attainment, employment outcomes and pain in sickle cell disease

Ranked as the Number One OT Program in the Nation