Social Health and Participation Laboratory
General Laboratory Description
Dr. Jessica Kersey directs the Social Health and Participation Laboratory, conducting community-engaged research to enhance social health (isolation, connection, loneliness) and participation outcomes among people with acquired brain injury. Dr. Kersey’s research focuses on understanding the broad environmental and social factors that influence participation outcomes, including social support, social determinants of health, and systems/services. She also aims to examine the effect of participation on health. The perspectives and priorities of consumers are at the forefront of the research being conducted in the Social Health and Participation Laboratory. Research is grounded in consumer-driven conceptualizations of participation and the environmental factors that influence it; consumer-driven measurement approaches; and co-designed community-based intervention.
General Description of Student Activities
Students in the Social Health and Participation Laboratory will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the research process, including literature reviews, recruitment, screening, assessments, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, and scientific writing and presentations. Students will also be involved in developing and growing community collaborations. We encourage students from all backgrounds to join the Social Health and Participation Laboratory, including students with disabilities and from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and gender identities. Flexible hours are available for some research activities. Additional learning opportunities will focus on developing a deeper understanding of social and environmental influences on outcomes, the social model of disability, and community-engaged research methods.
Examples of Projects
- ENGAGE-TBI is a community-based intervention that relies on social learning, guided discovery and skilled practice to improve community participation outcomes after brain injury. This intervention program is in the early stages of adaptation and testing using a community-engaged co-design approach with ongoing stakeholder engagement. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in intervention adaptation and design of a clinical trial.
- Social Support and Social Networks is an observational study of social isolation, participation, and social support over the first year after a new brain injury. This study aims to examine when during the recovery process people with TBI begin to experience changes in their relationships and support. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in data collection, data management, data analysis, and scientific writing and presentations.
- Social and Health Disparities is an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data collected since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are examining disparities among people with disabilities, and further, among those from racial and ethnic minority groups, in community participation, health and social determinants of health throughout the pandemic. We aim to determine what rehabilitation or health services, community services, or policy needs can enhance outcomes and reduce disparities long-term. Students will have the opportunity to be involved with data analysis, scientific writing, and presentation of results.
- Long COVID Repository is a collaboration with the Occupational Therapy clinical division. This study collects a standardized battery of assessments on clients seeking clinical occupational therapy due to complications related to long COVID. Assessments focus on changes in activity and participation outcomes. Students will have the opportunity to be involved with data collection, data management, data analysis, and scientific writing and presentations.
PhD Mentor Information
Dr. Kersey’s research focuses on enhancing community and social participation and social health outcomes among people with acquired brain injury. She examines a broad range of social and environmental factors that influence outcomes, including the social, financial/economic, systems/policy and physical environments. Her research focuses on the development and testing of community-based interventions that leverage social learning and skill practice to improve participation outcomes. Dr. Kersey’s research is heavily informed by stakeholder perspectives, driving her use of community-engaged research methods.
- Community-based participatory research methods
- Community-based intervention design and testing
- Disparities analysis
- Examination of a broad range of environmental factors and their influence on participation
- Examination of the effect of participation on health
- Acquired brain injury