The Human Side of Health Care - Tulchin-Francis and Herge

Oct 14, 2020 / Research & Innovation

Community Research: The Human Side of Health Care

At Scottish Rite for Children, members from our staff are regularly invited to share their expertise with local and national groups. Recently, Scottish Rite’s division director of Movement Science Kirsten Tulchin-Francis, Ph.D., and pediatric psychologist Whitney Herge, Ph.D., were invited to share information about their community research projects on the weekly radio segment, The Human Side of Health Care. Below is a recap: 

Since the start of COVID-19, our team has been conducting various research studies to understand how the pandemic has impacted different populations within the community. 

Tulchin-Francis provided an overview and update on the study, The Impact of Social Distancing and the COVID-19 Global Pandemic on Physical Activity in American Youth. Before the pandemic, Tulchin-Francis and her team were interested in children and their activity levels –evaluating how they played and their level of intensity. Since COVID-19, the focus of the study has shifted with the team wanting to better understand how the pandemic, social distancing and shelter in place impacted play behavior in children. 
  • Target audience – parents of children 3-18 years old.
  • Asking parents how much their kids play now versus before and understanding how their play has changed.  
  • From the data, the age of the child has an impact on how often the child was active, the type of activity and who they were active with. 
    • Older children showed a larger decrease in physical activity. Younger children were more likely to go outside and play during this time. 
Herge provided an overview of her team’s study, Assessment of Psychological Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Psychology team wants to understand the impact on the family, not just children.  
  • Purpose: evaluate the stress and coping responses of individuals due to COVID-19.
  • Audience: current and former patients at Scottish Rite who are 18 years and older, patient family members, staff, and the community at large.
  • Preliminary results are showing people experiencing stress in multiple ways. Those include:
    • Loss of employment.
    • Fear of getting sick.
    • Concern of loved ones getting sick.
    • Concern about becoming socially isolated.
    • Not being able to access health care.
    • Not being able to work or pay bills.
  • Early results also show that participants are using certain coping skills:  
    • Active coping, distraction, positive reframing, religion, planning, and acceptance.
  • Once completing the survey, participants are provided with links to resources for families and children for support.
  • The long-term goal of the study is to provide data to community stakeholders (e.g., hospitals in DFW area) regarding common stress responses associated with the pandemic, as well as to identify the role that particular coping strategies may play in individuals’ experience of stress. 
Listen to the full episode.

Learn more about our community research. 

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