Prim Poshyanonda, a junior majoring in psychology, worked with Dan Morrow, a professor of psychology, and James F. Graumlich, a physician with OSF Healthcare System, and a professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria, to develop and assess the effectiveness of narratives to improve health literacy and motivate older adults living with diabetes to engage in self-care tasks.
Morrow explains that, by working with diverse older adults to develop these narratives, they hope to help people from many backgrounds and circumstances address a range of daily challenges, especially in those areas where there are disparities in health outcomes. “An important part of the project is considering older adults as experts about their own self-care. By distilling their insights into narratives, we hope to share their insights with others who are struggling with self-care.”
When asked what he thought Poshyanonda gained from the experience, Morrow noted technical research skills, like developing interview questions, using a REDCap database, and how to code interview transcripts. “Perhaps more importantly,” he explains, “She has honed an ability to persevere in the face of challenges to conduct good research.”
Morrow was especially impressed with how Poshyanonda handled the sudden changes that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Prim has been a creative and determined collaborator as we worked with Jim Graumlich, our community partner, to develop remote data collection techniques.”
Poshyanonda shares that, while she has learned a lot about research, working with community-based research has been especially meaningful. “This program taught me the importance of community-based research and how it is important to understand the needs of the community. It has made me become more aware of the benefits in having open and truthful lines of communication. A good partnership ensures that the relationship will leave a positive impact on the community as well as benefitting future research.”
Learn more about the project by watching Prim Poshyanonda's research lightning talk.