JU wins grant to help veterans
Jacksonville University’s College of Health Sciences received $141,659 from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help in the care of rural veterans with respiratory and swallow disorders.
Continuing to build on its scientific and clinical initiatives, the JU College of Health Sciences will act as a research partner with the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville in the project, which is titled Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative — Respiration, Eating and Swallowing Program (RVTRI-RESP).
In part, it involves using in-home monitoring, including video links, to aid veterans with swallow/respiratory dysfunction who otherwise might face long travel distances to receive proper care, said Christine Sapienza, associate dean of the JU CHS and professor of communication sciences and disorders.
Gloria McKee-Lopez, associate dean of the School of Nursing who will serve as principal investigator, said she was excited to partner with the Malcom Randall center and grant consultant Sapienza, who specializes in speech-language pathology, to optimize the care of veterans in the project.
“Our interdisciplinary efforts are timely, as nursing and speech pathology share common interests in providing innovative solutions to improve patient care outcomes for the rural health veteran population we will be serving,” Sapienza said.
The project, funded through the Office of Rural Health in the VA’s Veterans Health Administration, is important because rural veterans with swallow/respiratory problems can be underserved.
Travel time and distance to get specialty care can combine with anxiety and depression and impaired physical functioning to create barriers, Sapienza noted.
The funding comes on the heels of an $870,000 U.S. Department of Health grant to recruit hundreds more student veterans to JU’s Nursing program, and a $190,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the role of coughing in protecting the airways of patients with swallowing disorders.