Spring 2021

Jump ARCHES Spring Grants Focus on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Challenges & Strategies

(April 12, 2021 – Champaign, IL) Seven research projects are sharing slightly more than $400,000 in funding through the Jump ARCHES research and development program to address challenges and expand on lessons learned about COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The Jump ARCHES program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I) and its College of Medicine in Peoria.

The funding supports research involving clinicians, engineers and social scientists to rapidly develop technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery. A requirement of the grant applications was for solutions that could be deployed quickly, within four to six weeks. Investigators were also encouraged to consider how to best mitigate the impact of age, location, and social barriers in delivering quality health care to vulnerable populations.

“As we develop new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, it’s also important to take into account societal factors such as age, race, location, infrastructure, and how to best provide for underserved populations. We expect significant changes in how health care is delivered so that it is more accessible for all and are proud to fund projects that spearhead these developments,” said T. Kesh Kesavadas, Ph.D., director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“The outcomes of these projects will help with issues arising from the current pandemic and help physicians apply lessons learned in the post-COVID health care landscape,” said Seth Stutzman, coordinator for the Jump ARCHES grant program.

“With the UK variant now the predominant virus in the U.S., it is critical that we leverage the talent at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria and the brilliant minds within engineering, technology and social science at the U of I. This will help us quickly find much-needed solutions to address the challenges health care faces in developing policies and procedures for mass vaccination, health care delivery, quality and patient safety improvements,” said John Vozenilek, MD, vice president for Innovation and Digital Health at Jump and OSF HealthCare, and professor at the University of Illinois in Peoria and Urbana-Champaign.

Here are summaries of some key projects, with a full list of spring 2021 projects available on the Jump ARCHES website.

Every shot counts: Development of a novel predictive model and toolkit to predict and decrease vaccine-preventable rural COVID-19 deaths

Investigators: Jimeng Sun, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Scott Barrows, MA, FAMI, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP), OSF HealthCare; Adam Cross, MD, FAAP, OSF HealthCare, UICOMP; Ann Willemsen-Dunlap, CRNA, PhD, OSF HealthCare, UICOMP; and Mary Stapel, MD, OSF HealthCare

Currently, 12% of the U.S. population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, which is below the projected 70-90% required to achieve herd immunity to the virus. This project aims to develop a predictive model to predict vaccine-preventable deaths in each county in the U.S. and the most likely reasons for vaccine hesitancy among populations. A toolkit will help guide rural populations in their decision-making about accepting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Human factors in the use of telepresence robots after the COVID-19 pandemic

Investigators: Inki Kim, PhD, U of I; Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas, PhD, U of I; Jon Michel, MD, OSF HealthCare; and Shandra Jamison, MA, RRT, U of I

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak resulted in an increase in telemedicine visits to prevent the spread of the virus. The goal of this concept is to establish, justify and optimize a set of existing or new-use cases for telepresence robot use in telemedicine to reduce the risk of in-hospital transmission of COVID-19, as well as for continued quality of care delivery in the post-COVID-19 era.

Early insights and recommendation for implementing a COVID-19 saliva-based testing program in K-12 schools: Lessons learned from four under-resourced schools

Investigators; Rebecca Lee Smith, DVM, MS, PhD, U of I; Thanh (Helen) Nguyen, PhD, U of I; Nicole Delinski, DNP, MSN, RN, OSF HealthCare; Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, U of I; and W. Catherine Cheung, PT, PhD, U of I

With the goal of successfully reopening K-12 schools and keeping them open, this proposed plan will work to gain a better understanding of the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of implementing saliva-based testing in under-resourced schools, as well as parental behavior of deciding to allow their children to return to in-person learning.

Voice vitals: A new approach for anxiety and depression screening in the era of COVID-19

Investigators: Mary Pietrowicz, PhD, U of I; Ryan Finkenbine, MD, UICOMP, OSF HealthCare; and Sarah Donohue, PhD, UICOMP

Existing systems fall short in identifying and treating individuals with anxiety disorders and major depressive disorders due to a variety of issues, including people not seeking medical attention, attitudinal barriers like stigma, and structural barriers such as a lack of providers. This proposal aims to develop a prototype of machine models that can listen to speech and language and automatically screen for anxiety and depression disorders. 

COVID-19 infection levels in Central Illinois communities without access to frequent testing: A sewage monitoring and epidemiological modeling study

Investigators: Thanh Helen Nguyen PhD, U of I; Ahmed Elbanna, U of I; Art Schmidt, U of I; Joanna Shisler, U of I; and John Farrell, OSF HealthCare

New COVID-19 variants spread faster and have evaded some the vaccine-induced protective immune response in the UK and other countries. To determine whether these factors will influence the level of infection and diversity of variants in areas that lack frequent testing, this project will collect and monitor the levels and genotypes of the virus in sewage collected at selected neighborhoods. The goal is to help public health officials prepare for increased burdens on health care facilities and workers.

How to design and operate end-to-end vaccine deployment using social media, addressing supply chain allocations constraints and utilizing telemedicine

Investigators: Anton Ivanov, PhD, U of I; Subhonmesh Bose, PhD, U of I; Albert England III, MD, FIDSA, U of I, UICOMP, OSF HealthCare; Ashen Eren Mehmet, PhD, U of I; Ujjal Mukherjee, PhD, U of I; Sridhar Seshadri, U of I; Sebastian Souyris, Postdoctoral Fellow, U of I; and Yuqian Xu, PhD, U of I

This idea aims to provide a comprehensive vaccine deployment strategy using data analytic frameworks. These frameworks will (1) shape population attitudes towards vaccination by reducing their uncertainty via social media channels, (2) provide a dynamic inventory management tool for perishable or sensitive goods, and (3) develop telemedicine-based solutions for convenient and sufficient post-vaccination patient support.

Building a motivational, interviewing conversational agent (MintBot) for promoting COVID-19 vaccination among people with multiple sclerosis

Investigators: Jessie Chin, PhD, U of I; Suma Bhat, PhD, U of I; Chung-Yi Chiu, PhD, U of I; Jared Rogers, MD, OSF HealthCare; and Brian Laird, PharmD, OSF HealthCare

Individuals with multiple sclerosis are likely to be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to their compromised health condition. This concept aims to develop an accessible, generalizable and efficient digital health solution for promoting COVID-19 vaccination among vulnerable populations, such as people with disabilities.

Partners in Jump ARCHES

OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Peoria, Illinois. OSF HealthCare employs more than 23,600 Mission Partners in 147 locations, including 14 hospitals – 10 acute care, four critical access – with 2,097 licensed beds, and two colleges of nursing throughout Illinois and Michigan. The OSF HealthCare physician network employs more than 1,500 primary care, specialists and advanced practice providers, who are part of the OSF Medical Group. OSF HealthCare, through OSF Home Care Services, operates an extensive network of home health and hospice services. It also owns Pointcore Inc., comprised of health care-related businesses; OSF HealthCare Foundation, the philanthropic arm for the organization; and OSF Ventures, which provides investment capital for promising health care innovation startups.

Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center
, a part of OSF Innovation, is a collaboration between University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and OSF HealthCare. Jump replicates a variety of patient care settings to ensure novice and seasoned clinicians can practice handling medical situations in a real-world environment. Boasting six floors and 168,000 square feet, the center is one of the largest of its kind and provides space for conferences, anatomic training, virtual reality and innovation. For more information, visit www.jumpsimulation.org.

University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) educates 244 medical students and nearly 300 physician residents annually. The College of Medicine is home to the Cancer Research Center, the Center for Outcomes Research and is a collaborator in Jump Simulation. Learn more about UICOMP at http://peoria.medicine.uic.edu.

Health Care Engineering Systems Center (HCESC) Engineering provides clinical immersion and fosters collaboration between engineers and physicians. HCESC designs collaborative solutions to improve health care outcomes utilizing their expertise in simulation technologies, smart health systems, data analytics, human factors and medical robotics. HCESC partners with Jump in this innovative relationship of Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation (ARCHES). HCESC is a research center in The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. Learn more about HCESC at https://healtheng.illinois.edu/.

University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering is one of the world’s top-ranked engineering programs with students, faculty and alumni that set the standard for excellence. The college is focused on driving the economy, reimagining engineering education and bringing revolutionary ideas to the world. They work to solve the world’s greatest challenges and look toward the future to find ways to make the solutions reality. Learn more about the College of Engineering at https://engineering.illinois.edu/.

The Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) at the University of Illinoiswas created to help address some of the grand challenges facing society that can be answered using the deep social and behavioral science expertise housed at U of I. In particular, the CSBS focuses on three distinct areas: 1) solving poverty, 2) understanding the effect of technology on society and 3) the role of social and behavioral factors in health. More information can be found at https://csbs.research.illinois.edu/.