Research in Progress

Job Experiences

Job Experiences in Nursing Homes, funded by the Sunshine Education and Research Center, is a pilot study seeking to explore the extent to which physical, psychological, or sexual aggression takes place against nursing home staff by residents or co-workers, and to describe the context of these incidents by conducting semi-structured interviews with nursing home staff throughout the United States Of particular interest is the determination of the extent to which co-worker aggression occurs within the context of personal relationships, and to identify the contextual factors that contribute to these incidents and their outcomes.

Since very little is known about the context in which aggression and violence against nursing home staff occurs, this qualitative approach will allow a victim-based perspective to establish the scope of the proble, and its contrbutors and outcomes. It will also solicit intervention recommendations from victims of violence. This application provides rare insights for the context of exposure to work-related violence among nursing home staff. This information will contribute to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research priorities. Drs VandeWeerd and Coulter have extensive experience in the field of relationship violence both as researchers and educators, and are the CoPIs of this study.

The significance of the proposed study is that it is a direct qualitative assessment of nursing home staff exposure to violence and aggression. Whether in terms of its physical, psychological, or economic impact, workplace violence is a major concern amidst the healthcare industry, especially for workers in the nursing home setting. To date, no study has examined the context and effects of violence and aggression between worker/co-worker or worker/resident dyads in the nursing home workplace.

Domestic Violence Offender

The Hillsborough County Domestic Violence Intervention Program is administered through the 13th Judicial Circuit Court System. The program is a large one with 236 offenders on average entering the program per month, including felony and misdemeanor offenders, diversion cases, or other referrals from criminal court. To date, the program has enrolled 19,999 offenders.

When offenders are convicted and sentenced to intervention programs or placed on diversion, they are referred to community agencies for assessment. The assessment identifies the type of program and intensity of the intervention needed for each offender. The model of intervention services which has been adopted is an innovative one based on the state-mandated psycho-educational model, but with additional provisions for offenders with special needs, such as offenders with a history of severe violence, serious mental illness or substance abuse issues.

The role of The Harrell Center is to longitudinally assess the efficacy of the Hillsborough County Domestic Violence Intervention Program as a means to better refine the intervention process, particularly for programs for offenders with special needs. Using Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrest records, the Center examines re-arrest rates of domestic violence offenders for both domestic violence and other crimes. Current data indicate high levels of effectiveness with low drop-out rates and low re-arrest rates for offenders that have completed Hillsborough County’s program compared to those that did not complete the program.

These data provide support for this program which is unique for tailoring the intervention to the offender’s needs. Dr. Coulter, Dr. Vandeweerd, Ms. Estefan, Ms. de la Cruz and Mr. Dixit have been involved in this project.

The Villages

Approximately 13% of the U.S. population is over the age of 65 and it is projected that this will more than double by 2050, creating a new era of aging in America that will present new challenges and opportunities for ensuring a healthier, more vital older adulthood. In order to address these challenges and opportunities, it is vital that we understand the factors influencing successful aging through large scale population studies that focus on the needs of the aging population.

To this end, USF Health partnered with The Villages, an active, 55 and older community in central Florida, to conduct a formative assessment of factors related to residents’ health and quality of life. The Villages Project constitutes the largest comprehensive health survey of older adults ever undertaken. The exploratory study employed a two-phase, cross-sectional study design, utilizing a mixed-methods approach. In Phase I, focus groups were utilized to gather community input on salient issues related to quality of life and health as well as to inform survey design. Phase II included the administration of the quantitative survey to 88,527 older adults living in The Villages. The domains of the survey were: a) health behaviors; b) mental health; c) quality of life; d) access to health services; and e) social support/cohesion. These domains included questions aimed at assessing seniors perceptions of their safety and experience with harm.

Results from this study provide a foundation for more detailed examinations of potential models for successful aging both in The Villages as well as older adult populations in general. Better understanding of the physical, social and psychological dimensions of successful aging will assist in ensuring informed, cost-effective prevention and treatment services designed to reduce health complications and improved quality of life, including as a center focus, ways in which abuse and neglect in late life may be reduced or prevented. As The Villages Project moves forward, data gathered will have the capacity to impact essential innovations in multiple aspects of health for older adults while also contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge in this area.

Center for Community Research

As part of a Community Initiative Program, the RIWATCH organized "Joy of Reading" workshops in association with Lohit Youth Library Network to promote good reading habits among the school children of different schools in and around Roing, Lower Dibang Valley, India. The Coordinator Satyanarayanan, Mundayoor stressed upon the teachers to adopt play way method of teaching, story-telling and use low cost teaching aids to make learning more joyful and enjorable. The workshop session included story-telling, story-reading and poetry recitation. The children found the poetry quite interactive and stimulating. Around 200 children of Government Middle School and Future Generation School from abali and Hornbill School and Anakum Academy from Roing benefited from the programme.

At the initiative of RIWATCH, a "Chinzigoma Library" has been started at Abali village. About 30 readers, including school dropouts, visiting the library every day is quite encouraging. The RIWATCH proposes to extend the reading campaign to other schools in Dibang Valley region this year.