COVID-19 Impacts and Innovations

Recorded five-minute presentations for the Undergraduate Scholarly Showcase in Category A: COVID-19 Impacts and Innovations, Projects A-01 through A-11.

Reviewers: Link to Evaluation Form


A-01: Children and Adolescents Affected by COVID-19: The Influence and Use of Media

Anna Bertsch-Jones, Communication
Project Advisor: Dr. Nancy Jennings
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Throughout the semester, I have been working on a research project alongside Professor Nancy Jennings on how COVID-19 is affecting the well-being of children during the pandemic, and how media-including social media, gaming systems, and other technological platforms-have helped or negatively affected these children as they navigate this unprecedented time. With the public discourse about children's media use and school safety concerns, Professor Jennings conducted online interviews of 36 young people ages 9-14 years to learn about (1) their life situations, including school experience, (2) their overall media use, (3) their overall worries and difficulty with their situations, and (4) their stress management and coping strategies during the fall semester of 2020. To assist Professor Jennings, I studied five different cases through a qualitative approach, analyzing transcripts of online interviews with these tweens. Through my cases, I analyzed the cases of three young girls and two boys. The preliminary findings of the project suggest that tweens engaged in media, non-media, and hybrid coping strategies to relieve stress, enhance their mood, and stay connected to others outside their home. The experiences and vulnerabilities of this population also take place against the backdrop of a marked rise in media use among children, adolescents, and teens in a time of physical isolation from school settings, family members, and the wider community. 


A-02: Improving Adherence to COVID-19 Precautions Among Future Healthcare Professionals (Group 1)

Megan Lacanilao, Nursing
Renee Branson, Nursing
Project Advisor: Dr. Jeanine Goodin
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Worldwide, COVID-19 is attributed to 114 million cases and 2.54 million deaths since January 2020. The purpose of our educational project is to educate future healthcare professionals about the benefits of social distancing, effectively wearing masks, and receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations in hopes of decreasing the transmission rate of COVID-19. In addition, we want to measure willingness to adhere to these current guidelines. We will conduct an educational presentation in which we will emphasize the benefits of the current guidelines in hopes of improving adherence. We will measure results with a test given prior to the presentation and a test given after the presentation. The pre-test and post-test will be used to measure the knowledge and effectiveness of our presentation to improve willingness to adhere to current recommended guidelines. The results and conclusion from our presentation are still pending at this time.


A-03: Improving Adherence to COVID-19 Precautions Among Future Healthcare Professionals (Group 2)

Will Hartkemeyer, Nursing
Max Bishop, Nursing
Tanner Bowman, Nursing
Project Advisor: Dr. Jeanine Goodin
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Worldwide, COVID-19 is attributed to 114 million cases and 2.54 million deaths since January 2020. The purpose of our educational project is to educate future healthcare professionals about the benefits of social distancing, effectively wearing masks, and receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations in hopes of decreasing the transmission rate of COVID-19. In addition, we want to measure willingness to adhere to these current guidelines. We will conduct an educational presentation in which we will emphasize the benefits of the current guidelines in hopes of improving adherence. We will measure results with a test given prior to the presentation and a test given after the presentation. The pre-test and post-test will be used to measure the knowledge and effectiveness of our presentation to improve willingness to adhere to current recommended guidelines. The results and conclusion from our presentation are still pending at this time.


A-04: Improving Vocal Health in Mask-Wearing Community Workers

Kelly Carraro, Speech Language Hearing Science
Lauren Humpert, Speech Language Hearing Science
Project Advisor: Dr. Victoria McKenna
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With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many community members are required to wear face masks. However, people report difficulty speaking through masks and no public health education tools are currently available. Therefore, the purpose of our project was to develop and test educational content to help community members improve masked-based communication. First, we developed and vetted educational content via interviews with voice experts (n=8) and mask-wearing community members (n=10). We then created four finalized educational modules (see vsmechlab.com/outreach). To test the impact of these  modules on behavioral outcomes, we enrolled 5 healthcare providers in two sessions, both at the end of their workweek. In session 1, we examined their current communication problems, use of strategies, and their self-perceived dyspnea (shortness of breath) and vocal effort during readings with and without a mask. Then, we showed them the educational modules and assessed their understanding. In session 2, we reassessed their communication strategies, their module information retention, and their dyspnea and effort during masked communication. The results showed that participants were able to learn and retain the educational content provided with test/re-test accuracy > 90%. Participants increased their use of communication strategies from sessions 1 to 2, especially in improved posture, increased hydration, and articulated speech. However, participants continued to report elevated amounts of dyspnea and vocal effort when communicating with a mask. In conclusion, health education may be beneficial to mask-wearing healthcare workers, but more work is needed to alleviate their consistent reports of increased vocal effort throughout their workday.


A-05: Modern Redlining: Recognizing the Impact of Digital Redlining and Implicit Bias during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sai Reddy, Medical Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Renata Schiavo
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At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, populations across the United States of America were thrust into a virtual medium through which daily operations were conducted. Broadband companies continued to redline historically marginalized populations living in low-income communities through a process called "modern redlining" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the emphasis on telehealth during the pandemic uncovers an increased number of implicit biases, which fuel this emerging form of redlining. To combat this prevalent issue, Health Equity Initiative, a non-profit organization with the mission of championing transformative change to advance health equity by enlisting efforts of the public and private sector, engaging communities and leaders, and building capacities of community organizations to address barriers to equitable health, planned and implemented an informative webinar for 200 community organization representatives who serve populations that are tormented by health inequities across the world. The initiative was designed to capacity build for attending organizations to learn more about modern redlining as well as implicit biases as they relate to promoting health equity with the mission of educating these organizations, their populations of interest, and stimulating social change to avoid both barriers to health. At the conclusion of the program, multiple follow-up surveys at different time points were provided to each of the attendees in order to quantitatively and qualitatively measure the impact of the immersive educational program.


A-06: Navigating Online Curriculum in Nursing School During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Group 1)

Lily Canterbury, Nursing
Stephanie Sturm, Nursing
Sydney Cotton, Nursing
Project Advisor: Dr. Mohammed Othman
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Background: Life grinded to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but nursing school and other essential services had to continue. Universities rapidly shifted from traditional learning methods to online lecture. Historically there have been many advantages to an online curriculum; however, the unprepared transition posed many disadvantages to traditional BSN students across the United States. Seventy-eight percent of nursing students claim they feel ill-prepared to complete clinical skills when taught them online. Purpose: This educational session aims to assist undergraduate nursing students adjust to online curriculum to make them more successful in their courses and clinical work. Methods: The design method utilizes a PowerPoint to provide teaching for the three topics: the importance of designated study places for online learning, the importance of sufficient internet connection, and the importance of interaction and collaboration (including breakout meetings and simulated online learning clinicals). This session was presented remotely via WebEx, due to current COVID restrictions. After obtaining our pre-test and post-test results, we expect to find that students will feel more confident and successful in navigating the online nursing curriculum and using that as a new benchmark for education after participating in our online learning teaching seminar (results and conclusions pending).


A-07: Navigating Online Curriculum in Nursing School During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Group 2)

Derek Herman, Nursing
Mason Wright, Nursing
Lauren Ruehrwein, Nursing
Project Advisor: Dr. Lori Catalano
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Background: Life grinded to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but nursing school and other essential services had to continue. Universities rapidly shifted from traditional learning methods to online lecture. Historically there have been many advantages to an online curriculum; however, the unprepared transition posed many disadvantages to traditional BSN students across the United States. Seventy-eight percent of nursing students claim they feel ill-prepared to complete clinical skills when taught them online. Purpose: This educational session aims to assist undergraduate nursing students adjust to online curriculum to make them more successful in their courses and clinical work. Methods: The design method utilizes a PowerPoint to provide teaching for the three topics: the importance of designated study places for online learning, the importance of sufficient internet connection, and the importance of interaction and collaboration (including breakout meetings and simulated online learning clinicals). This session was presented remotely via WebEx, due to current COVID restrictions. After obtaining our pre-test and post-test results, we expect to find that students will feel more confident and successful in navigating the online nursing curriculum and using that as a new benchmark for education after participating in our online learning teaching seminar (results and conclusions pending).


A-08: Negative Social Determinants of Health Affecting Risk for COVID-19 among African American and Latino Communities

Noelle Pool, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anianette Wells
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This research shows how negative social determinants of health can put African Americans and Latinos, at a greater risk of COVID-19. Past research has shown that African Americans and Latinos are at a more likely to experience negative social determinants of health, such as poor food access, problems with transportation, unemployment, and problems with health care access due to racism and institutional racism, which  creates greater risk of COVID-19 for these communities. COVID-19 has brought to life, how big of an issue these disparities are, but we need to explore the question of, "Why?" For this reason, a qualitative study was conducted interviewing 5 African Americans and 5 Latinos through telephone and in person interviews from Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center in Cincinnati. Preliminary data shows that jobs, food access, and social distancing were issues for African American and Latino communities, increasing the risk of COVID-19. The data also points to policy issues, that further create risk and disparities.


A-09: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Abuse and Neglect Reporting in Child Welfare

Emily Daniel, Social Work
Project Advisor: Dr. Anjanette Wells
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way-of-life for all people, including children being sexually abused, physically abused, and neglected. These children also encountered mandated reporters at a rate much lower than ever before. To test whether or not these factors have an impact on sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect reports made to child welfare agencies, this study explores report data and employee surveys at the Warren County Children Services agency. Although there is a difference in reports made after COVID-19 restrictions were implemented compared to previous years, the differences are not significant. Implications of these findings are discussed to child welfare agencies exploring the best options to protect children being harmed during the pandemic; these children are not exposed to their communities as frequently. For example, how will child welfare agencies better discover what children are being harmed and are in need of services?


A-10: Stress and Burnout in Healthcare Providers Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kathryn Byrne, Health Sciences
Claire Bruening, Health Sciencea
Bailey Black, Health Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Susan Kotowski
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Healthcare workers have faced especially challenging times during the Covid-19 pandemic, likely more so than any other profession. The aim of this study was to evaluate how Covid-19 impacted healthcare provider stress and burnout, assess how their work changed during the pandemic, and what work-life challenges they faced. A survey was developed in RedCap and sent out to healthcare workers in a number of professions (physician, nurse, therapist, dietician, etc.) across practice locations (in-patient, out-patient, in-home, etc.).


A-11: What Type of Silk Should be Used for Making Home-made Masks?

Janette Espino, Biological Sciences
Project Advisor: Dr. Patrick Guerra
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My project consists on collecting data on the hydrophobicity of different silk materials using a protocol for measuring the contact angle of a water droplet over time on a silk fabric. It is a continuation of the work published early last year "A laboratory-based study examining the properties of silk fabric to evaluate its potential as a protective barrier for personal protective equipment and as a functional material for face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic" by Adam F. Parlin, Samuel M. Stratton, Theresa M. Culley, and Patrick A. Guerra.

The process will consist of applying a 5uL droplet onto a piece of fabric and taking a time-lapse photos every 5 seconds to determine how quickly a droplet penetrates a fabric and taking images of the weave and structure of the silk fabric to determine threads per inch and thickness.

The silk materials tested for contact angle will be used to inform design of a silk face covering which would help with prolonging the longevity and utility of surgical masks and N95 masks. A mask that is more hydrophobic has a higher chance of protecting the surgical mask / N95 respirator underneath more effectively.

Additionally, the height and width of the droplet will be measured. This will allow us to understand how droplets, which may contain virus particles, interact with the fabric's surface. If the rate of change is fast then the droplet is being absorbed, whereas if the rate of change is slow it is slowly spreading or evaporating.