||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Human Development Center|
Receives $50,000 grant
MAILED: April 29, 1999|
Ten University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire undergraduate students will spend their summer researching topics involving the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders in western Wisconsin.
Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Nation Center for Undergraduate Research/Lancy Foundation, students will look at how the pharmacological treatment of AD/HD affects children, teachers and health professionals in area schools. Some students will focus on professionals' knowledge, attitudes and experiences with youth with AD/HD. Other students will identify factors that predict whether American Indian youth at Lac du Flambeau will continue to use the prescribed medicine once they are able to make their own decisions.
"This is an opportunity to expand the Human Development Center's goals and move it in another direction," said Dr. Linda Carpenter, professor of communication disorders and co-author of the Lancy grant proposal. "When the HDC was created in 1974, it was envisioned as a practicum site for graduate students in several disciplines. Recently we expanded it to include undergraduate work in several service areas. This grant is a wonderful opportunity to expand what the HDC does with undergraduates into the research arena."
UW-Eau Claire's project was one of six funded out of 104 proposals submitted, Carpenter said, noting that such prestigious institutions as Drake were among those whose proposals were not funded.
"We're delighted about the whole thing shocked but delighted," Carpenter said. "We put together what we thought was a nifty proposal but we're knocked out that we got it. It's amazing. We beat out some stiff competition."
UW-Eau Claire's proposal was selected in lieu of proposals from other prestigious institutions in part because the HDC has a history of completing significant research in important areas, said Dr. William Frankenberger, professor of psychology, director of HDC and co-author of the grant. "What makes me feel good is that the work we've done over the years with AD/HD was viewed as important," he said, noting that most of that work was done collaboratively with students. "This grant will allow us to build on the research we're already doing."
It also confirms what faculty and staff at UW-Eau Claire and the UW System have long known that UW-Eau Claire is among the preeminent undergraduate student/faculty collaborative research institutions in the United States, Frankenberger said.
"The number and quality of applications underscore the expanding commitment in higher education to undergraduate research across disciplines," said Thomas Werner, chair of NCUR's development committee. "The institutions ultimately chosen demonstrated a broad interdisciplinary perspective regarding research, which was a major element in the selection process."
The grant will pay students' stipends and living expenses for a 10-week period, Carpenter said. Students from school psychology, family health nursing, communication disorders and special education will be involved. Faculty in those disciplines will help guide students through the research experience, she said. In addition to Carpenter and Frankenberger, Dr. Elaine Wendt of family health nursing and Dr. Vicki Snider of special education will work with the project.
"The idea is not to have student simply take classes and put in their hours," Carpenter said. "This is to be a focused, integrated research experience for a group of undergraduate students in the summer. We'll be asking questions that cut across the disciplines."
While the summer will be spent gathering information and determining methodology, data collection and analysis will continue throughout the 1999-00 academic year, Carpenter said. Students will continue to participate in the project via directed studies, she said, adding that projects will be completed in the spring so students can present the findings at the NCUR's annual conference and at UW-Eau Claire's annual Student Research Day.
HDC researchers have developed survey instruments that have been used to identify factors related to the increasingly controversial issue of the widespread treatment of children with psychoactive medications. In this project, researchers will use these factors to measure school professionals' knowledge of and attitudes toward the use, misuse, efficacy and side effects of the medications.
For example, while school nurses are at the center of the school medication controversy, little is known about their attitudes and insights relating to this topic. In this project, researchers will ask school nurses about their observations of the rate of increase in medication use in the schools. Also, nurses will be asked questions about the achievement, behavioral, social-peer, and social-teacher effects of the medications on students in the classrooms. Other topic areas will include the side effects of such medications, as well as nurses' observations related to the increasing problem of students selling and giving away their medication.
The second project will focus on factors that predict continued use of stimulant medication by Lac du Flambeau children and use with AD/HD. The study will extend the results of a collaborative study the HDC is currently conducting with the UW-Madison department of psychiatry investigating factors that influence compliance to treatment with stimulant mediation for adolescents and young adults.
"It's easy when children are young to make sure they take their medications," Carpenter said. "But as adolescents, they start to make those decisions for themselves. Many kids decide to take it and many do not. We want to look at what factors contribute to those decisions."
Youths on Indian reservations have been identified with AD/HD at substantially higher rates than youths who live off the reservations, Carpenter said. "So looking at AD/HD issues with Indian kids will be an important addition to what we know about it and what we know about Indian kids," she said. "It will add important information to our data base."
Having the chance to participate in this type of research as an undergraduate will help students get into graduate schools and more easily work in integrated teams later in their careers, Carpenter said. And with three-day beginning and ending retreats, it also will give students the chance to connect with faculty in a way they might not otherwise experience, she said.
"You can't put a value on what this adds to students' undergraduate experiences," Carpenter said. "The research they'll do is substantial and important to their fields. It's a powerful opportunity. In my view, it's the perfect way to spend a summer. It gets the brain cells clicking. It's exciting."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 29, 1999