Dionne-Odom named Sojourns Scholar

Leadership program through Cambia Health Foundation includes $180,000 grant to support palliative care research and project

Photo: Nicholas Dionne-OdomBy Erica Theco
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Assistant Professor J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN, is one of 12 Sojourns Scholars named by the Cambia Health Foundation for 2020.

Each year, Cambia Health Foundation selects a cohort of emerging palliative care leaders to receive $180,000 in funding for innovative and impactful clinical, policy, educational health equity or systems change project in the field of palliative care. In addition to funding, the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program also connects scholars and opens opportunities for collaboration and mentorship. The 2020 group is the seventh cohort.

"As a community that supports the development of visionary leaders who are transforming the paradigm of care for individuals and families with serious illness, being selected as a Cambia Sojourns Scholar is an incredible honor and recognition,” said Dionne-Odom, an academic nurse scientist whose research involves developing and testing early palliative care coaching interventions for underserved rural and African-American family caregivers.

“The Cambia Sojourns Leadership Program provides structured and personalized training, network expansion, and national mentorship to advance one's effectiveness and skill as a national palliative care thought leader and policy-change agent,” Dionne-Odom continued. “My leadership development through Cambia will focus on leading the development and implementation of digital health approaches to family caregiver and patient care in underserved contexts.”

Through this grant, Dionne-Odom will explore “digital phenotyping,” a method of data collection that utilizes smartphone data to predict distress in family caregivers and their loved ones with nearly diagnosed, advanced cancer. Through an app that collects de-identified, research quality data, this project will passively collect smartphone behavioral data such as GPS, anonymized call and text use, and more to detect behavioral anomalies.

“This method of data collection allows for quantification of a person’s moment-to-moment behavior using data from digital devices, such as smartphones,” he said. “This will allow us to better understand the impact of these diagnoses and needs of caregivers and their loved ones, which can be used to inform future palliative care interventions.”

Read 1222 times Last modified on September 30, 2021

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