Scholarly Pairings for Academic & Research Collaboration (SPARC)

Overview

The SPARC program invites regional students at all levels from education, the social sciences, and other disciplines to explore opportunities to collaborate with faculty in the Department of Family Medicine (DFM), and in the Department of Pediatrics' (DP) Institute for Health Transition Training and other associated projects at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The primary goal for this program is to allow students and DFM and DP faculty to produce scholarly papers, presentations, and other academic output, together as collaborators. This allows the student to access populations, data, pre-doctoral publication opportunities, and potentially unique research opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them. At the same time, it allows DFM and DP faculty and collaborators to tap into the skills, knowledge, and expertise that many students already have.

This project has been made possible by intra-departmental funding and commitment of effort, as well as by a federal grant award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA grant D54HP23297 (Christopher P. Morley, PI). Through this award, additional opportunities to collaborate with facutly from the Department of Pediatrics, such as Dr. Nienke Dosa, exist as well (see SPARC associate list below for examples).

There are a wide range of topical areas, projects, and methods that students may explore via SPARC. The Division of Research and Academic Development oversees research covering several key areas, and takes a broad view of the concepts of research, academics, and development. Faculty academic interests within the division and within the department include, but are not limited to:

  • Research in the evaluation and improvement of Medical Education, particularly ways to prepare students for primary care and service to underserved populations;
  • Care for patients with developmental disabilities
  • Medical Ethics, Distributive Justice in Healthcare, and Medical Citizenship (see the Research Experience in Ethics and Health page for an exciting summer opportunity in this area);
  • Practice improvement and the delivery of quality primary health care within our region;
  • Mental/Behavioral Health in Primary Care;
  • Health disparities and health policy.

The Division of Research and Academic Development is also committed to employing the skills contained within the division that are typically associated with "research," such as survey design and implementation, data analysis, focus group and in-depth interviewing, and grant writing, to aid and assist the missions of the other divisions within our department. Therefore participation in SPARC may take several forms:

  • Students, especially advanced graduate students, may propose collaborative efforts which lead to co-authored publications, collaborative grant submissions, etc.
  • Students may sign on to work within an existing research project, bringing their unique skills and perspectives
  • The DFM also hires graduate and undergraduate students as interns, to help with tasks such as the development of educational materials, grant submission, and so forth.

SPARC Associates - Current and Former

Current SPARC Research Associates

roseamelia Carrie Roseamelia, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, where she has focused on the sociology of education, as well as on medical sociology. Ms. Roseamelia also has a working background in both health research as well as in educational institutional evaluation. Under the SPARC program, Ms. Roseamelia was hired as a half-time educational evaluator to assist in the evaluation of several programs within Family Medicine (the FM Clerkship and the RMED program), as well as a clinical skills course for all first and second year students at SUNY Upstate. She recently accepted a position as the full-time coordinator of the RMED program, and is writing the final chapters of her doctoral dissertation.

Morgan Pratte is an undergraduate student at SUNY University at Buffalo. She will be entering her junior year this fall as a Biomedical Sciences major. Morgan is currently working over the summer of 2012 in the Department of Family Medicine at Upstate Medical University as a summer research assistant, where she works with Dr. Morley on a variety of projects, including studies on medical education, childhood obesity, tobacco control and schizophrenia (the Genetic Psychiatry Cohort).  She plans to attend chiropractic school. Her research interests are broad but include disease prevention, management of chronic diseases, and mental health.

Jeanette M. Zoeckler MPH is a graduate of the CNYMPH program (2011). For her culminating project in this program, Ms. Zoeckler completed a mixed methods study exploring predictive factors for patients with work-related respiratory disease as they return to work (RTW) through the Occupational Health Clinical Center (OHCC), an operating unit of the Department of Family Medicine at SUNY Upstate. The work was supervised by Dr. Donald Cibula (CNYMPH), Dr. Michael Lax (Medical Director of OHCC and a faculty member in the DFM), and Dr. Morley. Following completion for her MPH, Ms. Zoeckler was appointed as a consulting post-graduate research fellow through the DFM, assigned to continue the RTW project and initiate a number of new studies. At present, the RTW project will be presented in a poster at the annual meeting American Public Health Association in October, 2012, and in two oral sessions at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in New Orleans in December 2012. Additionally, the first manuscript has been submitted to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, where it is presently under consideration.

 

SPARC Program Completers

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Jennifer Flad, Ph.D. our first SPARC associate in 2007-2008, is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, where she is an active mentor for undergraduate student research. While completing her dissertation in Medical Sociology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Professor Flad served as a collaborative research consultant and qualitative methods expert, conducting focus groups with medical students undergoing a new standardized patient examination format. This work resulted in a poster presentation at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) Annual Meeting in Novmber 2008. Additional posters and podium presentations were presented from the data Dr. Flad collected NAPCRG 2010 in Seattle and NAPCRG 2011 in Banff, and the first paper generated by this collaboration was published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine in October, 2011. Dr. Flad and Dr. Morley are currently in the process of writing a manuscript based upon a purely qualitative analysis of the transcripts of the focus groups mentioned above. Additionally, Dr. Morley, Dr. Flad, and a group of former and current SPARC associates (Dr. Kingston and Ms. Roseamelia) have created a Qualitative Research Methods workshop for NAPCRG that has been presented in 2010 and 2011, and will be again in 2012.
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Melissa Arthur, PhD, LMFT, completed her doctoral work in Counseling Education at the School of Education at Syracuse University. Dr. Arthur has worked as the behavioral scientist at St. Joseph's Hospital Family Medicine Residency for over a decade and a half, but began doctoral studies in 2005. Through the SPARC program, then-Ms. Arthur was hired to help develop and evaluate the Integrated Standardized Patient Evaluation (ISPE) that was developed for use in the Family Medicine Clerkship. This work was presented as a poster at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Montreal, Quebec in November, 2009, and several manuscripts are presently in production. Dr. Arthur also participated in a paper that was recently accepted for publication by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, with Co-authors Dr. Morley, Flad, Manyon, and others. Dr. Arthur presently lectures in the Family Medicine clerkship on mental health for primary care clinicians.

Lindsey Kingston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights at Webster University. She is a recent alum of the Social Science Program at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Dr. Kingston's primary research interest is in examining the effects of statelessness on the rights - and lives - of people around the globe. As a SPARC Graduate Research Associate, Dr. Kingston lead and co-authored a debate-format manuscript addressing the effects of statelessness and lack of nationality upon access to healthcare, as a collaborative effort between faculty in the Department of Family Medicine, and with Professor Elizabeth F. Cohen at the Maxwell School. This manuscript was presented at the 2010 Western Political Science Association annual meeting, and was subsequently published in the journal BMC International Health and Human Rights. The paper was also presented at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Seattle, Washington in November, 2010. Follow-up work on the ethical issues regarding displacement, migration, and access to healthcare will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming "Compendium and Atlas of Global Bioethics (Springer)." Additionally, Dr. Kingston worked with Dr. Morley, Dr. Flad, and Ms. Roseamelia to create a Qualitative Research Methods workshop for NAPCRG that has been presented in 2010 and 2011, and will be again in 2012.

Dr. Jennifer Selvarajah graduated from medical school at the University of London, completed her Family Medicine Residency Training in the United Kingdom, and is an Associate of The Royal College of General Practitioners. She spent several months working on project with faculty at SUNY Upstate, including great work on the Genetic Psychiatry Cohort. Dr. Selvarajah was accepted into the Psychiatry Residency Program at SUNY Upstate, where she began in July, 2010. Beginning in the summer of 2012, Dr. Selvarajah will again begin helping interview patients on an ad-hoc basis.

Ana Villarreal, MA, MS is a graduate of the University of Rochester (2009) with a BA in Economics and History, and a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University with dual Master's degrees through the Public Diplomacy program (MA- International Relations, MS- Public Relations). She has specific interests in Global Health Communications, as well as in Water and Sanitation Issues. Ms. Villarreal worked as a research intern and SPARC associate in the Department of Family Medicine examining factors that influence medical student interest in future global health practice and, more generally, in medical idealism. Preliminary results were presented at NAPCRG 2011 in Banff, Alberta. Ms. Villarreal is contributing to a manuscript currently in production, and future projects are under discussion.

Mary Grace Flaherty, Ph.D., M.S., M.L.S, worked with Drs. Dosa and Morley while she was a doctoral candidate at the School of Information Studies of Syracuse University.  She has experience working in academic, medical research, and public libraries.  As a SPARC associate, Ms. Flaherty worked closely within a collaboration between the Department of Family Medicine and faculty and staff from the Department of Pediatrics at SUNY Upsate Medical University, and specifically with Dr. Nienke Dosa and Kim Garver, MSW. Ms. Flaherty performed a chart review study over the summer of 2009, looking at information sharing patterns, and preferences, and health status of 130 adult patients at The Spina Bifida Center run by Dr. Dosa. This work was presented as a poster at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Seattle, Washington in November, 2010 by Dr. Dosa, with Ms. Flaherty and others as co-authors. Ms. Flaherty was also a panel member for a presentation entitled "Children and young people with disabilities: breaking new grounds and information worlds," at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). Ms. Flaherty also helped to write research protocols to be implemented in the near future for the Healthy Transitions Training Institute.

Natalie Jones is a graduate of Syracuse University (2010) with a BS in Biology and minor in Psychology. She worked in the Department of Family Medicine as a research intern, generally helping examine disparities in health workforce distribution and training programs to ameliorate these disparities, while she was pursuing her MPH in the CNYMPH program.. She is also helping conduct two studies via SALT-Net: a) a study of Vitamin D Deficiency screening and treatment norms in regional primary care practices; and b) a study of primary care provider participation in ILINet, the NYS system for Influenza-Like Illness surveillance.

Jordan Smith graduated with a B.A. in Mathematical Sciences from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2011, and completed a Master of Science student in the department of Biostatistics at the University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health in May, 2013. As a SPARC associate, Jordan is working over the Summer of 2012 with Dr. Morley, and SPARC affiliates Carrie Roseamelia and Ana Villarreal in examining the change in medical student idealism and work preferences over time.

Armin Arasheben, M.D.completed his Family Medicine resident at the St. Joseph's Hospital Family Medicine Residency in 2011. In addition to his interests in primary care, Dr. Arasheben is interested in sports medicine, and particularly in the care of elite athletes. Dr. Arasheben initiated worked on a literature review and meta-analysis on the effects of elite athletic competition by females on bone mass density and other metabolic outcomes with Ms. Kathleen Barzee, CPH, and Dr. Morley. The first paper from this work was presented as a poster at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Seattle, Washington in November, 2010, and was published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Arasheben is now working in private practice at San Fernando Valley, CA. He continues his involvement in athletic games coverage and care of musculoskeletal problems

Dr. Alevtina Durmashkina recieved her medical education and specialty training as a pediatrician at Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy in Russia, as well as a PhD in pediatrics research, before coming to the United States as an IREX Edmund G. Muskie graduate fellow. She recently completed joint masters degrees in public administration and international relations at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, focusing upon health policy. To complete her time in the United States as a Muskie fellow, she worked as a program analyst and research intern in the Deparmtnet of Family Medicine at SUNY Upstate, where she was engaged in several of our ongoing projects and evaluation efforts, including an evaluation of a medical bariatric intervention for children in collaboration with Dr. Morley and Dr. Wendy Scinta, and an evaluation of a chromic care model implementaion for diabetes in collaboration with Dr. Morley and the Family Health Network of CNY. She also worked on an extension of her doctoral work. Several of these projects were presented at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) in 2011. Dr. Durmashkina returned to Russia, where she presently practices pediatrics.

brianbuckley Brian Buckley graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University (2008), and is currently a MD/MPH candidate at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He completed the requirements for the MPH degree in December, 2011. Mr. Buckley is potentially interested in entering Family Medicine, and is currently a scholar in the Rural Medical Education Program (RMED) as of the Spring of 2012. As a SPARC associate, he worked with Dr. Morley, Dr. Epling, and Natalie Jones on a study of primary care provider participation in ILINet, the NYS system for Influenza-Like Illness surveillance, presented at NAPCRG 2011.
Celestia Ohrazda is working toward a PhD in Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation at Syracuse University, and her dissertation focuses on the validation of a causal model of technology integration, specifically targeting an educator's adoption of technologies in classroom instruction..  Her research explores the use of emerging technologies in learning environments outside the classroom. As a SPARC associate, Ms. Ohrazda served as a the usability engineer for the Healthy Transitions Training Institute.
Nathan Major is in his fourth year of medical school, and worked with Dr. Morley on the Genetic Psychiatry Cohort as a research elective during his MSIII term. His efforts were greatly appreciated!

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE IN ETHICS AND HEALTH FELLOWS

REEH Fellow, 2010

Kimberly Johnson, MS, RD is an instructor and PhD candidate at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, in the Social Science Program. Her research focuses on the implementation of trans-fat policies, and most specifically the recently-enacted trans-fat ban in New York City. Ms. Johnson is the inaugural Ethics & Health Fellow for the REEH program (Research Experieance in Ethics and Health), and examinied the enactment of food policies through the perspective ethical and political normative theory. A manuscript from this work is in development.

REEH Fellow, 2011
Kandace Geldmeier, MA, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion of Syracuse University, and was selected as one of two REEH fellows for 2011. For the fellowship, she examined the role of ritual in perinatal bereavment. Ms. Geldmeier has gone on to serve as a lecturer for the Yale summer program in bioethics for 2012, and continues to apply the work she did over the summer of 2011 to her doctoral research.
REEH fellow, 2011
Nicholas Moore, JD, recently completed his law degree at Syracuse University, and completed a Master of Public Health in the CNYMPH program. He was selected as one of two REEH fellows for 2011. For his fellowship, Mr. Moore examined the role of citizenship and health care rights for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. He went on to complete a data analysis of state funding of vaccination programs, and its effect on vaccination per state, for his MPH capstone project, with Dr. Morley and Dr. Epling serving as mentors.

A manuscript from the latter project is in development.
Kathrine%20Barnes.jpg REEH fellow, 2012
Kathrine Barnes is a PhD student in Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, with interests in citizenship, states of exception/emergency, and mental health. For the REEH mini-fellowship, Ms. Barnes is developing a paper on the ethics of preventive detention in cases of 1) quarantine and 2) civil commitment.
REEH fellow, 2013
Timothy Smilnak is a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University, currently between his first and second years. He is from Binghamton, NY, and received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Scranton, where he also completed a minor in History. After graduating in 2010, Tim joined the Syracuse-based FrancisCorps volunteer program and worked in Refugee Resettlement Services for Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. He worked predominantly with refugee youth, coordinating an after-school program for elementary-aged children and coaching a soccer team for teenage boys. After completing his year of service with FrancisCorps, Tim spent a year in Houston, TX, as a live-in house parent at Casa de Esperanza de los Niños, providing residential care for young children in crisis. Mr. Smilnak is exploring the ethical basis for the social mission of medical schools while in the REEH program.

SPARC Administration

The director of the SPARC Program is Christopher P. Morley, Ph.D. Dr. Morley is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Public Health and Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and also serves as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine. The Division of Research and Academic Development in the Department of Family Medicine aims to promote research, publication and scholarship within the Department of Family Medicine, with collaborators in other departments and at other instistutions, as well as to aid and assist the missions of the other divisions in the department through the lending of traditional research skills such as survey design and implementation, data analysis, focus group and in-depth interviewing, and grant writing. This broad scope provides a wide range of opportunities for those interested in becoming SPARC associates.

Contact Information

Questions and inquiries may be directed to:

Christopher P. Morley, PhD
Department of Family Medicine
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Madison Irving Medical Center, Suite 200
475 Irving Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210

E-mail: morleycp@upstate.edu
Phone: 315-464-6960 or 315-464-7010 (assistant)

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