From Dr. Grace Baranek, Associate Chair for Research

It’s been a very productive six months here in the Department of Allied Health Sciences since our last newsletter! We have added two new features that spotlight student scientists in the thick of their dissertations, as well as staff working “behind the scenes” to bring research to fruition.

A big note of thanks to the members of the Communications Subcommittee, especially Katie Belardi, second-year doctoral student in Speech and Hearing Sciences, for conducting a personal interview with Sumita Rege, fourth-year doctoral student in OS/OT studying the occupation of blogging; and Skip Ryan, Research Pages Web Manager, for conducting a personal interview with Christene Tashjian, Project Coordinator for the Early Development Project.

The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) has witnessed many fruits of their labor.  We welcomed Dr. Haibo Zhou, Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at UNC, to provide additional consultative supports to our faculty for grants and publications this year.   Faculty can request services through our new online e-request form (www.alliedhealth.unc.edu/research/biostats-support-request-form).

We’re also pleased to welcome Susan Lloyd Schulz, PA, MPH, as Research Coordinator/Grant Editor.  Susan has a background in public health research including many years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Susan will work 20 hours per week (primarily Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday), and can be reached at slschulz@med.unc.edu or in her office, Room 3008, Bondurant Hall.  DAHS faculty may request coordination/editing support for grant applications using the online form at www.alliedhealth.unc.edu/research/dahs-grant-support-request-form.

Thanks to funding from the Provost’s office, we are thrilled to open a search for two new faculty positions for research methodologists that will help us build our research mission and team science approach (read the description at www.alliedhealth.unc.edu/research/files/ResearchMethodologist.pdf).  We have also established a new policy for the Grant/Research re-Investment Fund (GRIF), which can be accessed at www.alliedhealth.unc.edu/research/policies-and-procedures-1/GRIF.pdf, to facilitate the work of productive teams.  I thank the DAHS administration/business office and RAC for all their support to making this happen.

Between July 1 and December 31, 2012, department research grant submissions numbered 21 and $3,311,313 was generated in total awards from grants.  We had two interdisciplinary research forums this fall, featuring Joy Bryde on “Conflict of Interest and the new Federal Regulations” (September), and a panel on “Instrument Development: Lessons Learned” that included Mary Lynn, Lauren Turner-Brown, Karen McCulloch, Katarina Haley, and Jenny Womack (October).   Check our calendar postings on the research Web page (www.
alliedhealth.unc.edu/research
) for upcoming forum speakers, scheduled for the fourth Wednesday of each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the spring semester.

We also sponsored an in-service by Dennis Schmidt (October) on Data Securities for Researchers, coordinated by John Bulluck.  A video of this presentation (http://echo2.med.unc.edu:8080/ess/echo/presentation/71741748-8643-403c-be5d-9f670062c45e) as well guidelines for researchers (www.alliedhealth.unc.edu/ahs/research/security) are posted for those that missed it or need a refresher.

In December, DAHS launched the next phase of the strategic planning process – the formation of Task Forces, comprised of faculty members from each of our six DAHS divisions together with representatives of the overall Strategic Planning Committee.  These task forces are  charged with developing detailed proposals for specific initiatives, tactics, and rationales to meet needs in five priority areas as follows: (1) Establish criteria and principles for DAHS educational programs that insure the programs lead to producing recognized future leaders, researchers, practitioners, and faculty; (2) Continue to build research by identifying strengths, engaging more faculty, and increasing collaborations within and external to SOM; (3) Establish and/or expand clinical operations within each division to enhance our educational and research missions, and to diversify revenue streams; (4) Ensure faculty are empowered to execute the department’s mission and strategies; and (5) Develop and implement a plan to effectively communicate the core mission and values of this department with external and internal constituencies.  We invite input from all DAHS faculty with regard to this strategic planning process and look forward to the task force reports at the end of the spring semester.

Our collective scholarship is indeed a reflection of the tremendous dedication of people at all levels and ranks, and we appreciate everyone who contributes to our mission.  It’s not just hard work that makes things happen–it’s the day-to-day collegial relationships of our teams.  We thank you all for your collegiality and wish you a joyful and prosperous 2013!

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