Research Centers & Institutes
Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness
Please Welcome CEQL Postdoctoral Fellow
My research focus is on improving cognitive health in patients with cardiovascular disease, thereby improving other healthcare outcomes such as self-care adherence, rehospitalizations, and quality of life. During my PhD program at the University of Michigan, I focused on the heart failure population and their cognitive impairments because these patients are very sick and need a lot of attention to their self-care activities. However, because of cognitive impairment, the patients often fail to follow their therapeutic regimen, which can lead to serious consequences and even death. Despite its significance, few treatments are available for patients with heart failure who have impaired cognition. Attention is one of the most impaired cognitive domains in heart failure patients, and it is very basic to learning new knowledge and skills and maintaining them. Thus, the purpose of my dissertation research was to conduct a randomized controlled study to test the efficacy of a natural restorative environment intervention to improve attention among heart failure patients and healthy adults (funding agency: American Heart Association). This intervention has a strong theoretical background and has been shown to improve attention in younger adults. It is also safe, feasible, cost effective, and importantly, enjoyable to perform. The study results indicated that patients with heart failure may improve their attention with the natural restorative environment intervention, although the heart failure condition may result in different responses to the intervention compared to healthy adults.
I believe that the natural restorative environment intervention has potential to improve attention function even in older individuals who have heart failure. As part of my postdoctoral fellowship, I plan to design a novel intervention that uses virtual reality to simulate the natural environment. In addition, I will conduct a more robust study to test dosage effects and long-term effects of the intervention. This study will allow me to determine the optimal intervention dose for attention improvement in the future.
Primary mentor: Susan J. Pressler, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN