The aim of the project on Social and Behavioral Sciences is to conduct interdisciplinary and multimethod research in order to understand how sociocultural, behavioral, and psychological factors influence: a) the aging process; b) access to, use, and quality of health care services; and c) patient, family, and organizational level outcomes. Our objectives are to:
  • Conduct research on caregiving and health and to develop effective interventions and policies to ameliorate social disparities, thereby Improving healthy aging and quality of life across the lifespan.
  • Provide training and mentorship to students and faculty to encourage them to investigate the sociocultural, behavioral, and psychological dimensions of health and aging. This involves lending expertise in social science methodologies to the field of medicine.
  • Interface with the surrounding community members and organizations to establish effective community outreach.
We strive to conduct all of the above activities in collaboration and consultation with the other Buehler Center projects and with other social scientists from the fields of psychology, demography, sociology, and health services research.

Culture Change for Technology Adoption in Long-term Care Facilities

In September 2008, Celia Berdes, PhD, MSPH, along with Presbyterian Homes colleagues Jane H. Grad, MBA (vice president of information management) and Mary Ann Anichini, MSN, GNP (director of Operation Excellence), completed their project to develop a person-centered care module within Caretracker™, a proprietary software that documents the care work of nurses aides in nursing homes. The project was supported by a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s "Innovations in Long-term Care Quality Grants Program." Together with a clinical team headed by Linda Dotson, RN, MSN, the project team identified the minimum set of information about person-centered care to be collected, designed and pilot-tested the software module and data reports, and trained all staff in how to use these tools. In addition, they conducted research on the residents’ preferences, values, and satisfaction with person-centered care and evaluated those aspects of the project that promoted its acceptance. The team reported the results of the project at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Life Services Network of Illinois.

Whitney P. Witt, PhD, MPH, at the 2005 Eckenhoff Lecture and Smart Symposium
EPEC-Long Term Care
Celia Berdes, PhD, MSPH, received a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation for a project called "Education in Palliative and End-of-life Care for Long-term Care (EPEC-LTC)." The project will develop and test a novel method to assess the need for person-centered/palliative care in nursing homes. The results of the needs assessment will be used to create an adaptation of the existing EPEC Curriculum for use in the long-term care setting.

Celia Berdes, PhD, MSPH, reported on the first pilot conference of the EPEC-Long-term Care Curriculum at the 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. She is also working with Joshua Hauser, MD, to develop funding for an interactive distance learning version of EPEC-Long-term Care.