Patrick Shih, an assistant professor of informatics at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been honored with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award by the National Science Foundation.
The CAREER award supports early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Shih was recognized for his proposal “Co-designing a Service Exchange Model for Sustaining Community-based Respite Care,” which focuses on supporting the health and wellbeing of underserved and vulnerable populations. The study will provide preliminary evidence as to whether a community-based respite care network can have an impact on alleviating caregiver burden.
“The NSF CAREER award is a recognition of my professional achievements,” Shih said. “I am very appreciative of my colleagues and collaborators who have contributed to this line of research. Personally, I have two young children and I am a firm believer in the conventional wisdom that it takes a village to raise a child. The award could align both my research and perspective toward family life, and I think this will make my career that much more rewarding.”
This project aims to gain an understanding of effective online service exchange mechanisms for facilitating respite care. Respite care can provide a chance for primary caregivers to take a break from their long-term caregiving work for sick or disabled family members as well as encourage them to participate in the workforce outside of caregiving. The research will investigate the sociotechnical factors that are crucial for developing an affordable and accessible respite care service exchange platform that leverages the shared caregiving needs within a local community.
The project will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of respite care practices and factors that impact effective respite care, including barriers such as financial, technical, skill-based, and social-inhibitions to receiving care through interviews and co-design workshops with stakeholder groups. A service exchange prototype also will be developed to address the care needs in underserved and vulnerable communities, building it based on user-centered design and usability testing.
Finally, Shih will complete a 12-week pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of the platform on reducing caregiver burden, facilitating perceived trust, and improving care quality of patients, primary caregivers, and respite caregivers during caregiving and care transition.
Shih hopes his findings can revitalize and strengthen the sense of community and develop a systematic approach to providing community-based care.
“Making a positive impact on people’s lives through the use of technology is one of the core missions of our school,” said Kay Connelly, associate dean for research at the Luddy School. “Patrick has long been an innovator in improving the care and well-being of underserved populations, and this CAREER award will help him expand his efforts in this critical area.”