Launching a Research Career with the APNA Research Grant
In 2017, Jenna Brager, PhDc, BSN-RN, MS and Allison McCord, BSN, RN were awarded APNA Research Grants to fund their innovative research. They discussed their work, what they hope to bring to the field of psychiatric-mental health, and what receiving this grant means to them below.
While an APNA Board of Directors Student Scholar in 2016, Jenna explored her growing interest in research at the APNA Annual Conference by connecting with other psychiatric-mental health nurses who shared her passion. "With the support of the APNA BOD Student Scholarship, I am able to continue to participate in experiences that contribute to my continued growth as a nurse scientist and independent researcher," she says. Pursuing her research interests in patient engagement and the use of mobile technology to promote positive outcomes, Jenna began exploring an evidence-based parenting program called ezParent. In 2017, she applied for and was awarded an APNA Research Grant.
With this funding, Jenna is examining the efficacy of a tablet-based delivery of the Chicago Parent Program (CPP). The original CPP focuses on equipping parents with the tools they need to foster a healthy familial environment. The electronic version (ezParent) is designed to be more accessible to a wider group of parents by promoting self-directed learning of skills. Inspired by the prevalence of social, emotional, and behavioral issues among children in the United States, Jenna proposed an evaluation of this program to determine its impact on strengthening parenting skills, promoting positive familial relationships, and reducing child behavioral issues.
“This work intends to further our understanding of how engagement changes over time, the factors associated with changes in level of engagement, and how engagement is related to improvements in health outcomes to inform more effective tailoring and improvements of mental health interventions, particularly those targeting vulnerable populations," she says.
Jenna credits the APNA Research Grant for enabling her to conduct this study. "The APNA Research Grant has afforded me the ability to implement an innovative mobile health study that would not have been possible without their gracious support. As a previous Board of Directors Scholar, I feel incredibly humbled and fortunate to have the ongoing support from APNA and look forward to the opportunity to submit my work to JAPNA," she says.
From a young age, Allison nurtured an interest in Hispanic culture. "My mother grew up in Central America [and] I minored in Spanish and lived abroad with a host family in Spain for a summer during my undergraduate career," she says. Upon returning to the US, she participated in an undergraduate research project with Latina youth in Indianapolis. "I realized that I could advocate for the Latino/a community on a larger level through conducting research, which led me to pursue my PhD upon graduating with my Bachelor's in Nursing," says Allison. "After learning about the mental health disparities that the Latino/a population experiences in the US, I chose to focus my research on the health disparity of depressive symptoms in Latina adolescents."
While in the 4th year of her Bachelor's to PhD program at the Indiana University School of Nursing, Allison applied for and received the APNA Research Grant. Using her background as a Graduate Research Assistant and a Predoctoral Fellow for both Behavioral Nursing Research and Leadership Education and Educational Health, Allison's dissertation focuses on how depressive symptoms, self-management behaviors, and treatment-seeking unfold over time for Latina adolescents. "Latina adolescents in the US are more likely to experience depressive symptoms and less likely to receive mental health services for depression than white adolescent girls," she says. "Through my qualitative dissertation study, I am interviewing Latina young women with a history of depressive symptoms during their adolescent years and gaining a more nuanced understanding of how culture intersects with economic, political, and interpersonal factors to influence these disparities."
By using the APNA Research Grant to fund transcription for her interviews, Allison can concentrate on creating a grounded theory that explains how Latina adolescents experience and manage their depressive symptoms. "Culturally sensitive strategies [can] better prevent, identify, and treat depression in this population," she says. "This [grant] has allowed me to focus my efforts on analyzing the data to develop a deep understanding of how Latina adolescents experience, self-manage, and seek mental health services for their depressive symptoms."
Inspired to fund your innovative research? Apply for the APNA Research Grant by March 20th!