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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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About Our Research
Active Projects

The rigorous, interdisciplinary research programs at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy — including our more than $27.6 million of active, federally funded projects as well as projects that have been completed — pursues and generates knowledge with relevant outcomes for real-world interventions that improve human health, quality of life and well-being. The division’s portfolio includes research grants, training grants and contracts. Projects currently within their active period are below.

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Beyond CoYoT1: Expansion of Patient-Centered Virtual Care ⟩

Health Core ⟩ LRCC Lab ⟩

The purpose of this study is to develop and disseminate a toolkit for an evidence-based patient-centered telehealth and shared medical appointment care model for young adults with type 1 diabetes. Previously implemented among a low-SES, racially and ethnically diverse population receiving care at a…

Period: Oct 2021 – Sep 2024

Private Funding $264,000

Co-developing the ¡Vivir Mi Vida! lifestyle intervention for rural-living Latinos of safety-net health care systems ⟩

Health Core ⟩ HART Lab ⟩

This project employs a community-based participatory research approach with Visión y Copmpromiso to optimize the ¡Vivir Mi Vida! lifestyle intervention for older rural-living Latinos in the Coachella Valley of California.

Period: Jul 2024 – May 2025

Private Funding $122,504

Demolishing Barriers to Democratize Future Construction Operations by Providing Multi-sensory Capabilities for Effective Remote Work ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ MSOP Lab ⟩

Teleoperation (i.e., operating a machine from a distance outside the operator’s line of sight) is an emerging technology in construction that has many potential benefits, such as increasing workplace safety and engaging a more diverse workforce. Teleoperation will require new skills for…

Period: Oct 2022 – Sep 2026

Federal Funding $1,799,999 (anticipated)

Detecting and mapping stress patterns across space and time: Multimodal modeling of individuals in real-world physical and social work environments ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ MSOP Lab ⟩

Stress has been identified as the health epidemic of the 21st century, and office-related work is a significant driver of stress among Americans due to long hours, rapid deadlines, heavy workloads, and job insecurity. Yet, office workers are often entirely unaware of the impact of stress until they…

Period: Sep 2022 – Aug 2026

Federal Funding $1,099,995 (anticipated)

Developing a lifestyle-focused self-management intervention for diabetic foot ulcers offloading ⟩

Health Core ⟩ HART Lab ⟩

The aims of this study are to co-develop a lifestyle-based occupational therapy intervention to address self-management for people who have been prescribed diabetic foot ulcer offloading.

Period: Apr 2024 – Mar 2025

Intramural Funding $124,999

Effects of Global Brain Health on Sensorimotor Recovery After Stroke ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ NPNL Lab ⟩

The neurobiology of post-stroke sensorimotor recovery is not fully understood. Current research on stroke recovery focuses on two spatial levels of brain injury: the focal level (i.e., the lesion and brain structures directly affected by the stroke, such as the corticospinal tract) and the network…

Period: Apr 2020 – Mar 2025

Federal Funding $3,094,939

Evaluation of a Complex Behavioral Intervention for Young Adults with Diabetes: The Resilient, Empowered, Active Living-Telehealth (REAL-T) Study ⟩

Health Core ⟩ LRCC Lab ⟩

Young adulthood is a challenging life stage for many with T1D; only 17% of 18-25 year olds and 30% of 26-30 year olds attain recommended HbA1c targets, and only 2% consistently perform diabetes self-care in accordance with national guidelines. To address these issues, our research team developed the…

Period: Feb 2019 – Dec 2023

Federal Funding $3,550,408 (anticipated)

Facilitating post-COVID return-to-work: Triangulating patient, provider, and employer perspectives ⟩

HOPE Lab ⟩

This study aims to support post-COVID return-to-work (RTW) processes and outcomes by identifying facilitators and barriers for RTW utilizing three stakeholder perspectives — people recovering from COVID-19, healthcare providers at COVID clinics, and human resources professionals. The project will…

Period: Feb 2023 – Jan 2024

Internal Funding $49,605

Function and Emotion in Everyday Life with Type 1 Diabetes (FEEL-T1D) ⟩

Health Core ⟩ LRCC Lab ⟩

It is generally understood that fluctuations in blood glucose are both distressing and intrusive for people with type 1 diabetes, yet diabetes research to date has primarily relied on global, retrospective measures that cannot capture the relationships between acute blood glucose fluctuations,…

Period: Apr 2019 – Mar 2024

Federal Funding $3,157,103 (anticipated)

Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program ⟩

The growing older adult population coupled with a shortage of an adequately trained health care workforce requires innovative models of care delivery and training to create a geriatric competent primary care workforce. The USC Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is a three year, $2.5…

Period: Jul 2015 – Jun 2024

Federal Funding $205,457 (anticipated)

Implementation of the Baby Bridge program via telehealth to enhance access to early intervention services in Los Angeles ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ NICU Lab ⟩

The long-term goal of this project is to improve health and well-being of infants and families impacted by neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization through early occupational therapy (OT). High-risk infants discharged from the NICU experience developmental challenges. Early OT: 1)…

Period: Sep 2021 – Apr 2024

Private Funding $100,000

Learning Health Systems Rehabilitation Research (LeaRRn) Learning Health Systems Scholar — Data visualization for adults with disorders of consciousness ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ ReFReSH Lab ⟩

As a LeaRRn LHS Scholar, Dr. Cogan will partner with Dr. Joe Giacino at Spaulding Rehabilitation, with mentorship from Drs. Mary Slavin and Lewis Kazis. Her project will focus on creation of tools to visualize assessment data from electronic health records to support clinical decision making and…

Period: Aug 2023 – Jul 2024

Federal Funding $15,000

Mechanism to Promote Safe and Efficient Oral Feeding in Preterm Infants ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ NICU Lab ⟩

Oral intake is an important indicator of weight gain and development for premature infants, especially as they approach discharge from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). However, the underlying skills for oral feeding such as coordinating suck-swallow-breathe, state regulation, and maintenance…

Period: May 2021 – Apr 2024

Federal Funding $1,730,866 (anticipated)

Mitigating Risk and Promoting Occupational Safety and Health When Developing and Integrating AI in the Workplace ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ MSOP Lab ⟩

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most significant emerging technologies with high potential to impact occupational safety and health, which has been highlighted as a national priority in the founding of the National AI Initiative and as a key component of the NIOSH Future of Work…

Period: Sep 2022 – Aug 2024

Federal Funding $64,970 (anticipated)

Multisensory Interventions to Improve Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Infants Hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ NICU Lab ⟩

During hospitalization in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), premature infants repeatedly experience negative sensory experiences. Evidence suggests that combined with prematurity, experiences in the NICU environment are disruptive to neurodevelopment. The Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory…

Period: Mar 2022 – Mar 2027

Federal Funding $3,911,770 (anticipated)

Reconceptualizing third places: Countering social isolation in lives without workplaces ⟩

HOPE Lab ⟩

The purpose of this study is to re-conceptualize “third places” by exploring how they are situated in the lives of people without distinct work places.

Period: Mar 2022 – Mar 2026

Federal Funding $245,440

Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for Children with and without Dental Fear and Anxiety ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ TEM Lab ⟩

Dental fear and anxiety (DFA) characterizes up to 42% of the pediatric population and predicts negative behaviors in the dental clinic, irregular appointment attendance, need for general anesthesia, and poor oral health. Sensory over-responsivity (SOR), which occurs in up to 33% of the pediatric…

Period: Apr 2022 – Mar 2029

Federal Funding $5,680,950 (anticipated)

Sensory and Social Development in Infants and Toddlers (SASI) ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ insp!re Lab ⟩

SASI is a longitudinal study which aims to understand individual differences in social and sensory development in typically developing and high-risk infants and toddlers. This study examines these domains through behavioral and physiological measures. We will be looking for families with an infant…

Sensory Experiences Project (SEP) ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ insp!re Lab ⟩

The SEP was a 10-year longitudinal study that has concluded enrollment and is in the data analysis phase. The purpose of this project was to explain the development, functional impact, and pathogenesis of unusual sensory experiences in children with ASD, developmental delay and/or typical…

Period: Jul 2008 – Jun 2014

Federal Funding $2,516,180

Southern California Child Development Survey (SoCal CDS) ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ insp!re Lab ⟩

SoCal CDS is a survey study examining children’s development from 6 to 16 months of age in domains such as social communication and sensory regulation. We are recruiting families from communities within the greater Los Angeles area to collect normative data on a diverse population. Participants…

Supporting Improved Clinical Decision Making in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Through Greater Accuracy and Precision of Neurobehavioral Common Data Elements ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ ReFReSH Lab ⟩

Advances in science have resulted in many survivors of traumatic brain injury living in disordered states of consciousness for up to two decades. However, we have not advanced the state of the science to foster traumatic brain injury survivor’s functional recovery. A critical challenge in…

Period: Sep 2022 – Mar 2024

Federal Funding $299,639

Toward Development of a Comprehensive, In-Home, Active Seating System to Lessen Sedentariness and Improve Health and Wellness in Older Adults ⟩

Health Core ⟩ HART Lab ⟩

National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Aging (NIA), Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) FitSitt is an innovative device tailored to older adults that increases the convenience of breaking up sedentary activity and incorporating physical activity into in-home daily…

Period: Aug 2021 – Jul 2024

Federal Funding $98,827 (subcontract)

Transforming Research: Understanding Sensory Experiences in ASD, Stakeholders Working Together — TRUST ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ Boundary Crossings Lab ⟩

Background Many in the research community do not understand the problems facing individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan, particularly related to sensory processing. Academics may not know what questions to ask or problems to solve without input from the community. Most…

Period: Jan 2020 – Jan 2022

Private Funding $243,581

USC Center for Mindfulness Science ⟩

MSOP Lab ⟩

The USC Center for Mindfulness (CMS) is a research collaborative that aims to contribute meaningful understanding to the component psychological and biological processes underlying mindfulness and to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between mindfulness and well-being as well as…

Period: Jul 2018 – Jun 2024

Intramural Funding $180,000 (anticipated)

USC SensoriMotor Assessment and Rehabilitation Training in Virtual Reality Center ⟩

ReHaB Core ⟩ NPNL Lab ⟩

The primary objective of this proposed project is to establish USC as a world leader in the use of virtual technologies for healthcare, through the expansion of the USC SensoriMotor Assessment and Rehabilitation Training in Virtual Reality Center (USC SMART-VR Center), a multidisciplinary center…

Period: Jul 2019 – Jun 2022

Intramural Funding $90,000 (anticipated)

Using Machine Learning with Real-World Data to Identify Autism Risk in Children ⟩

SIEFL Core ⟩ DREAmS Lab ⟩

Delayed diagnosis and under-identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have significant personal, public health, and economic impacts; and girls and Latino children are disproportionately impacted by this problem, in part because clinicians are less likely to recognize ASD risk factors in them…

Period: Mar 2022 – Feb 2024

Federal Funding $468,562 (anticipated)