Researchers at RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology are actively exploring new approaches to treating behavioral health issues and addressing the social ramifications of substance abuse, addiction and male aggression. Other research areas include community nutrition, global health issues, and autism and neurodiversity research.
Community Nutrition and Wellness
CHST is on a mission to improve the health and wellness of the population at every level – locally, nationally, and globally. To that end, CHST’s multi-faceted research is focused on ways to improve the accessibility of healthy dietary options, along with exploring the most effective ways to communicate not only the importance of nutrition, wellness, and exercise to diverse communities, but also to give them the tools and education necessary to incorporate it into their lifestyle.
By creating new programs, partnering with the No. 1-ranked supermarket chain in the country to form the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition, as well as establishing relationships with other key initiatives in the Rochester community such as Foodlink and Need for Tots, CHST’s research is making the community, and the world, a healthier place.
Helping Children in Ghana
International research addresses global health issues like childhood anemia in Ghana is the focus of current research and a study abroad experience for students. Assistant Professor Brenda Abu has developed a program that capitalizes on RIT’s goal of offering more global and experiential learning experience for its undergraduates, and it’s the first global research experience to be offered by the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition.
Robert Osgood, associate professor of biomedical sciences, conducts cutting-edge research on biofilms (self-attached microbial communities attached to living and non-living surfaces), specifically the environmental factors and conditions that influence biofilm development of bacterial pathogens of the oral cavity and ear. What sets this research apart from other universities is that undergraduate students are not only involved in the research, but that they present their findings at various conferences. And numerous students have won first-place awards for their research and presentations doing just that.
Infectious Diseases, Genetics and Immunology
Bolaji Thomas, an associate professor of molecular biology, focuses his current research on infectious diseases, population genetics, and immunology. He has received recognition for his academic and research endeavors from such world-renowned organizations as the American Association of Immunologists, The Wellcome Trust, Marine Biological Laboratories Fellowship, and UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Medicine.
Developing Autism and Neurodiversity Research
The Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation teaches effective coping skills to children and young adults with anxiety or autism through role-playing computer games integrated with biofeedback sensors and stress-reduction techniques; and provides research and services through the Parent Effectiveness Program for AutismUp, a Rochester-based organization for family members with autism.
Addressing Behavioral Health Issues
With a focus on addiction, trauma, family violence, and child and adult psychiatry, CHST’s behavioral health research focuses on the reciprocal relationship between the overall well-being of an individual and human behavior. Research in this area seeks to highlight the importance of the behavioral health-care field and the need for more clinicians and scholarship in the area. CHST acknowledges that improving behavioral and mental health care is a community effort, and as a result, actively forms community partnerships.
RIT and Rochester Regional Health Alliance
Sickle cell disease, malaria, and immunology are only a few of the subjects College of Health Sciences and Technology is researching as part of the fruitful partnership known as the RIT and Rochester Regional Health Alliance.
Research helps current students gain valuable lab experience and grants them the opportunity to solve unique problems faced by Rochester Regional Health. Some examples of the partnership’s innovation include unique methods to transport and process blood specimens, a mobile centrifuge and carrier, human-centered hand washing dispenser systems, wristband sanitizer, in-hospital patient tracking systems, blood cooler carrier inserts, and a feedback device designed to accelerate the recovery of those struggling with posture challenges.
Personalized Healthcare Technology at RIT
Behavioral health sciences researchers contributing to the Personalized Healthcare Technology (PHT180) initiative develop digital therapy and customizable avatars to be positive role models for people with aggression and alcohol/substance abuse issues.