Research

Dr. Andrasi is continuing to focus her research efforts on practices related to teaching and learning. This year she is part of a research project entitled “Seeking Excellence in Teaching and Learning: A Community of Practice.” This is an interdisciplinary project conducted with Dr. Steven Ebert from Occupational Therapy; Dr. Lisa Singleterry, Dr. Kelley Pattison, and Ms. Joanne DeWit from Nursing; Ms. Marie Moreno from Business; Dr. Brian Gogan from English; and Dr. Sue Caulfield from Health Services and Sciences along with Dr. Andrasi from Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness. The purpose of the research is to provide a group of faculty members regular contact with a community of teachers engaged in the exploration of evidenced based teaching strategies generated through shared readings, tested in classrooms, and processed via a structured reflection model. Participating faculty members come from across the university.

Dr. Lori Gray is currently involved in a variety of scholarly activities.  A mindfulness intervention research project resulted in a publication in the Journal of Innovation in Higher Education, titled “The Effectiveness of a Mindfulness Meditation Module for Students Who Have Aged Out of Foster Care” (Gray, L.,Font, S., Unrau, Y., & Dawson, A.). She presented this research via teleconference in a poster session at the 3rdInternational Conference on Mindfulness hosted by the University of Amsterdam; she has submitted a proposal to present the full paper at the 4thInternational Conference on Mindfulness at Aarhus University, Denmark.  

Dr. Gray has recently submitted two manuscripts, the first, titled “An Evaluation of Offering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training in a Rural Community Setting” was presented at the 2ndInternational Conference on Mindfulness at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. The second submitted manuscript, “A Coaching Model to Support College Students from Foster Care” details the innovative coaching program offered at WMU’s Office for Fostering Student Success, where Dr. Gray also serves as Faculty Associate.

She is currently involved in other ongoing projects, including a study investigating the use of biofeedback and mindfulness training for WMU students who have aged out of foster care (WMU’s Seita Scholar’s program). Dr. Gray was awarded a FRACAA grant through WMU to fund a project with the Seita Scholar’s Program in collaboration with Dr. Nathanael Okpych, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut; the study will focus on students’ social networks, attachment styles, and resilience.  Dr. Gray continues to pursue research related to teaching mindfulness curricula in higher education. Her paper presentation titled, “The Impact of a Mindfulness Curriculum on Self-Reported Health and Well-Being in University Students” was accepted to be presented at the 10th International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society, at the University of Sorbonne, Paris, France.

Dr. Janet Hahn is principal investigator (PI) of a training development project for skilled nursing facilities in Michigan titled Online Ethics Training Highlighting Improvement in Care and Compliance in Skilled Nursing Facilities (O-ETHICCS). Robert Bensley is the co-PI of this project funded by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Civil Money Penalties. Funding for this three-year project began in October 2018 for a total of $378,230.

Dr. Hahn has recently directed a three-year study focused on behavioral interventions in skilled nursing facilities in Michigan. The co-PI on this study was Dr. Jonathan Baker from the WMU Department of Psychology. The project was titled Implementing Behavioral Analysis and Intervention for Individuals with Cognitive Impairment in Skilled Nursing Facilities, and funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Civil Money Penalties. This three-year project was funded in May 2016 for a total of $324,830. This project resulted in a report Implementing Behavior Analysis and Intervention for Individuals with Cognitive Impairment in Skilled Nursing Facilities:  Summary of Results, Janet S. Hahn, Jonathan C. Baker, Sandra Wagner, Andrea Perez, Minyoung Kim, Sydney Bulock, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI, May 2019. Analysis of data continues on this project and many related manuscripts are underway.

Dr. Hahn continues to analyze compliance violations in Michigan Homes for the Aged and is working on a manuscript describing these data and comparing disparity in regulations for assisted living with regulations for child care organizations.

Dr. Tiffany Lee is the coordinator of the Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SPADA). Her research interests include addiction training in counselor education and diversity issues in treatment. From 2015 to 2018, Dr. Lee was the project director and the principal investigator of a $526,193 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant project entitled SBIRT Training for Students and Community Organizations in the Health Professions in West Michigan. This grant was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and involved a three-year research study related to screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Dr. Lee is key personnel and heads up the SBIRT trainings that occur with students and health professionals in the state of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula.

From 2019 to 2022, Dr. Lee will be working with an interdisciplinary team of WMU faculty from Social Work, Occupational Therapy, and Public Health on a $1.3 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant entitled, Michigan Youth Prevention and Recovery from Opioid Youth Disorders (MY-PROUD).

Dr. Michele McGrady is currently conducting research on the impact of regular contemplative practices in the classroom on perceived stress and self-compassion in college students. Funding for the study was provided by an instructional development project grant from the Office of Faculty Development.  Recently, Dr. McGrady collaborated with SIHP faculty member, Dr. Shannon McMorrow, on a grant application entitled, “Assessing Psychological and Social Wellbeing of International Students using the PERMA model and Photovoice”. Dr. McGrady recently presented at the International Society for Teaching and Learning conference as well the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education annual conference.

Dr. Jill E. Rowe is a medical anthropologist and assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs at Western Michigan University. Throughout her academic career her research has largely centered on health seeking behaviors in vulnerable populations with an emphasis on African American cultural practices and history. Her current research project focuses on the health traditions of African American farmers in the Midwest in the nineteenth century. Other research interests include free African American and mixed-race communities in the Old Northwest, health and mental health service inequities in rural African American communities, and rural African American people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).  Invisible in Plain Sight: Self-Determination Strategies of Free Blacks in the Old Northwest (2017) is her most recent publication.

Dr. Dennis Simpson focuses his research and publications on Neuropsychopharmacology. Specifically, the majority of his research addresses how psychoactive/psychotropic drugs enter the human body, how they are distributed in the body, how they affect the anatomy and physiology of the body, how they are metabolized by the body, how they are eliminated by the body, the sciences that are applied to measure these drugs (and their metabolites) in body specimens and behaviors resulting from specific levels of these drugs in the body. Dr. Simpson collaborates with numerous other researchers both within WMU and at other research intensive institutions of higher education.