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RIT leads $1.6 million NIH-funded study

Rochester Institute of Technology is leading a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health-funded study designed to improve a quality-of-life measure for the deaf and hard of hearing.

For the first time, researchers have a tool for assessing deaf and hard-of-hearing patients’ health-related quality-of-life outcomes in American Sign Language, officials said. Patient assessments evaluate symptoms, well-being and life satisfaction, as well as physical, mental and social health.

Poorna Kushalnagar, a health psychologist and research associate professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, said resulting data will lend new insights in patient outcomes research and improve prevention and treatment models.

She and colleagues at Northwestern University in Illinois, University of Arkansas Little Rock and Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C , have developed a profile based on the standard Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System used in clinical outcomes research.

“This project will yield the largest, most representative quality-of-life data set on deaf and hard-of-hearing adults with early deafness,” said Kushalnagar, director of the Deaf Health and Communication and Quality of Life Center in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science.

The NIH grant and supplemental research funding supports three undergraduate researchers and a post-baccalaureate diversity fellow at RIT.

(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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