Schizophrenia is a devastating disorder which impacts 1.1% of the U.S. population (National Institute of Mental Health) and cost Americans about $62.7 billion in 2002 (Wu, Birnbaum, Shi, Ball, Kessler, Moulis & Aggarwal, 2005). The onset of the disease typically occurs in mid to late adolescence, and is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and confused thinking. This break with reality can, and often does, detrimentally impact functioning across occupational areas. Due to the individual and societal costs of severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, AOTA has recently called for increased research on treatment and prevention among vulnerable populations, including youth.
In response to this emphasis within the field of occupational therapy, and in line with his own interest in function-based interventions for adolescents experiencing a first episode of psychosis, Sean Roush, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, at Pacific University, began to seek funding for research on patterns of sensory processing among this population. His proposed three year study leverages an existing relationship between Pacific University and the Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA), serving adolescents experiencing first episode of psychosis in 19 Oregon counties. After consultation with Mark Johnson, Research Professor, Prof. Roush identified the National Institutes of Health R15 grant as a possible funding source, and enlisted our assistance in the grant application process.
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