Month: March 2019

Lucy Finkelstein-Fox is the First Recipient of the Fisher Fellowship

Photo of Fisher Fellowship Award Ceremony
Pictured from left to right: Dr. Radenka Maric, UConn Vice President for Research; Dr. Jeff Fisher, InCHIP Founding Director (Emeritus); Lucy Finkelstein-Fox, recipient of the first Fisher Fellowship Award; Dr. Amy Gorin, InCHIP Director;
Photo credit: Carson Stifel

Lucy Finkelstein-Fox, a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology, has been awarded the first Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship.

Throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies, Finkelstein-Fox’s primary research interest has been in the effects of traumatic life events and related cognitions as they carry forward into daily health.

“Ever since I was an undergrad, I’ve really been interested in trauma and how different kinds of life events – both…official traumas as well as major transitions – impact the course of people’s lives and how they make sense of what comes next,” Finkelstein-Fox says.

Crystal Park, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychological Sciences at UConn, is Finkelstein-Fox’s advisor, and the two have worked together on several projects.

“In working with Dr. Park, I’ve really had the opportunity to look at how trauma history plays into daily experiences and stress, coping, health, and emotion,” Finkelstein-Fox says.

For her dissertation, Finkelstein-Fox plans to expand on her previous studies of stress, coping, and health outcomes. She plans to explore how emotional attention biases affect meaning-making over time, as well as insomnia, sleep hygiene, and persistent depressed affect after the death of a loved one.

“I’m going to look at how the ways that we make meaning impact our mood and the quality of our sleep,” Finkelstein-Fox says.

Meaning making is when an individual thinks repetitively about a traumatic event. Finkelstein-Fox will be looking specifically at loss as the traumatic event in her study.

Finkelstein-Fox’s study will be the first to examine a comprehensive longitudinal model of reciprocal change in cognitions, mood, and sleep behaviors over the course of bereavement. Her dissertation research has the potential to inform personalized bereavement interventions in the future.

Finkelstein-Fox says the Fisher Fellowship makes reimbursement of study participants possible, which is very meaningful in her work, especially for a longitudinal study where participants are asked to discuss difficult experiences.

“This study also…is a new one for me because I’m going to be using a laboratory task of attention,” Finkelstein-Fox says. “The funds will help me to purchase the software and learn how to use it in a way that’s going be important for my career.”

Finkelstein-Fox has been a research assistant for several clinical intervention studies at InCHIP. In addition, an InCHIP seed grant funds her current pre-dissertation project.

“I’m running a project right now that looks at the ways in which undergraduate students who have chronic medical problems are able to cope flexibly with both their medical issues and their experiences as students,” Finkelstein-Fox says.

In the future, Finkelstein-Fox hopes to work within an academic medical center. She intends to continue her research on the relationship between trauma, cognitions, affect, health-promoting behaviors, and socio-cultural determinants of health.

Jeffrey D. Fisher, Ph.D., recently retired from the University of Connecticut, where he was the founding Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP).

The Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship was created to honor Fisher’s legacy at UConn and to advance the research of continuing UConn graduate students working on dissertations in the health behavior field.

“[The Fisher Fellowship is intended] to provide a measure of extra support for those students to help them to succeed,” Fisher said.

The Fisher Fellowship will award a $2,000 stipend each year to a student conducting their dissertation research on health and health behavior change research. This year, the Office of the Vice President for Research contributed an additional $2,000 to the award.

InCHIP Virtual Meet n’ Greet: UConn Brain Imaging Research Center

Meet virtually with Dr. Fumiko Hoeft, Director of the UConn Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC), and learn about the state-of-the-art equipment, methods, and training offered by the Center. InCHIP and BIRC are co-sponsoring a $30,000 seed grant opportunity (see here). Learn more about the seed grant and BIRC’s resources and services at the Virtual Meet ‘n’ Greet.

InCHIP-CHCACT Virtual Meet n’ Greet Video Available & Seed Grant Reminder

Recently, InCHIP held a Virtual Meet n’ Greet with the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut (CHCACT) focused on opportunities for collaborative research. As a reminder, the InCHIP-CHCACT seed grant application process is open, and letters of intent are due by April 26. CHCACT coordinates the efforts of 16 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), all of which have multiple sites and together provide services to nearly 400,000 patients across Connecticut. For more information about CHCACT and their member FQHCs, see the CHCACT website.

The InCHIP-CHCACT Virtual Meet n’ Greet was recorded. Here is the link to view the video recording.

If you want to learn more about the InCHIP-CHCACT seed grant, visit the InCHIP Seed Grant website.

Inaugural Fisher Fellowship Award Ceremony

Inaugural Fisher Fellowship Award Ceremony
March 27th at 12pm
InCHIP, J. Ray Ryan Building
UConn Storrs
Lunch will be served
RSVP by March 20th to (Melanie Skolnick)

Dr. Jeff Fisher recently retired from UConn where he dedicated his career to the development of health behavior change interventions. At UConn, Dr. Fisher was the founding Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) which he grew from a small group of HIV researchers in the Department of Psychological Sciences to a university-wide, interdisciplinary institute of faculty and graduate students focused on a broad array of health and health behavior research.

In honor of Dr. Fisher’s distinguished tenure at UConn, the Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship has been created to both celebrate the career of our friend and colleague and to advance the work of promising graduate students affiliated with InCHIP. At noon on March 27th, we will award the first Fisher Fellowship to an outstanding UConn graduate student working on her/his dissertation in the area of health behavior. Dr. Fisher will be in attendance, and we hope that you can join us for lunch and a brief ceremony at this inaugural event. Please RSVP by March 20th to Melanie Skolnick (melanie.skolnick@uconn.edu). For those of you who are unable to attend in person, please let us know if you would like to view the ceremony remotely.

In conjunction with this ceremony, the Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship Fund is being recognized during UConn Gives Day 2019, a 36-hour giving initiative on March 27th-28th. To help grow the fund, please consider making a donation during UConn Gives either at the Fisher Fellowship Award Ceremony, online, or via text (links to these options will be available via this website beginning on March 27th). Your recognition of Jeff’s career and your support of InCHIP are greatly appreciated.