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Researchers from UCF College of Nursing, Nemours and University of Michigan Awarded NIH Grant

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015

$1.5 Million for Type 1 Diabetes Study

Dr. Karen Aroian, from the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Nursing, is part of a team of researchers that has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a crowdsourced social media portal for parents of very young children with Type 1 diabetes.

The interdisciplinary team includes two pediatric psychologists, Timothy Wysocki, PhD, and Jessica Pierce, PhD, from Nemours Children’s Health System in Jacksonville, Fla., a pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Joyce Lee, from the University of Michigan Health System, and Aroian, a nurse scientist who will serve as a co-investigator and qualitative research methodologist on the study.

Type 1 diabetes is increasing in children ages six and younger. Parents are expected to manage their child’s diabetes successfully, yet are often uncertain how to do so. Care for these very young children is also especially challenging due to their behavior, emotional, cognitive and physiological features. Parent stress related to managing their child’s care is associated with poorer outcomes for children with Type 1 diabetes.

The social media portal, which will be developed by parents and clinicians, will provide a space for parents to receive timely information and support. The team hopes the portal will help parents with uncertainty and stress, and empower them to effectively manage their child’s care. If successful, the impact will extend beyond improving the child’s health to improving the family’s quality of life.

The project is funded by a grant for $1,589,730 from the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a three-year period. For the first phase of the project, the team will develop the social media portal. The second phase will be a clinical trial to determine whether the portal improves outcomes and reduces parent stress.

"This team has a very exciting combination of people with different skill sets and backgrounds," said Aroian, who is the Chatlos Foundation Endowed Chair at the UCF College of Nursing. "Dr. Wysocki is a successful researcher who has received more than $20 million in NIH funding over the course of his career and Dr. Lee has creatively used social media in clinical practice. My research interests with parenting and illness management provide substantive background to apply my methodological expertise to the project."

Aroian, who is a highly regarded expert in qualitative research methods, has collaborated with Nemours for several years. Most recently, she mentored Dr. Pierce, a post-doctoral student of Dr. Wysocki, in qualitative research methods for a separate study.

For more information about faculty, programs and research at the UCF College of Nursing, visit

About UCF

Educating Nurses Since 1979: The UCF College of Nursing offers high quality academic programs from the baccalaureate to the doctorate, growing research and scholarship opportunities for faculty and students, and is highly respected for its longstanding commitment to clinical excellence and community service. The college is dedicated to excellence through evidence-based practice and prepares nurses and scholars for diverse health care and leadership roles. U.S. News & World Report ranks the college among the nation’s 25 best online graduate nursing programs and the top 25 online programs for veterans. For more information, visit

America’s Partnership University: The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with more than 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. For more information, visit

About Nemours

Nemours is an internationally recognized children's health system that owns and operates the two free-standing children’s hospitals: the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., along with outpatient facilities in five states, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Nemours also powers the world’s most-visited website for information on the health of children and teens,, and offers on-demand, online video patient visits through Nemours CareConnect. Nemours is a program dedicated to preventing reading failure in young children, grounded in Nemours’ understanding that child health and learning are inextricably linked, and that reading level is a strong predictor of adult health.

Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont, Nemours provides pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to families in the communities it serves.