Yuqing Guo, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant in the amount of $2,099,382 for support as Co-Principal Investigator of the study: “UNITE: Smart, Connected, and Coordinated Maternal Care for Underserved Communities,” alongside professors from the School of Information and Computer Sciences, Drs. Nikil Dutt and Marco Levorato, Co-PIs. This project is part of the NSF’s Smart and Connected Communities (SCC) effort, one of the largest cross-directorate investments by NSF for interdisciplinary research that has the potential for societal scale transformation. In addition to UCI Nursing and Computer Science, the study is a joint collaboration including Dr. Stephanie Reich from the School of Education and Dr. Margaret Schneider from the School of Social Ecology, several non-profit community organizations (MOMS OC, UCI Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital, Community Health Initiative of OC, and Children and Families Commission of OC), as well as an international partner (Dr. Amir Rahmani, a Marie Curie Global Fellow).
The project leverages previous work by two key team members: Dr. Guo, who has a strong record of community engagement research with MOMS OC and provided empirical evidence of the positive impact of the MOMS home visitation program on birth outcomes; and Dr. Rahmani, whose group in Finland developed a ubiquitous monitoring, early detection, and prevention system for mothers at-risk for preterm birth (PTB) to be used in their everyday settings.
The 4-year study will develop and evaluate a technology-based maternal care monitoring-intervention model that is smart (deploying ubiquitous monitoring and lifelogging), connected (bringing together mothers, families, care providers, and outreach resources), and coordinated (using technology to create personalized intervention and education for improved self-management). The ultimate goal is to build a promising new maternal nursing care modality to promote population health, particularly with disadvantaged communities, shifting the nursing care paradigm from the individual-centered care to a whole family- and community-coordinated care.