Research

RESEARCH STATEMENT

Karen’s research examines the interface between the environment and human capabilities. In particular, she has examined the individual factors and environmental demands associated with increased risk of functional limitations among populations of university and middle school aged students, particularly in computing and backpack use.

ERGONOMICS LAB

Karen is presently conducting  research in the following three projects:

iPad use and ergonomic training: Its effect on math achievement in middle school students

The purpose of this research study is to investigate the impact of iPads on the development of 6th grade math skills and the ergonomically appropriate use of iPads in school math and home environments.

Co-Investigator: Jennifer Kaldenberg

The nature, perception and impact of faculty-to-student and student-to-student e-mentoring on professional development post-graduation from an online post-professional doctoral program.

The Department of Occupational Therapy at Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College provides an online post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) program that utilizes web cameras and electronic communication platforms (e.g., Wimba, Adobe Connect) to provide face-to-face faculty-student and student-to-student (peer-to-peer) e-mentoring opportunities.  These e-mentoring experiences are intended to support the intense and specialized nature of each student’s doctoral work.  This retrospective mixed methods research project is investigating the nature, perception and impact of faculty-to-student and peer-to-peer e-mentoring on the professional development of graduates from the Boston University online post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) program. We will utilize findings to make any necessary changes to the e-mentoring aspect of the online post-professional OTD program in order to continue providing enriching, evidence-based e-mentoring experiences for our students.

Co-Investigator: Dr. Nancy Doyle

Project Career: Development of an Interprofessional Demonstration to Support the Transition of Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries from Post secondary Education to Employment

In a collaborative venture, Kent State University, JBS International, Inc., West Virginia University, and Boston University will initiate“”.  The goal of this 5-year NIDRR supported project is to develop, test and implement a technology driven, long-term and resource-rich individualized support program that merges assistive technology for cognition with vocational rehabilitation practices to improve career readiness and employment outcomes of civilian and veteran students with traumatic brain injuries.

Technology & Employment Coordinator at BU: Elizabeth Auth projectcareer@gmail.com

Karen has completed research in the following areas:

  • Middle school students and their notebook computer use
  • A pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of the Telerehabilitation Computer Ergonomics System (tele-CES) in addressing computer use problems
  • Karen has co-developed with Dr. Nancy Baker at the University of Pittsburgh, the Telerehabilitation Computer Ergonomics System (tele-CES) for computer users with arthritis. The tele-CES is a remote systematic ergonomics program aimed at substantially reducing work disability among workers with any type of arthritis.
  • The Effect of the Nintendo Wii Fit and Exercise Improving Balance and Quality of Life in Community Dwelling Elders (Jessie Franco)
  • Backpack usage and self-reported musculoskeletal discomfort in university students (June Mung Yuing Hu, Karen Jacobs, & Michael Pencina)
  • Wii Health: The Health and Wellness Benefits of Wii on University Freshmen (Linda Zhu, Monique Dawes, Jessie Franco, Cancha Igari, Allison Huggins, Amarachi Umez-Eronini, & Becky Ranta)
  • University students and their use of notebook computers: Phases 1, 2, & 3
  • Use of computer aided instruction (CAI) with high school students (collaborating with the Boston Public Schools)
  • Middle school students and their use of interactive media.” (Karen Jacobs & Kathryn Runge)
  • The usability of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to manage health care decisions at the point of care
  • Effects of a backpack safety & injury prevention program with school-aged children (collaborated with Dr. Shelley Goodgold, ScD, PT (Simmons College)
  • University students and their use of notebook computers: Phase III
  • Middle school students and their notebook computer use
  • Backpack usage and self-reported musculoskeletal discomfort in university students (June Mung Yuing Hu, Karen Jacobs, & Michael Pencina)
  • University students and their use of notebook computers: Phases I & II
  • Use of computer aided instruction (CAI) with high school students (collaborating with the Boston Public Schools)
  • Middle school students and their use of interactive media.” (Karen Jacobs & Kathryn Runge)
  • The usability of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to manage health care decisions at the point of care
  • Effects of a backpack safety & injury prevention program with school-aged children (collaborated with Dr. Shelley Goodgold, ScD, PT (Simmons College)

The following projects were completed, under Karen’s supervision, by students in the Master of Science program in occupational therapy at Boston University:

  • “The prevalence of computer related musculoskeletal complaints in college students” (Audra Hamilton and Christine Connelly)
  • “Gender-age environmental associates of middle school student’s low back pain with backpack use”. (Hsin-yu Chiang)
    Perceived knowledge of occupational therapy services and referral frequency among physicians working with children (Diana Marshak)

The following are projects were completed by former students in the entry-level Master of Science program in occupational therapy at Boston University. Three of these projects were published in issue 18(3) in the journal, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation. (www.iospress.nl)

  • Efficacy of body mechanics education on posture while computing in middle school children (Gretchen Rowe)
    The effectiveness of a home-based ergonomics intervention on the proper use of computers by middle school children (Chad Williams)
  • Efficacy of education on posture while wearing backpacks in middle school children (Amy Feingold)
    Time use outcomes for adolescents participating in a family and schools together (FAST) program (Erin Leigh Basquill)
    The effectiveness of a family-based skills training program on time-use and time-use satisfaction in parents with adolescents (Meghna Gandhi)
  • Perceived knowledge of occupational therapy services and referral frequency among physicians working with the geriatric population (Elizabeth Sawyko)