Andrew D. Miller, Ph.D., has been awarded a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Miller is an assistant professor in the Human-Centered Computing department at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI.
The goal of Miller’s $520,935 five-year grant project, titled “Family Resilience Technologies: Augmenting Caregiving Coordination Systems for Health Crisis Response,” is to design breakthrough technologies that enable small groups to collaborate in even the most stressful of circumstances.
“During a crisis—such as a child’s hospitalization—parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other close family and friends take on new roles as caregivers, staying connected while they coordinate care and support each other,” Miller says.
“Social computing technologies have great potential to support this close-knit collaboration, but most current technologies are designed using assumptions that may not hold true in the case of a family health crisis.”
A collaborative effort
Miller’s team will use human-centered research methods to design Family Resilience Technologies: next-generation caregiving coordination tools that support and enable resilient caregiving practices. Miller will work with families to collaboratively design and prototype next-generation caregiving coordination technologies that augment the ability of families to coordinate care.
The grant includes three phases:
- Miller and the research team will model families’ needs and discover the best ways for technology to intervene. In this phase, the team will look at the structure of the ‘connected caregiving circle’ and characterize families’ coordination needs to identify opportunities for technology.
- The research team will collaboratively design and prototype solutions to these problems, designing tools that support resilience-promoting processes across caregiving phases such as initial diagnosis, hospitalization, and home-based recovery.
- Miller will conduct a real-world deployment of a family resilience technology, evaluating the technology’s impact on resilience processes and demonstrating the potential of family resilience technologies.
The grant extends Miller’s NSF-funded work with pediatric cancer patients and their families, supporting Miller’s collaboration with the Pediatric Cancer & Blood Diseases department at Riley Hospital for Children.
The grant also will involve students from diverse backgrounds in research, and support interdisciplinary collaboration between the medical and computing communities. In addition, it will engage families as collaborators and learners through openly accessible online resources for families facing health crises.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Miller notes, has exposed the serious effects that isolation can have on patients, as well as the limits to communication that exist—and just how beneficial the power to connect with family can be.