ALTON - Thirteen research projects are sharing nearly $970,000 in funding through the Jump ARCHES research and development program. The Jump Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation (Jump ARCHES) program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and the University of Illinois (U of I), Urbana-Champaign and it’s College of Medicine in Peoria.

The program supports research involving clinicians, engineers, and social scientists to develop technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery.

These projects were submitted to the Fall 2020 Jump ARCHES request for proposals which concerned six unique focus areas: digital health, social and behavioral disparities, autism, neurological sciences, COVID-19, and simulation and education. This was the first Jump ARCHES request for proposals that specifically concerned social and behavioral disparities to mitigate the impact of age, location, and social barriers in delivering quality health care to vulnerable populations. Emphasis was given to proposals that addressed racism, social justice, social and implicit biases, health equity, and access to care.

Since its inception in 2014, Jump ARCHES has awarded more than $5.46 million in funding to collaborative projects between the three institutions and across many disciplines. The effort expanded opportunities with an additional major gift in 2019.

"The scope of Jump ARCHES has expanded in recent years to foster collaboration with disciplines outside of engineering and medicine, such as social sciences," said T. Kesh Kesavadas, Ph.D., director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Technology such as AI, sensors, and simulation training can integrate with and improve outcomes in other fields in innovative ways." Kesavadas added, "Above all, Jump ARCHES is striving to improve people’s lives after the disastrous impact of COVID-19 on daily life."

"The integration of engineering and social science promises to make the University of Illinois the world’s leading institution for innovative, technologically-driven research on social science topics, and puts social sciences in a position to advise and shape engineering efforts," said Brent Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Illinois. He added, "The alignment of CSBS with the ARCHES program fits perfectly with a goal of our new center, to harness the technological innovations of engineering to make society better."

A special request for proposals for spring 2021 is being planned with an emphasis on solutions to the unprecedented challenges faced by our society as we develop policies and procedures in a post-COVID-19 world.

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