Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehab Research (CINDRR)
New CINDRR-GNV Fellow Honored by APHA
A new fellow with the newly restructured Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research–Gainesville (CINDRR-GNV) is contributing to the evidence base of disability research: Vijay Vasudevan, PhD, received a New Investigator Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) in November 2018 at its Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego. The award recognizes “a new investigator who demonstrates evidence of a promising career in public health research in the area of health and wellness for people with disabilities.” The award to Dr. Vasudevan was based on research he did on disability and the risk of inactivity and poor eating habits. Founded in 1872, the APHA is one of the most respected public health organizations, for example, one notable member was Jonas Salk, who introduced the polio vaccine.
As a CINDRR-GNV Fellow, Dr. Vasudevan is working on two projects. In one, he is exploring how to promote participation of Veterans with disability in the VA MOVE! Program. Designed by the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Move! Program was created to improve the lives of Veterans by encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. This program is based on research that has shown that even a small weight loss can have impressive benefits: It can reduce health risks, prevent or reverse certain diseases, improve quality of life, and increase life span.
In a second project, Dr. Vasudevan is working on a randomized control trial on the impact of a telephone-based intervention to improve the mental health of persons who serve as caregivers for their spouses who have impairments caused by stroke. This work contributes to a substantial body of work CINDRR-GNV has produced on improving care for stroke caregivers, including a website called RESCUE (Resources & Education for Stroke Caregivers’ Understanding & Empowerment).
Adding to the honor of the APHA award, Dr. Vasudevan was also elected to the Governing Council of the Disability Section of the APHA, which represents the latest contribution he will make as an APHA member. Dr. Vasudevan has been with the APHA Disability Section since 2008 in a variety of capacities. He began as Student Liaison, during which he created the Student Webinar Series, which provides opportunities for students to present their disability-related research to a national audience. Also as Student Liaison. He received funding to provide student presenters honoraria from the Arc of the United States. Next, he became the Section's Communication Chair. In that role, he expanded the Section's social media presence by over 100%, edited the Section's website, and managed the listserv emails.
Based on Dr. Vasudevan’s work for APHA, he will be a great asset to the VA as a CINDRR-GNV fellow, working to improve the quality of life for Veterans, especially those with disabilities.