Dr. Robin Estrada’s experience with patients in her rural primary care pediatric practice compelled her to study communication issues between her patients’ parents and the health care providers treating their children. The process of communication can seriously affect health outcomes for children and Dr. Estrada’s goal is to develop practical strategies and interventions that will make a positive difference for this population. “I wanted to not only understand the communication issues better, but be able to develop practical strategies and interventions that will make a positive difference for the people that experience them,” she explains. “Rural populations have unique challenges and barriers that need unique solutions.”
She currently divides her time between two research projects. Her qualitative project, Experiences of Rural Southeastern Latino Parents of Children with Asthma, focuses on exactly how the process of communication can affect health outcomes for children. Specifically, she is examining the issues parents have in accessing and communicating with their child’s provider regarding asthma care. She’s applying for a K23 grant with the goal of conducting a feasibility study for an interagency (patient/family-school nursing-primary care) collaboration, facilitated by the use of a mobile app. It will improve communication between these language discordant groups, increase asthma knowledge, and improve asthma management and medication adherence. “Hopefully,” she says, “this will decrease emergency department admissions.”
The second project, Teacher Perceptions of Students with ADHD, focuses on non-verbal communication (such as eye contact) of a child with ADHD and how it is perceived. Negative perceptions by others may lead to internalized stigma and feelings of worthlessness on the part of the child with ADHD. She hopes to work with an interdisciplinary group to design a technology-based intervention that addresses appropriate eye contact in social encounters.