Jump ARCHES Spring Grants focus on COVID-19 vaccination and testing challenges and strategies


A medical professional draws a vaccine from a vial.Seven research projects, three involving CSL/ITI faculty, are sharing slightly more than $400,000 in funding through the Jump ARCHES research and development program to address challenges and expand on lessons learned about COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. The Jump ARCHES program is a partnership between OSF HealthCare and the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I) and its College of Medicine in Peoria.

The funding supports research involving clinicians, engineers and social scientists to rapidly develop technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery. A requirement of the grant applications was for solutions that could be deployed quickly, within four to six weeks. Investigators were also encouraged to consider how to best mitigate the impact of age, location, and social barriers in delivering quality health care to vulnerable populations.

“As we develop new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, it’s also important to take into account societal factors such as age, race, location, infrastructure, and how to best provide for underserved populations. We expect significant changes in how health care is delivered so that it is more accessible for all and are proud to fund projects that spearhead these developments,” said T. Kesh Kesavadas, Ph.D., director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“The outcomes of these projects will help with issues arising from the current pandemic and help physicians apply lessons learned in the post-COVID health care landscape,” said Seth Stutzman, coordinator for the Jump ARCHES grant program.

“With the UK variant now the predominant virus in the U.S., it is critical that we leverage the talent at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria and the brilliant minds within engineering, technology and social science at the U of I. This will help us quickly find much-needed solutions to address the challenges health care faces in developing policies and procedures for mass vaccination, health care delivery, quality and patient safety improvements,” said John Vozenilek, MD, vice president for Innovation and Digital Health at Jump and OSF HealthCare, and professor at the University of Illinois in Peoria and Urbana-Champaign.

Here are summaries of some key projects, with a full list of spring 2021 projects available on the Jump ARCHES website.

Human factors in the use of telepresence robots after the COVID-19 pandemic

Kesh Kesavadas
Kesh Kesavadas

Investigators: Inki Kim, PhD, U of I; Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas, PhD, CSL, HCESC, U of I; Jon Michel, MD, OSF HealthCare; and Shandra Jamison, MA, RRT, U of I

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak resulted in an increase in telemedicine visits to prevent the spread of the virus. The goal of this concept is to establish, justify and optimize a set of existing or new-use cases for telepresence robot use in telemedicine to reduce the risk of in-hospital transmission of COVID-19, as well as for continued quality of care delivery in the post-COVID-19 era.

Suma Bhat
Suma Bhat

Building a motivational, interviewing conversational agent (MintBot) for promoting COVID-19 vaccination among people with multiple sclerosis

Investigators: Jessie Chin, PhD, U of I; Suma Bhat CSL, PhD, U of I; Chung-Yi Chiu, PhD, U of I; Jared Rogers, MD, OSF HealthCare; and Brian Laird, PharmD, OSF HealthCare

Individuals with multiple sclerosis are likely to be hesitant to getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to their compromised health condition. This concept aims to develop an accessible, generalizable and efficient digital health solution for promoting COVID-19 vaccination among vulnerable populations, such as people with disabilities.

How to design and operate end-to-end vaccine deployment using social media, addressing supply chain allocations constraints and utilizing telemedicine

Subhonmesh Bose
Subhonmesh Bose

 Investigators: Anton Ivanov, PhD, U of I; Subhonmesh Bose, ITI, PhD, U of I; Albert England III, MD, FIDSA, U of I, UICOMP, OSF HealthCare; Ashen Eren Mehmet, PhD, U of I; Ujjal Mukherjee, PhD, U of I; Sridhar Seshadri, U of I; Sebastian Souyris, Postdoctoral Fellow, U of I; and Yuqian Xu, PhD, U of I

This idea aims to provide a comprehensive vaccine deployment strategy using data analytic frameworks. These frameworks will (1) shape population attitudes towards vaccination by reducing their uncertainty via social media channels, (2) provide a dynamic inventory management tool for perishable or sensitive goods, and (3) develop telemedicine-based solutions for convenient and sufficient post-vaccination patient support.

Summaries of the all the projects are available on the Jump ARCHES website.