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Blaise Morrison Receives PCORI Award for Project BENEFIT

Blaise Morrison, PhD, HSP-P, CRC, LPC, is an Assistant Professor within the Division of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, a part of UNC’s Department of Health Sciences. His primary area of study is the relationship between family and disability, with an emphasis on how families are affected by disability and how individuals with impairments experience their lives. Morrison is interested in researching the impact of the family system on rehabilitation and health outcomes, as well as creating family-directed interventions to enhance those results.

Working with people who had suffered from strokes, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries initially led to the addition of support for families impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). IDDs that are well-known include down syndrome, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and pediatric brain injuries.

Morrison was recently awarded $250,000 over two years from the Eugene Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institution (PCORI) for Project BENEFIT: Building Effective Networks to Engage Families in Improving Transitions. Dr. Diana Cejas, MD, MPH, a faculty member in the Department of Neurology and at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), serves as the project’s co-lead. Initiatives that promote patient, caregiver, clinician, and other healthcare professional participation in patient-centered outcome research are supported by PCORI. Project BENEFIT aims to collaborate with IDD stakeholders and involve them in patient-centered outcome studies related to healthcare transition. The shift from pediatric to adult healthcare services is referred to in this context as the "healthcare transition."

Morrison anticipates that Project BENEFIT will assist in fostering an environment of stakeholder-led research on IDD, which will lessen healthcare inequalities for IDD patients. “It’s not just about educating,” he said. “This project will help educate and improve healthcare professionals and researchers understanding of effective patient-centered healthcare transition research and services, so they can better meet the unique healthcare needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

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