Christine Spadola, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Harvey and Phyllis Sandler School of Social Work, was recently awarded an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation grant to develop an online sleep health module for social work students at FAU. Through the online module, students will learn the importance of sleep and how to promote sleep health among the populations they serve.
Collaborators on the research project, called “Empowering social work students to promote sleep health among underserved populations,” include co-principal investigator Dani Groton, Ph.D., also of the School of Social work, as well as some of Spadola's former colleagues at Harvard Medical School and Florida International University. FAU’s Center for eLearning will be assisting Spadola and Groton in creating the online module.
Spadola came to FAU in the Fall of 2018 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship with Harvard Medical School in the Division of Sleep Medicine. This grant comes on the heels of several sleep-related research projects including a sleep health and yoga intervention project conducted in low-income communities. Following the six-week intervention, participants reported promising improvements in healthy sleep behaviors and sleep duration. Spadola also recently completed an unrelated study looking at the night-to-night impact of evening consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco on sleep duration and continuity among a large sample of African-American adults. Harvard University's Clinical and Translational Science Center recently featured Spadola's research, her transition to FAU and her desire to engage social workers with sleep health.
Sleep health education is not currently a required component to social work training, despite social workers frequently working with underserved populations who are more likely to report insufficient sleep, according to Spadola. “That has been missing,” she says. “But, I'm very excited to try to help change that through this project."
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