18 research teams receive over $500,000 in pilot grants to study COVID-19

Red coronavirus molecules

From trying to understand lung immunity in COVID-19 patients to recognizing the impact the pandemic has had on mental health, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and affiliated health care systems have joined forces to expand and improve research on the virus in the community and beyond. 

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine established a COVID-19 Task Force and the Rapid Response COVID-19 Related Pilot Funding Research Opportunity under the direction of virologist Jonathan Karn and rheumatologist Nora Singer. Since its establishment in March, the task force continues to recruit faculty researchers with diverse backgrounds from across campus and collaborate with university affiliates to conduct multidisciplinary research and develop methods that tackle the different effects of COVID-19.

With support from multiple funding partners across CWRU, the task force awarded over $500,000 in pilot grants to 18 interdisciplinary research teams for the Rapid Response COVID-19 Related Pilot Funding Research Opportunity. On behalf of the COVID Research Task Force, the pilot program was overseen by the Community & Collaboration component of the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative.

Nearly 50 research teams submitted their project proposals addressing different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research teams involved faculty from six Case Western Reserve schools and colleges, as well as three health care systems and three other universities. 

The awards range from $20,000 to $40,000 each for one year and are meant to “support new research initiatives that will make immediate progress toward reducing harm to individuals, groups, and society from the SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 pandemic.”

View the full list of Rapid Response COVID-19 Related Pilot Funding Research Opportunity awardees, listed by funding source. Read on to learn more about the Mandel School's partnership with the School of Nursing on a project titled, "COVID-19 Pandemic, Social Inequalities, and Mental Health." 

COVID-19 Pandemic, Social Inequalities, and Mental Health

Awardees: Megan Holmes and C. Robin Rentrope (Co-PI)
CWRU Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences; CWRU Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing 

Proposal: “There is rising concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could inflict long-lasting mental health problems on an unprecedented global scale. Social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, physical environment, race) can also affect COVID-19 outcomes, including mental health. The goal of this study is to better understand the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, identify coping strategies used to reduce stress, and examine the relations between social inequalities, COVID-19, and mental health.”

Research Team:

  • Megan R. Holmes (Co-PI), PhD, Associate Professor, Director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity, Mandel School
  • C. Robin Rentrope (Co-PI), MSSA, MPH, LSW, Senior Research Assistant, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  • David B. Miller, PhD, MSW, MPH, Associate Professor, Director of International Education Programs, Mandel School 
  • Scott E. Moore, PhD, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  • Nazleen Bharmal, MD, PhD, MPP, Medical Director of Community Partnerships, Cleveland Clinic Community Care
  • Anindita Ghosh, MBBS, MD, Associate Medical Director, Specialty Integration, Cleveland Clinic Community Care
  • TBD – neighborhood ambassadors/community partners

This story appeared in The Daily on July 29, 2020.