IUPUC students to present research in Australia

Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus graduates will present their research about substance abuse and addiction in southern Indiana to an international audience this summer.

The two-year project, led by IUPUC nursing students Megan Bailey of Crothersville, Brilynn Roberts of Columbus and Shelby Wasson of Hope, involved whether early childhood drug education prevents people from using drugs and alcohol.

Two faculty mentors, Toni Morris and Deborah Judge, assisted in the research.

“We knew this was a growing problem affecting our friends and families and wanted to know if DARE and our other prevention education methods were working,” Roberts said.

The students’ work involved traveling to two transitional homes in southern Indiana, where 17 adults recovering from drug or alcohol abuse volunteered to fill out surveys.

The surveys provided information about each individual’s drug use, what type of drug prevention programs they had attended and how often that prevention message was offered, Roberts said.

The surveys indicated the respondents didn’t take programs such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education seriously, the students said. Their research conclusion was to replace DARE with a standardized evidence-based curriculum that starts in kindergarten and builds each year, Roberts said.

Roberts and Bailey, along with Morris, will present the research during the International Nursing Research Conference from July 19 to 23 in Melbourne, Australia. Wasson and Judge are not able to attend.

“I think it is a wonderful opportunity to gain essential knowledge and expertise,” said Bailey, who was valedictorian of the Crothersville High School Class of 2014.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to represent my community with the research we have done,” she said. “Many people never have the opportunity to present at the national level, so I think that this will be a wonderful experience to build my future nursing career.”

Bailey was nominated as a Rising Star of Research and Scholarship and will represent the group with a poster presentation at the Sigma Theta Tau International 29th International Nursing Research Congress in Melbourne. As part of this honor, the work will be included in the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository and the conference proceedings.

“I am extremely honored to have received the Rising Star award from STTI,” Bailey said. “Being a member of STTI, I think this award helps show my dedication to research and furthering my education and nursing career.”

Roberts said the research conference should provide some insight about what other countries are doing to prevent substance abuse, while Bailey said it will be a good opportunity to hear potential ideas to improve their research and gain more knowledge on the subject matter.

Bailey and Roberts are currently working to raise money to attend the conference, which costs about $5,000 per individual. Both women have established online fundraising pages on YouCaring.com.

A 23-page manuscript detailing the students’ research has already been accepted for publication by the Indiana University Journal of Undergraduate Research. The group also has met with representatives of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County about their research.

“We are open to sharing the information to the community,” Roberts said.

Judge, who now teaches at Western Governors University, said the conference will be beneficial for the students as they prepare to enter the nursing field.

“They’re going to come back and be motivated to do more,” Judge said.

Roberts also said more community awareness and prevention are needed to solve the substance abuse problem.

“We feel more mental health clinics are needed as well as transitional homes since there are so many being released from treatment centers and our judicial system with nowhere to go,” Judge said.

Bailey, Roberts and Wasson work at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour and plan to further their research locally.

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YouCaring online crowdfunding pages have been established for individuals wishing to donate money toward the July 19 to 23 international conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Megan Bailey’s page: youcaring.com/meganbailey-1156750

Brilynn Roberts’ page: youcaring.com/brilynnroberts-1146932