NEWS | September 26, 2016

Scholarship recipient to advance the use of a patient engagement app for chest-surgery patients

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Connor Dean Grant, an undergraduate student in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, has been selected to receive the 2016 UC Davis Section of General Thoracic Surgery/Core Mobile Inc. Patient Engagement Scholarship.

From left to right: Valerie Kuderer, nurse coordinator and patient navigator in general thoracic surgery; scholarship recipient Connor Dean Grant; and David Tom Cooke, head of general thoracic surgery From left to right: Valerie Kuderer, nurse coordinator and patient navigator in general thoracic surgery; scholarship recipient Connor Dean Grant; and David Tom Cooke, head of general thoracic surgery

Grant is the first to receive the scholarship, which will be given annually to undergraduate or nursing student. He will receive $4,000 from the technology company Core Mobile and an internship with the UC Davis Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery to increase use and measure the effectiveness of an app designed to improve patient experiences. His mentor on the project is David Cooke, a UC Davis surgeon who specializes in treating conditions and diseases of the lungs, esophagus and chest wall.

“There are great opportunities for using communications technologies in health care to improve patient interactions, experiences and outcomes,” said Cooke, head of general thoracic surgery at UC Davis Health System. “We anticipate that Connor’s efforts will help surgeons like me bridge those sometimes difficult communication gaps with patients who are dealing with very tough thoracic diseases and, at the same time, activate patients to become more participatory in their care.”

Since arriving at UC Davis, Grant has distinguished himself as a dean’s list scholar, student tutor in his college, research associate in the Department of Emergency Medicine and member of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board. He received the prestigious Regents Scholarship and the Provost Award, and he plans to attend medical school after graduating in 2018.

“The world of health care is rapidly becoming technology driven,” said Grant, who is from Nashville. “This scholarship and internship give me the unique chance to help make technology work from the patient’s perspective in improving interactions with physicians and confidence with self-care.”

The app has features that support pre-surgical, perioperative and post-surgical needs, along with mechanisms for engaging members of the care team throughout the healing process. Grant will provide user support, gather feedback, and test and measure the ease-of-use and efficacy of the app.

UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., is a nationally recognized academic medical center offering primary care for all ages, expert specialty care in 150 fields, and the latest treatment options for complex health conditions. The medical center offers the top level of care for patients with thoracic disease and was recently recognized as a High Performing Hospital for Lung Cancer Surgery by U.S. News & World Report.