CURF Fall 2023 Introduction Post

My name is Ilana Kersh and the title of my project is An investigation of comorbidities: an analysis of symptoms, quality of life, and poor health outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis and hypertension. Working with Dr. Elizabeth A Schlenk in the School of Nursing, the goal of my project is to better understand how having Osteoarthritis and a comorbid illness affects quality of life. Utilizing data from the Short Form-36, the comorbidity questionnaire, and the sociodemographic questionnaire, I will be looking for patterns among symptoms, specific subgroups (like women and minorities), and specific comorbid illnesses (like diabetes). This work is important because although the United States has very high levels of obesity and hypertension (possible causes of Osteoarthritis), there is a lack of data and understanding of this condition. Especially among women, who are more prone to OA and have more intense symptoms, the data and research is lacking. I hope to add to current research, and provide evidence for the physical and mental implications of OA.

My goals for this research are to both pursue the Bachelor of Philosophy degree, as well as submit this research for publication in various journals. Being that I am so interested in research, the BPhil degree seems like a great option for me. The rigor of the program excites me, and I am already working with both the FHC and the school of Public Health to get started on this as I will be one of the first Public Health students to purse this degree. Additionally, after reading countless journal articles for my previous Lyme disease research and my current research in Osteoarthritis, I am very excited to have the opportunity to publish my own work. The CURF will help me pursue these goals as it will help me connect with others doing research, connect me with faculty, and help me learn how to write about my research and share what I am doing with others.

I am a Public Health major in the school of Public Health and I am also getting a certificate in Global Health. The picture below is from when I presented at the Undergraduate research symposium (I also presented my work in the honors symposium a few weeks later). A unique fact about me is that I was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania and now I like in Westchester, New York! I am excited to continue working on my research through the CURF this semester!

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