Occupational therapy graduate student recognized for research surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on vital services for individuals with disabilities

Cristina Parsons next to her research poster.

Cristina Parsons, a graduate student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Colorado State University, worked to research the impact of COVID-19 on vital services for disabled individuals, an aspect of the pandemic that has been overlooked. Parson’s research resulted in the Excellence in Research and Scholarship award at CSU’s Graduate Student Showcase, one of five awards sponsored by the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

What inspired you to conduct this research?  

I was inspired to conduct this research because I had a surprising finding from a funded project that I had just finished for the Social Security Administration. I knew a mentor of mine, Dr. James Graham at the Center for Community Partnerships, had just begun focus groups for a funded project in a similar space and I thought his qualitative research could help to explain my quantitative finding. I was very pleased to be able to join forces and make the most of our resources to answer questions about the impact of COVID-19 on supported employment services for individuals with disabilities. 

What impact do you hope this research will have?  

This research is one piece of a puzzle to figure out how COVID-19 impacted the delivery of vital services for individuals with disabilities and I hope its impact continues to be amplified by other scientists and stakeholders. I also hope it may help others to think differently about using existing data sets to answer research questions and combining forces with like-minded researchers. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?  

Receiving this award is a great honor; I am proud to have been able to clearly communicate my science to an unfamiliar audience with good results! 

The Department of Occupational Therapy is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.