Friday, November 11, 2016

IDRAC Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Margaret Nosek

“Is your avatar a bulletproof vest?”

Find out the answer to this intriguing question on Saturday, November 19, at 9:30am Pacific. Dr. Margaret Nosek, Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX, US) and two co-presenters, Stephanie Silveira and Rachel Markley, will describe their work conducting challenging conversations for women with disabilities in virtual worlds. The Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD) at Baylor has conducted research with women with disabilities on several dicey topics, including sexuality, reproductive health, bladder and bowel management, weight management, and self-esteem. In their presentation, Nosek, Silvera and Markley will talk about feedback women have given them when they discuss some of these topics in Second Life and some of the difficulties and successes they have experienced in trying to make related information available online and in virtual worlds.

In addition to her position at Baylor, Dr. Nosek, PhD, is Senior Scientist at TIRR Memorial Hermann and Adjunct Professor in the College of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University, both in Houston. She researches ways to improve the health of women with physical disabilities, especially by improving reproductive health and access to healthcare services. She has conducted many large studies in Second Life.

Dr. Nosek is a member of the Board of Directors of Virtual Ability, Inc. She is a woman with a severe physical disability, and is a lifelong disability rights activist. She has won many honors both for her academic research and her activism.

Stephanie Silveira is a Graduate Research Assistant at University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance, Baylor College of Medicine Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD), and TIRR Memorial Hermann. She is a fourth year doctoral student in kinesiology at the University of Houston with an interest in health promotion for individuals with mobility impairments. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology, where many of her current research interests reside, particularly as related to nutrition and physical activity. She was the project manager for CROWD’s GoWoman virtual reality weight loss intervention for women with mobility impairments. She is currently involved on several projects including a weight loss intervention for men and women with spinal cord injuries and a pilot nutrition and body composition measurement study of former and current heroin users receiving a virtual reality intervention. She led a team in reviewing literature on obesity measurement in people with spinal cord injuries, including an examination of the most accessible and valid ways to measure fat mass, height and weight.

Stephanie has conducted cross-sectional psychological research with wheelchair rugby athletes. She hopes to pursue this area further in order to help individuals with mobility impairments improve their quality of life through physical activity and exercise. She is also personally invested in training adaptive Crossfit athletes. She plans to focus her research career on reducing obesity in populations experiencing health disparities using telehealth and virtual reality interventions.

Rachel Markley, MPH, is a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Ms. Markley is a research assistant at the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities at TIRR Memorial Hermann and is involved in studies to develop health promotion interventions and expanded women’s health services for women with physical disabilities. She served as part of the research team for the GoWoman Virtual Reality Weight Management Program for Women with Mobility Impairments, and co-facilitated the development of an Internet-Based Empowerment and Self-Esteem Enhancement Intervention for Women with spinal cord injury, a 7-week intervention held in Second Life. Ms. Markley has significant physical limitations due to Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

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