Rebuilding Together Hartford - Students Work on Faculty Research Project
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Rebuilding Together Hartford - Students Work on Faculty Research Project

Rebuilding Together Hartford - Poster Presentation
Faculty member Claudia Oakes with students Megan Westcott and Ben Roberts

Using funds obtained through a grant from the Institute for Translational Research, Claudia Oakes has been conducting a study to learn about the outcome of home modifications provided by Rebuilding Together Hartford (RTH). RTH is a non-profit organization that provides home repairs and home modifications to low-income homeowners in the city of Hartford. The vision of RTH is “a safe and healthy home for everyone.” Elderly homeowners who quality for RTH services receive devices that will allow them to safely function in their homes. For instance, the organization provides grab bars, ramps, stair rails, and raised toilet seats to people who have difficulty managing in their homes.

This research project is focused on learning about how the homeowners are affected by the modifications. With assistance from Megan Westcott and Ben Roberts, two undergraduate students, Oakes inquires about how safe people feel before and after they receive the modifications. They conduct interviews to learn about how often the recipients use the devices, and whether or not they believe the devices make them more independent. Megan and Ben help with data collection, data entry, and transcription of recorded interviews. They are also instrumental in helping with conference presentations and manuscript preparation.

Oakes speaks highly of student involvement, "It has been a real pleasure to work with the students. They bring energy and fresh ideas to the project. They have been more than willing to help with all facets of the research, which has been very much appreciated.  I hope that exposure to the research process helps to pique their interest in conducting research in the future."

Megan Westcott - Sophomore (Pre-Optometry)

Megan S. Westcott is a sophomore health sciences major who plans to pursue optometry.

Benjamin (Ben) Roberts

Ben Roberts is a senior health sciences major who has been accepted into dental school.

 To learn more about this project contact: Claudia Oakes at