Graduate Student Council Research Grants

Document Type



Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Publication Date



Overview: My name is Sushmitha Inguva. I am a 4th year doctoral student in the Department of Pharmacy Administration in the School of Pharmacy. My primary area of interest is in Health Economics and Outcomes Research. For my dissertation, I am focusing on sleep disorders and their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and caregivers.

Intellectual Merit: PD is caused by loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. PD patients experience motor and non-motor symptoms (NMS). Among NMS, sleep disorders are the most common, occurring in about 60-90% of patients. Sleep disorders in patients affect other NMS, their HRQoL, as well as caregivers’ sleep quality and HRQoL. Traditional methods of evaluating the relationship between sleep and HRQoL in PD have often ignored the nonindependence in scores of the two variables for patients and their caregivers. Therefore, the current study proposes to assess the dyadic relationship between sleep and HRQoL in a sample of PD patients and caregivers using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). The APIM uses fewer degrees of freedom, produces unbiased and precise estimates and yields greater power than traditional methods. These unbiased estimates are integral to other studies/models assessing spillover effects on caregiver HRQoL and pharmacoeconomic analyses.

External Opportunity: I am planning to seek funding for my project from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s under their 2020 Research Project Funding Call for Letter of Intent. The potential funding amount is $5350. The program involves two deadlines: one for a letter of intent on April 1, 2020 and one for the full application on June 19, 2020, upon invitation to submit. This is my first attempt at applying for an external funding opportunity and I strongly believe that this experience is going to be instrumental for me in starting and developing a career in academia. If I receive the award, it will strengthen my academic profile and fill me with motivation to pursue more such funding opportunities in the future.

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