Faculty Research: Laurie Theeke

Laurie Theeke headshot

Laurie Theeke


Associate Dean for Scholarship, Innovation, and Clinical Science

Professor (Tenured)

What research are you working on now?

We currently have two studies underway. The first is a study of how loneliness is related to wound healing in people with chronic venous leg ulcers. In this study, we hypothesize that heightened inflammation is a common molecular mechanism with a distinct profile that underlies loneliness and poor wound healing when compared to non-lonely people with wounds. Participants contribute data via surveys, physical measures, and with blood sampling.  The second study, Called the Take Me Home Project, studies loneliness in people who return home from long term care. For this study, participants and caregivers complete surveys and physical measures are collected using remote equipment placed in the homes.

Why is this work important?

These studies are important because there is a need to examine how psychosocial and biological mechanisms interact to influence wound healing. For the Take me Home study, it is crucial that we learn if loneliness and isolation are influencing function when people return home.

What are the potential policy implications of your work?

These studies have the potential to influence policies on care of those with chronic illness and for those returning home from long term care. The results could increase public awareness regarding social isolation and loneliness, inform policies for social services and support recommendations for screening and treatment for loneliness in health systems, and be used to inform telehealth policies for use to support lonely or isolated people.

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