Dr. Daniels Article Accepted to the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work

Dr. Daniels Article Accepted to the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work

We’re excited to announce that Research Fellow Ruby Daniels, Ph.D. has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work. Dr. Daniels is one of the 2015-2016 Fellows working with Dr. Gregory Privitera in the Center for Behavioral Health Research.

Her submission "Where Words Fail, Music Speaks: A Mixed Method Study of an Evidence-Based Music Protocol for Hospice Social Workers" focuses on the positive impact of music during what is an otherwise very painful and challenging process: end of life care for hospice patients. This research was inspired during her own mother’s end of life care. Dr. Daniels was learning to play the guitar and saw what an enormously positive impact music had on her mother and fueled further investigation.

Dr. David Torres, a professional musician and SAS alumni who lives in San Antonio, was another major contributor to this work. Dr. Daniels also lives in San Antonio and the two met during Torres’s second year doctoral residency. They stayed in touch over the years and, six months after her mother’s passing, Dr. Daniels reached out to Dr. Torres to begin planning their study.  

As indicated in the abstract, the outcome of the study was positive: “music was described frequently as a catalyst that facilitated deeper dialogue between patients, families, social workers, and chaplains.” Due to the success of the project. Daniels and Torres are considering research of other evidence-based practice (EBPs) that can be used in healthcare as well as education.

Dr. Torres noted, “As a professional musician and music instructor, I've always believed in the power of music. Before the study, I viewed music primarily as vehicle of entertainment. The study's results showed me that music is much more. Music can facilitate emotional healing for patients and family members. Additionally, music can re-energize hospice professionals who must cope with the daily strain of end-of-life care. We found that music is a low cost, low risk intervention that can make a huge difference. Hopefully, publication of our results will encourage more healthcare professionals to use music with hospice patients.” 

As for the inspiration she found for her academic research in her personal life, Dr. Daniels said, “I've shared my ‘epiphany’ about hospice and music with several people who are intrigued with how everyday events can be the genesis for great research!” This is both an exciting discovery and a frequent one; many of our research faculty have discovered that their own experiences can pave the way to incredible research as they grow their scholarship.

Dr. Torres has also found a similar impact at the community college where he works. Earlier this year the community college where he teaches started strongly encouraging all faculty – including performing and fine arts instructors – to conduct research. “When I was working on my doctorate, I did not realize how the research skills I developed while working on my dissertation would help to further my academic career!”

Thank you to Dr. Daniels and Dr. Torres for all of your hard work and proud representation of University of Phoenix and the School of Advanced Studies. Look for final publication in the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work in the coming months.  

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