Bonnielin Swenor

Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Dr. Swenor and The Swenor Research Group seek to improve the health of people with visual impairments. Dr. Swenor is motivated by personal experience living with a visual disability similar to macular degeneration. Her focus is on three interrelated areas:

Vision and Aging: examining the impact of visual impairments on health and well-being across the lifespan, with a focus on older adults.

Access to Care: documenting health care disparities and improving healthcare utilization, quality, and access in patients with vision loss.

Disability Inclusion: enhancing the inclusion of persons with visual impairments and other disabilities in the biomedical workforce.

With her AMDF Thrive Award, in the amount of $243,000, Dr. Swenor will manage a team that will develop and test a prototype of the Low Vision Connect App, a low-vision-accessible mobile technology platform to connect patients with visual impairments (including macular degeneration), in peer-to-peer mentoring relationships around the experiences of living with vision loss. Patients will serve as both a mentee and a mentor when seeking advice related to low vision, providing opportunities to enhance self-efficacy by both obtaining and sharing knowledge and advice. In preliminary qualitative studies, low vision  patients have indicated that peer-to-peer relationships with other visually impaired individuals is critical to their social, psychological, and functional well-being. This grant will be paid in two installments and is made in collaboration with the International Retina Research Foundation (IRRF), which will be providing an additional $200,000 to the project.