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Lisa Polakowski Schumacher

IRB Senior Education & Compliance Specialist, University of Iowa
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About Lisa

Schumacher's research focuses on the intersection of health and education for college students who care for a person with a chronic illness or disability. Student caregivers experience significant challenges within higher education that impact learning, health, and persistence. Caregivers, in general, are at risk for stress-related illnesses which affect their long-term health outcomes and lifetime earnings. She offers workshops and provides personal consultations for caregivers in her community to promote healthy coping strategies.


"The Leisure Journey for Sandwich Generation Caregivers" (with Richard MacNeill, Kenneth Mobily, Michael Teague, and Howard Butcher). Therapeutic Recreation Journal 46, no. 1 (2012): 42-59.

Describes how Sandwich Generation Caregivers maintain their own health while caring for a dependent elder and at least one dependent minor. Discusses the implications of caregiver health for business productivity and government expenditures on health care costs.

"The Lived Experience of Student Caregivers: A Phenomenological Study," University of Iowa, 2017.

Describes how students who care for a person with a disability or chronic illness cope with the demands of both roles. Explains that student caregivers experience time constraints and role strain that exceed those of other nontraditional cohorts because of the unforeseen and uncontrollable demands inherent in caregiving, which often results in stress-related illnesses. Emphasizes that colleges and universities must provide policy support for student caregivers who will contribute significant tuition revenue in order to sustain or increase retention of student caregivers.

"Wikipedia: The Difference between Information Acquisition and Learning Knowledge" (with J. Evans Ochola, Dorothy M. Persson, and Mitchell D. Lingo). First Monday 20, no. 12 (2015).

Shows how Wikipedia shapes the way citizens, students, and scholars use digital information tools to acquire information and learn knowledge within a collaborative forum. Discusses the importance of educators to engage with students to promote critical thinking to determine if information is reliable, which is an essential skill for an informed citizenry.

"Courage in Multicultural Initiatives" (with Sherry K. Watt, Margaret Golden, and Luis Moreno), in Creating Successful Multicultural Initiatives in Higher Education and Student Affairs, edited by Sherry K. Watt and Jodi L. Linley, 57-68.

Demonstrates how counseling, recreational therapy, and learner-centered teaching strategies promoted positive outcomes in a Multicultural Education class, which created a safe environment to discuss inequity among marginalized groups within American society.