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Prevention of Alcohol Use in Older Teens

Prevention of Alcohol Use in Older Teens

The growing incidence of alcohol use among teens is an important public health problem. In a recent publication in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Klein Buendel Senior Scientists, Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall, joined multiple co-authors to report on the effects of a new alcohol use prevention program for older teenagers. The program is called Smart Choices 4 Teens. The paper reports the results from a randomized controlled trial assessing the impact of this online, interactive, family-based alcohol prevention program with over 400 families on preventing and reducing teen alcohol use.

Smart Choices 4 Teens was designed with three sequential components: general parent-teen communication, teen alcohol use, and teen romantic relationships. The creators adapted two evidence-based programs — Family Matter (1) and Parent Handbook (2) — to appeal to older teens and their parents. Communication skills training was incorporated through videos and interactive activities. The program was designed to have parents and teens go through the online activities separately and then complete a discussion activity together at the end of each component. The Alcohol Component is the focus of this publication.

Use of the program varied across families and components. Families that used more of the program reported better outcomes. Data related to dosage of the program and changes in drinking rates are reported in detail in the paper. Many positive effects were seen at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups with participating families. For example, teens in the experimental group reported fewer friends who had been drunk at six months, and parents in the experimental group reported more communication about social host laws. At 12 months, parents in the experimental group reported consuming fewer alcoholic beverages.

Overall, the findings suggest that Smart Choices 4 Teens was beneficial for families, especially when parents and teens completed more of the program. The authors believe that dissemination and implementation strategies that motivate completion of Smart Choice 4 Teens content, especially the Alcohol Component, can improve outcomes related to older teens’ alcohol use.

A full description of the methods, results, and conclusions of this study can be found in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. This research was funded by a grant to the Prevention Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA020977; Brenda Miller, Principal Investigator). Authors in addition to Dr. Miller, Dr. Buller, and Dr. Woodall include first author Dr. Hilary Byrnes, Dr. Joel Grube, Dr. Beth Bourdeau, and Dr. Meme Wang-Schweig from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The Smart Choices 4 Teens program was produced by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

References

  1. Bauman, K. E., Foshee, V. A., Ennett, S. T., Hicks, K., & Pemberton, M. (2001). Family Matters: A family-directed program designed to prevent adolescent tobacco and alcohol use. Health Promotion Practice, 2, 81-96. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/152483990100200112
  2. Turrisi, R., Jaccard, J., Taki, R., Dunnam, H., & Grimes, J. (2001). Examination of the short-term efficacy of a parent intervention to reduce college student drinking tendencies. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 366–372. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.15.4.366
Sun Safety Ink! Expands to the Latino Community

Sun Safety Ink! Expands to the Latino Community

Skin cancer rates continue to rise in the Hispanic population. In the last two decades, their annual melanoma incidence has increased by 20% (5). Even though Hispanics are diagnosed at a disproportionately lower level than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs), they are diagnosed with melanoma at a younger age, with a more advanced stage of the disease, and have lower melanoma-specific survival rates than NHWs (1,3).

Klein Buendel’s randomized controlled trial, Sun Safety Ink!, trains tattoo artists to offer skin cancer prevention advice to their clients. A recent diversity supplement will extend the Sun Safety Ink! study by focusing on how this information can be targeted to Hispanic tattoo artists and their clients, especially young adults. The supplement’s goals are to discover new approaches to address the increasing rates of skin cancer in the Hispanic population and to provide insight into the implementation of skin cancer prevention in an often hard-to-reach population.

Over 30% of the Hispanic population has tattoos (4), a rate that is higher than NHWs (25%). Tattoo studios, because they often recommend sun protection in their aftercare instructions, are a unique context in which to promote full body sun protection to Latinos. Sun Safety Ink! will distribute sun safety information to hard-to-reach Hispanic young adults. The diversification of the study sample will provide information on (1) baseline knowledge on sun protection in the Latino population, (2) barriers to sun protection, and (3) at-risk populations.

The supplement includes both formative research and the implementation of the Sun Safety Ink! program. Specifically, tattoo studios with Hispanic artists and clients in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico will be recruited to participate in the study. The tattoo artists will be provided with a version of the Sun Safety Ink! training modified based on formative research conducted by Cristian Gonzalez, MD. Dr. Gonzalez is a Research Fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and an upcoming Medical Resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Gonzalez explained that the most important aspect of this project is that “Latinos have this invincibility factor that they think they can’t get skin cancer because they don’t know a lot of family members or friends with skin cancer, so sometimes it really doesn’t come up. If we can increase awareness of skin cancer in the Latino community, and if we can also improve sun protection behavior, I think we would see a reduction in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in the future.”

Sun Safety Ink! is funded by a grant and a supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA206569; Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr. David Buller, Mary Buller, Rachel Eye, and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel; and Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Dr. Cristian Gonzalez

References

  1. Coups EJ, Stapleton JL, Hudson SV, Medina-Forrester A, Natale-Pereira A, Goydos JS. Sun protection and exposure behaviors among Hispanic adults in the United States: differences according to acculturation and among Hispanic subgroups. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:985.
  2. Hay J, Coups EJ, Ford J, DiBonaventura M. Exposure to mass media health information, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors in a United States probability sample. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2009;61(5):783-792. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.023.PMC2854488
  3. Harvey VM, Oldfield CW, Chen JT, Eschbach K. Melanoma disparities among US Hispanics: use of the social ecological model to contextualize reasons for inequitable outcomes and frame a research agenda. Journal of Skin Cancer. 2016;2016:4635740. doi: 10.1155/2016/4635740
  4. One in five U.S. adults now has a tattoo [press release]. New York, NY: Harris Insights & Analytics, February 23. Available at:  https://theharrispoll.com/new-york-n-y-february-23-2012-there-is-a-lot-of-culture-and-lore-associated-with-tattoos-from-ancient-art-to-modern-expressionism-and-there-are-many-reasons-people-choose-to-get-or-not-get-p/.
  5. Skin cancer rates soar in US Hispanics. Sun & Skin News. November 21, 2013;30(4). https://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/winter-2013-30-4/soar.
Use of Media and Social Media in the Prevention of Substance Use

Use of Media and Social Media in the Prevention of Substance Use

Three Klein Buendel Senior Scientists have authored a chapter in a new 2019 book, Prevention of Substance Use, published by Springer. The chapter titled, “Use of Media and Social Media in the Prevention of Substance Use,” was written by Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, and Dr. W. Gill Woodall.

Mass media have changed dramatically over the past 25 years, yet still remain an important channel for substance abuse prevention messages (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, marijuana). Exposure to messaging is an important issue for campaigns. This book chapter describes how online and social media have added new media platforms for substance abuse campaigns. Overall, evaluations of web-based interventions show some promise for substance abuse prevention, although the effects appear modest. Less is known about the effectiveness of social media in substance abuse campaigns, especially the influence of user-generated content and commercial advertising.

The chapter describes several recent changes that have revolutionized the media. These include the birth of the Internet, the emergence of new media (including web-based intervention and social media) that has made content available on-demand, and the introduction of mobile computing that has vastly changed connectivity, reach, and engagement. Each of these developments raises questions (which the authors explore) about the influence of new media on substance abuse campaigns and challenges for conducting research on the effects of prevention intervention delivery. The book chapter delves into the role of audience activity, starting with audience exposure determined by selective attention, exposure, and retention, and moving on to examine user-generated content in the new media environment.

The emergence of new media holds promise for future substance abuse prevention campaigns but comes with a number of challenges that are explored in the chapter. These include (1) the fact that theories of social media impact are not well developed; (2) the development of effective methodologies to measure and assess the effects of emerging media; (3) the determination of how commercial online marketing strategies influence substance use and how social marketing approaches can use similar strategies for prevention; (4) the need to understand the use of multiple platforms for promotion (e.g., broadcast, print, online media); (5) the determination of how best to leverage and encourage user-generated media for substance abuse interventions; and (6) the need to explore the interactive nature of emerging media more fully. The authors suggest that these challenges represent tremendous opportunites to better understand and more effectively impact many different populations for the improvement of their health.

Book Citation

Z. Sloboda, R. Hingson, and H. Petras (Eds.), Prevention of substance use. New York: Springer, 2019.

Insights About HPV Vaccination in the United States from Mothers on Facebook

Insights About HPV Vaccination in the United States from Mothers on Facebook

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common sexually transmitted infection is the human papillomavirus (HPV) but only about half of girls and less than 40% of boys in the United States have received all the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine (1). In a recent e-publication in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, Klein Buendel Senior Scientists, Dr. David Buller and Barbara Walkosz, and Project Manager, Julia Berteletti, and coauthors provide insights on HPV vaccination in the United States from mothers’ comments on Facebook posts in a randomized trial. The study evaluated responses from mothers of teenage girls living in various U.S. states in relation to HPV vaccine health and related information posted to private groups on Facebook.

A large number of mothers of 14-17-year-old girls joined private groups on Facebook where a variety of health information relevant to adolescent girls was posted daily. Topics included indoor tanning, mother-daughter communication, and HPV vaccinations. Posts discussing HPV vaccination were posted in each of the groups and ranged from didactic messages (e.g., the need for adolescent vaccines, how well HPV vaccines are working to decrease infection rate, number of parents choosing to vaccinate children against HPV, etc.) to narrative posts about women who have died from cervical cancer. Posts also included a link to an article, video, photograph, or an infographic.

Comments by participants were generally more favorable toward HPV vaccination than unfavorable. Mothers’ comments are further described in the journal article.

A strength of the analyses identifying participant pre-existing characteristics before posting the HPV messages on Facebook, therefore being able to show that HPV vaccination was a predictor of commenting behavior with mothers who had not vaccinated their daughters as the unfavorable commenters. It is noted that many of the mothers who did not comment had daughters that were vaccinated for HPV. A possible weakness of the study was that the sample of mothers may have limited generalizability. Authors conclude by stating that the fact that many mothers who had daughters vaccinated against HPV did not comment on the HPV posts could contribute to the idea that opposition to the HPV vaccine is larger than it is in actuality. Authors also suggest that U.S. public health agencies and practitioners need to find ways to dispel myths and provide information on vaccine safety and concerns, including that many mothers choose to vaccinate their daughters against HPV.

This research was funded by a grant to Klein Buendel from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Additional authors include Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Jessica Bibeau from University of Connecticut, Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University, and Dr. Kimberly Henry from Colorado state University.

References

  1. Sexually transmitted disease surveillance 2017: other STDs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/other.htm#hpv. Accessed March 28, 2019.
Improving Health Communication in Three Minority Populations with Photographic Images that Increase Identification

Improving Health Communication in Three Minority Populations with Photographic Images that Increase Identification

In a recent e-publication in Health Education Research, Mary Buller, President of Klein Buendel, and her coauthors report the results of an evaluation using Real Health Photos in health communication messaging with three racial/ethnic populations (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans). The study explored an approach to more effectively reach underserved populations with health messages using the homophily principal.

The homophily principle, that perceived similarities among people produce positive reactions, is a cross-cultural, global phenomenon. It is grounded in the power of identification. The study tested the prediction that photographs depicting models very similar to the target population would improve health communication by increasing perceived identification and increase the target populations’ intentions to change behavior in a favorable, more healthful direction.

To test the hypothesis, three nationally-representative stratified samples of adults (n=1,638) who were African American, Hispanic, or Native American were selected from a large national survey panel. Participants read an identical message promoting increased moderate to vigorous physical activity and decreased intake of high fat, high sugar, and high carbohydrate foods. Photographs from a commercial stock photograph service versus photographs created for the research project to match the three populations — from Real Health Photos®– were included in the messages. Participants responded to assessments of behavioral intentions, outcome and self-efficacy expectations, and identification.

Structural equation modeling confirmed the theoretical hypothesis that Real Health Photos which matched the minority population increased behavioral intentions and was mediated by identification in all three racial/ethnic minority samples. Messages with only half of the matched Real Health Photos images had these same positive indirect effects among African Americans and Hispanics. The impact of matching visual images in health messages to recipients derived from identification with the people in the images. Homophily and identification are hard-wired, evolutionary, biological phenomena that can be capitalized on by health educators with minority populations to improve message effectiveness.

Real Health Photos is a unique collection of images of people with diversity of age, gender, race, ethnicity, income level, and health condition. The collection was produced by Klein Buendel to portray the diversity of health through photography and promote the inclusion of all populations in health promotion materials and media.

The development of Real Health Photos and this research were funded by a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD003338; Mary Buller, Principal Investigator). Coauthors include Dr. Peter Andersen from San Diego State University, Dr. Michael Slater from The Ohio State University, Lyndsay Fluharty from Telligen, Inc., Dr. Kim Henry from Colorado State University, and Dr. Erwin Bettinghaus, Xia (Lucia) Liu, Steven Fullmer, and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel. Many of the Real Health Photos used in this study were taken by Delia Palmisano from Blue House Photography in Denver, Colorado.

Development of Educational Modules to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Inmates

Development of Educational Modules to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Inmates

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world and the demographics of the prison inmate population are shifting and aging. Many older adults are serving extended sentences and will age and die in place — making geriatric and end-of-life care an essential educational foci for prison staff. Consequently, resources are needed to adequately prepare prison staff to address this growing concern.

In a recent publication in Public Health Nursing, a research team led by Dr. Susan Loeb from Penn State University and including Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, reports on the development of educational modules to enhance the care of aged and dying inmates in prisons. The article describes the strategies used to “set-up” the Enhancing Care for the Aged and Dying in Prisons (ECAD-P) educational modules. “Set-up” is the first of four phases in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Framework for Going to Full Scale, which served as the conceptual framework for this study. Objectives achieved during the Set-up phase include: (a) establishing an approach for infusing the intervention into the target system; (b) identifying the product that needs scaling-up; and (c) determining what will be accomplished in the full-scale phase. Also, program buy-in within the given context and identification of the test sites, as well as support by early adopters, are essential.

The design approach for the educational modules included an environmental scan, a modified Delphi study, and a usability study.

An environmental scan provided a foundational understanding of the complex, contextual factors that impact correctional settings in the United States. Specifically, the environmental scan of diverse correctional settings helped to determine current educational approaches, education and learning preferences of personnel, and the technological capacity to deliver computer-based educational modules. Gaining knowledge was essential for the targeted development of modules that are tailored to address the health needs of the growing numbers of older inmates, many of whom will remain incarcerated through their end of life.

The Delphi process uses iterative group facilitation to forge reliable consensus on the opinion of experts through a series of structured questionnaires or rounds. The goal is to secure expert judgment based on experience. A Delphi survey was conducted early in the Set-Up phase to identify essential geriatric content for integration into the new prototype learning modules. The outcome was a reliable consensus on essential geriatric content for inclusion into the newly rebranded ECAD-P modules. An Expert Advisory Board reviewed the findings and validated the results.

For the usability assessment, the research team collaborated to design and program three media-rich, interactive computer-based prototype modules designed for the corrections context. The prototype, containing three modules, was built using Axure development software. The prototype was self-contained on a laptop computer. Each module had learning objectives, content delivered through multiple interactive features (for example: drag and drop, hover, click and reveal, video) and a final comprehension check quiz. Usability and acceptability testing were assessed following an established protocol examine navigability, detect problems, observe time spent solving problems, identify problem severity, and develop recovery strategies. After usability testing, the participants completed the System Usability Scale, a validated tool for assessing the usability and acceptability of technology-based products. Testing was conducted with 16 participants at two state correctional institutions in one mid-Atlantic state.

A full description of the methods, results, conclusions, and limitations of this study, as well as the implications for public health nursing, can be found in Public Health Nursing. This research was funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to KB from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; Dr. Susan Loeb, Principal Investigator). Other collaborators/coauthors include Dr. Janice Penrod, Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Dr. Rachel Wion, and Brenda Baney from Penn State University; and Sophia Strickfaden from Johnson & Wales University. KB’s Creative Team produced the ECAD-P prototype modules.

Implementation of Occupational Sun Safety at a 2-Year Follow-Up in a Randomized Trial

Implementation of Occupational Sun Safety at a 2-Year Follow-Up in a Randomized Trial

The American Academy of Dermatology acknowledges that outdoor workers receive more UV radiation exposure and are at a higher risk for skin cancer than other workers.1 In a recent article e-published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, KB’s Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, and Mary Buller, along with multiple collaborators, evaluated the implementation of sun protection policies two years after the initial intervention, called Sun Safe Workplaces (SSW), in cities, counties, and special districts in Colorado with workers in public works, public safety, and parks and recreation. Authors were also interested in whether or not the organizational characteristics had an effect on the implementation of the sun safety policies.

In the original 24-month long study, 98 government organizations in Colorado were enrolled in 2010 and 2011 and half were randomly selected to receive the SSW intervention, where the primary outcome was adoption of a sun protection policy. Each of the organizations’ written workplace policies were assessed and senior managers completed surveys before and after the intervention. In 2015 and 2016, two years after the intervention was completed, the organizations were contacted for a second follow-up and 63 of the original 98 agreed to participate. Self-administered surveys were given to frontline supervisors and employees who worked outdoors by key contact managers. Project staff visited each organization to conduct semi structured interviews with key managers and complete an audit of the workplace for sun protection messages and items.

Implementation of sun protection policies was measured in three ways: 1) inspection of the workplace for sun protection messages and personal sun protection items, such as shade structures or sunscreen; 2) reports from frontline supervisors on whether the organization communicated with employees about sun safety, had unwritten standard operating procedures on sun safety, or provided personal sun protection equipment for employees, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, etc.; and 3) reports from employees on whether they had received any training on sun safety at the workplace or sun safety communication from the organization or a coworker.

Results showed that two years after the initial intervention, sun protection messages and sun protection items were used more often in organizations that were originally part of the intervention group compared to the control group. Survey responses from frontline supervisors at intervention organizations also showed more communication about sun protection to employees, more standard operating procedures on sun safety and more free/reduced cost sunscreen than those from control organizations. Sun protection training and sun safety communication from coworkers and the employer was higher in intervention organizations when compared to control organizations. Additionally, organizations with a sun protection policy implemented more sun safety actions (communication about sun safety and provided personal sun protection equipment) than organizations without a policy.

The authors conclude that the SSW intervention appeared to increase local government organizations’ sun safety actions over time. Authors state that formal policies on sun protection and training together appear to be an important part of occupational sun protection efforts. A full description of the methods, results, conclusions, and limitations of this study can be found in the publication in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

This research was funded by the National Cancer Institute (CA187191; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Principal Investigators). Collaborators/coauthors include Mary Buller from Klein Buendel, Dr. Allan Wallis from the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Peter Andersen from San Diego State University, Dr. Michael Scott from Mikonics, Inc., Dr. Richard Meenan from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, and Dr. Gary Cutter from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Reference

  1. Outdoor workers and skin cancer. Safety+Health. September 23, 2018. Available at: https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17480-outdoor-workers-and-skin-cancer. Accessed January 14, 2019.

Results of a Randomized Trial of the Way To Serve Responsible Alcohol Server Training

Results of a Randomized Trial of the Way To Serve Responsible Alcohol Server Training

Alcohol use and misuse is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol servers may help prevent alcohol-impaired car accidents and other harms by discouraging overconsumption by patrons. Responsible beverage service (RBS) training is designed to improve serving behavior, especially by avoiding selling too many drinks to a patron, refusing sales to intoxicated patrons, and properly checking identification to prevent sales to minors. Positive evaluations of RBS programs have been reported, yet online technologies hold promise for improving training quality, fidelity, cost, and uptake.

In a recent publication in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugsresearchers led by Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. W. Gill Woodall, reported the results of a randomized trial of the media-rich, interactive web-based WayToServe® (WTS) RBS training. The study hypothesized that servers who completed the WTS training would refuse alcohol service to apparently-intoxicated patrons at significantly higher rates compared with servers who completed the usual and customary (UC) live training.

In the study, alcohol-serving establishments (such as bars) in New Mexico were randomly assigned to receive WTS training (n=154) or the UC live training (n=155). Establishments were assessed before training, immediately after training, at six months after training, and at one year after training with a pseudo-intoxicated patron protocol (in which buyers were trained to enacting documented behavioral signs of intoxication) to assess premise alcohol service during early to mid-evening hours. The primary outcome variable for the assessment was the proportion of apparently-intoxicated buyers who were refused alcohol service.

Results indicated significantly higher refusal rates for WTS than for UC premises at the immediate (WTS=68% vs. UC=49%) and the one-year post-training assessment points (WTS=68% vs. UC=58%), but not at the six-month post-training assessment (WTS=69% vs. UC=64%). Results also indicated that younger pseudo-patrons were consistently refused more often than older pseudo-patrons. The study concluded that RBS training can be delivered online, broadening the scale of distribution and making it a potentially more cost-effective way to reach alcohol servers with effective and beneficial RBS training.

A full description of the methods, results, and limitations of this study, as well as commentaries by Buvik & Rossow (2018) and Miller (2018), and an author response, can be found in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA014982; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator) at the National Institutes of Health. Collaborators/coauthors includeDr. Randall Starling from the University of New Mexico, Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in California, Dr. David Buller from KB, and Dr. Paula Stranghetta from Paula Stanghetta & Associates, Inc. in Ontario, Canada. KB’s Creative Team produced the WayToServe® web-based training. WayToServe® has been licensed to Wedge Communications LLC for commercial sale and distribution.

¡Caminemos Juntas!: A Smartphone App for Latinas to Connect with Walking Partners

¡Caminemos Juntas!: A Smartphone App for Latinas to Connect with Walking Partners

Dr. Valerie Myers, Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, is the Principal Investigator leading a new research project aimed at helping Latinas combat barriers to physical activity using smartphone technology and social networks.

Hispanic women are a growing and influential segment of the population, yet health disparities for Latinas remain high. Latinas are more likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to be overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, and physically inactive. Regular physical activity promotes physical and emotional well-being, such as lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, weight management, and improved quality of life, yet physical activity interventions for Latinas remain limited.

Community-focused walking interventions produce improvements in physical activity and are well-received by Latinas when they are socioculturally sensitive. New technology has the ability to provide Latinas with innovative ways to connect socially and increase PA. Location-based services (LBS) are a popular technology that uses geographical positioning to allow individuals to use their smartphones to connect to their surrounding environment.

¡Caminemos Juntas! is a physical activity walking app that uses location-based services to connect Latinas within nearby neighborhoods as a way to provide social support for increased walking behavior. A prototype of the ¡Caminemos Juntas! app was programmed for both iOS and Android smartphones in a previous Phase I project. Multi-method formative research was conducted to guide app design and content prior to conducting field usability testing. To guide prototype development, a national sample of Latinas (n=98; mean age 32.7 +/- 7.8 years; 45% primary Spanish speaking; 28.6% with annual income < $15,000) were surveyed to better understand their preferences, usage, needs, and obstacles of current apps in relation to health and physical activity. Latinas’ current physical activity behaviors and smartphone use, opinions on health-related apps using LBS, how often they access social networking sites on their mobile phone, and their likelihood of using a social networking app to connect to others with intentions to be physically active were also examined.

Phase I results revealed that 22.5% never or rarely exercised, 73.5% accessed social networking sites daily with an average of 8 times a day, and 43.9% used LBS every day. Ease of use (82%), informationally accurate (79.2%), and reliability (84.7%) were app features rated as highly important. Over 63% reported high likelihood of using a social networking app to connect to others with the intentions of being physically active, and 67.4% reported that this type of app would be very helpful. Focus groups showed that the app was appealing, also.

In the new Phase II project, the ¡Caminemos Juntas! app will be fully developed and evaluated in a randomized control trial with Latinas aged 18-45 in San Jose, CA and Denver, CO. Changes in physical activity, social support for exercise, and quality of life will be evaluated. New features to be explored include Fitbit® device integration, mapping of walks, and social media integration. The LBS features of the app will allow Latinas to determine a safe place to meet for a walk, connect with other users nearby, and be notified if there was an available walk in the user’s vicinity.

The research is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD009652) at the National Institutes of Health through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. Dr. Myers’ collaborators include Dr. Abby King from Stanford University, and Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagorus, Inc. in Alabama.

Use of AFIX-based Strategies for HPV Vaccination in Florida

Use of AFIX-based Strategies for HPV Vaccination in Florida

Dr. Barbara Walkosz, a Senior Scientist at Klein Buendel (KB), is one of several authors on a recent publication reporting on Florida pediatricians’ use of AFIX-based strategies for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of adolescents and young adults. The report is published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Research collaborators (coauthors) are from the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Pediatric Partners, the Indiana University School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

HPV vaccination is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to significantly reduce the incidence of cervical, vaginal, oral, and other cancers caused by the sexually transmitted virus. A series of vaccinations are recommended for adolescents and young adults, preferably before the onset of sexual activity (9-26 years of age).

However, rates of HPV vaccination in Florida and the U.S. are disappointingly low – less than 50% for girls and less than 40% for boys. In an effort to increase HPV vaccination of pediatric patients, the CDC created and implements the AFIX quality improvement program with healthcare providers. AFIX stands for Assessment, Feedback, Incentives, and the exchange of information – the four key strategies of the program which is delivered to clinics by local health departments.

The Preventive Medicine paper reports on the results of a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 770 pediatric and family medicine physicians in Florida to assess the use of the AFIX strategies. Less than half of the physicians surveyed reported implementing any AFIX strategies, leaving room for program engagement, uptake, and improvement.