Michael L. Hecht, Ph.D., is the co-president of REAL Prevention LLC. He currently works with Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. David Buller, on a project entitled, “Feasibility of a Mobile Parent-Based Intervention to Reduce Alcohol Use by High School Seniors.” The Phase II SBIR research project is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA025293; Dr. Michael Hecht, Principal Investigator).
The program aims to provide an efficient, engaging and effective means to enhance parents’ ability to reduce prevalence of alcohol use and consequences, and other substance use. The program, called Parenting Now (PN), is adapted from the evidence-based Parent Handbook and includes a brief, interactive, self-paced, web-based curriculum for parents of non-college bound high-school-aged adolescents. KB will develop the PN program, which was previously tested in a Phase I trial, and it will include core and optional modules in order to target parents based on their communication style. Parents will be able to customize their experience by choosing or clicking through the optional content. Results will help prepare PN for dissemination through D.A.R.E. America’s new high school program as well as REAL Prevention’s other community-based partners, such as 4-H and Planned Parenthood.
In addition to substance abuse prevention research, Dr. Hecht specializes in developing and evaluating culturally grounded, narrative health messages to engage diverse communities. Through his work on an R01 in the 1990s, called “keepin’ it REAL” (kiR), Dr. Hecht co-founded REAL Prevention and has disseminated and implemented the program in all 50 states and 53 other countries. As co-president of REAL Prevention, Dr. Hecht provides training, consulting, support and evaluation services to organizations interested in adopting of kiR or developing new interventions.
Dr. Hecht earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University. He has won numerous awards, including the Gerald R. Philips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship, two Distinguished Scholarship Awards for the International and Intercultural Division of the National Communication Association, and the Article of the Year Award for SIETAR. Additionally, Dr. Hecht has served on NIH’s Community-Level Health Promotion Review Group, including being selected as its chair, as well as on numerous editorial boards in communication and other fields.
Christopher Houck, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Human Behavior departments at Brown University. He currently works with Dr. Valerie Myers on a project titled, “An Emotion Regulation Intervention for Early Adolescent Risk Behavior Prevention” which is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (HD089979).
The program, Project Trac, originally geared toward educating adolescents on sexual health, was proven effective at targeting emotional regulation and reducing sexual risk among middle schoolers and high schoolers. Through tablet-based gaming, the current intervention focuses on teaching adolescents’ skills for managing their emotions to reduce poor decision-making that can lead to engaging in a variety of risky behaviors, like substance use or fighting. The overall goal of the current study is to provide an engaging, digital format to deliver the effective emotional regulation program; delivering the intervention through this technology reduces implementation costs and allows for flexibility in order to reach a wider audience.
Dr. Houck has also collaborated with Klein Buendel as a Co-Investigator
on a project funded by the National Institute of Justice titled “Partner
Violence Prevention for Middle School Boys: A Dyadic Web-Based Intervention”
(2014-MU-CX-4002). The aim of the study was to develop a web-based intervention
to reduce the risk of dating violence among middle-school aged males. The
engaging, web-based intervention, to be used by parents and adolescents
together, was based on the large empirical literature linking emotion
regulation deficits to violent behavior as well as numerous studies showing
that parental involvement is crucial to offset dating violence risk. The
results from the pilot-testing were promising and a larger randomized controlled
trial will begin in the fall.
In addition to adolescent emotional regulation and risky behaviors research, Dr. Houck is a licensed psychologist and provides services to children and adolescents at Rhode Island Hospital in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He works with patients affected by family illness and dealing with both psychological and medical problems. Dr. Houck completed his postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology at Brown University in Rhode Island. He received the Psychology Research Mentor Awards from the Alpert Medical School at Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in 2017. In addition to his work at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, he is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
Robert Newton, Jr., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) at Louisiana State University. He has collaborated with Dr. Valerie Myers for several years – most recently on the Healthy Detours project funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the MobileMen project funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
In Phase I of the MobileMen project, a prototype mobile app to track physical activity, tailored to African American men ages 18 to 45, was developed. The goal was to help African American men in the maintenance phase of physical activity to remain actively physically active. Currently, Dr. Newton and Dr. Myers are working on funding for Phase II of MobileMen. In Phase II, all features of the full mobile app will be programmed and evaluated with the target population.
More broadly, Dr. Newton’s research addresses health disparities experienced by the African American community. Much of his work addresses the design and development of physical activity interventions and he also conducts weight loss research. He develops community-based and technologically-driven interventions to promote physical activity, weight management, and weight loss among African American adolescents, adults, and older adults.
Currently, Dr. Newton
leads studies assessing the effect of a community-based physical activity
intervention in older African American adults and a mobile phone-based
intervention targeting increased physical activity in young children. He is
also involved in two primary care weight management programs and several
childhood physical activity and/or weight management studies.
Dr. Newton has a Ph.D. in
Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida. Outside of his work at
PBRC, Dr. Newton is the Healthy Equity Special Interest Group Chair for the
Society of Behavioral Medicine and is a member of the American College of
Dr. Vern Westerberg is a retired clinical research professor, scientist, and administrator working part time at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA).
Currently, Dr. Westerberg is working with Klein Buendel as a collaborating scientist with Dr. Gill Woodall on a project called Smartphone Help for DWI Offenders and Their Families: A B-SMART App. The research is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. Westerberg is assisting with the creation of a mobile web app to help family members learn ways to support the Driving While Impaired (DWI) offender in their family. The goal is to decrease the offender’s drinking and risk of drinking and driving when an ignition interlock device has been mandated by the courts. The randomized control trial will take place in New Mexico.
Before pursuing clinical administration, Dr. Westerberg’s research investigated treatments for substance use disorders and some of the mechanisms underlying such disorders in clinical populations. His interests included substance use craving and mechanisms underlying relapse to alcohol use after quitting.
In addition to collaborating with Klein Buendel, Dr. Westerberg operates his own business that focuses on program evaluation and research for behavioral health programs that serve primarily less-advantaged populations. He also volunteers as part of a committee at a homeless treatment facility where he advises on the use of data to implement, improve, and assess clinical and medical programs. He is part of a subcommittee that determines how local city and county government should spend mill levy money to improve and integrate behavioral health services.
Frank G. Pérez, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Communication and Research at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He is currently a collaborator working with Klein Buendel scientists, Dr. Gill Woodall and Dr. David Buller, on WayToServe® Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers project, funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Pérez will assist with the creation of culturally-appropriate content and the translation of the WayToServe online training program into Spanish and to ensure the translation is compatible with the needs and values of alcohol servers in Spanish language-dominant bars and restaurants. The randomized control trial will take place at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States.
At UTEP Dr. Pérez ’s research includes Intercultural communication, popular culture, Chicano studies, identity issues and the Master of Leadership Studies programs. He also conducts research in intercultural health with a focus on Latina/Latino populations in relation to alcohol use. He is also the lead instructor of the UTEP-Rare Mater of Arts program, an internationally based program that allows environmental conservation professionals from throughout the developing world to earn a Master of Arts. Students first complete a year of coursework in communication followed by the development, implementation, management, and evaluation of a one-year environmental conservation campaign, often in a rural community.
Dr. Pérez has recently completed a book-length manuscript on the fantasy heritage of Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate in Southwest tourism. The manuscript examines tourism and how it erases and/or marginalizes Mexican/Americans from memory at popular tourism sites in the Southwest. Dr. Pérez’s research has also appeared in Communication for Development and Social Change Journal, Western Journal of Communication, Communication Yearbook, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and other scholarly outlets.
Dr. Gregory Zimet is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Since he arrived there in 1993, he has guided an extensive, multi-faceted research program focused on attitudes about, and acceptance of, vaccines for the prevention of sexually-transmitted infections, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Currently, Dr. Zimet serves as a KB collaborating scientist with Dr. Gill Woodall and Dr. David Buller on a research project entitled “Web App Technology for Boys and Parents: Improving HPV Vaccine Uptake.” Other collaborating investigators include Dr. Alberta Kong and Dr. Randall Starling from the University of New Mexico. The four-year HPV project, funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA210125; G. Woodall, PI), is designed to produce a mobile web app to accurately inform parents and adolescent boys about the HPV vaccination and address unique concerns about its safety and effectiveness for boys. The mobile web app is being developed for personal computers, smartphones, and tablet computers.
Dr. Zimet’s research also has involved randomized clinical trials designed to evaluate the effects of brief health communication messages on hepatitis B virus and HPV vaccine uptake, and on acceptance of HIV testing. Through his involvement over the past five years in the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions, Dr. Zimet has expanded his research focus to examine factors related to recruitment of adolescents into biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials. Biomedical trials that may involve the recruitment of adolescents are related to pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV vaccine, and microbicides. Some of his recent publications address HPV vaccination, microbicide acceptability among adolescents, and attitudes about HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 testing.
Dr. Zimet has served as a research mentor to five physician fellows, over 20 pre- and post-doctoral fellows in psychology, social work, health behavior, and nursing, and several junior faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Nursing at Indiana University.
Robert Saltz, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in Berkeley, California.
He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts. His research explores ways in which drinking context may influence the risk of subsequent injury or death. He has extensive experience researching “responsible beverage service” programs aimed at having bar and restaurant personnel intervene with patrons to reduce the risk of intoxication or driving while impaired.
Dr. Saltz collaborated with Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall at Klein Buendel (KB) on the development, trial, and commercialization of the WayToServe®responsible beverage service training program funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator).
Currently, Dr. Saltz is working with KB on two projects. He serves as a collaborating scientist with Dr. Woodall on WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers (MD010405; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). For this project, he will assist with the creation of culturally-appropriate content and advise on the recruitment of alcohol sales premises. This study will systematically translate and test an alcohol server training intervention (WayToServe Español). The research will explore overcoming dissemination barriers with ethnically diverse and Spanish speaking restaurant and bar workers. The team will tailor it to be culturally specific and compatible with the values and needs of the employees, simple to adopt, accessible for trial, and observable in direct benefits and effects on responsible alcohol services. The randomized control trial will take place at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States. …
Dr. Victoria Sánchez is an Associate Professor in the College of Population Health at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. She earned her MPH at the University of California at Berkeley and her Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She directs the MPH Community Health Concentration track at UNM and teaches social and behavioral sciences courses for the UNM College of Public Health.
Dr. Sánchez has a long-standing commitment to participatory planning and evaluation processes with communities and public health organizations. Over the last thirty years, she has integrated her expertise in public health practice and participatory and multidisciplinary research methodologies to plan and implement joint solutions for reducing health and social disparities in Latino and other vulnerable communities. As a member of multidisciplinary teams, she has applied social and cultural theories and models in the development, tailoring, testing, and evaluation of interventions to improve the health of Latinos/Hispanics in New Mexico, Texas, and California.
Currently, Dr. Sánchez is working with Klein Buendel as a collaborating scientist with Dr. Gill Woodall and Dr. David Buller on WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers (R44MD010405; Dr. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). This research project is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Sánchez collaborates on the creation and evaluation of culturally-appropriate content and the translation of the English WayToServe® online training program to Spanish. She helps ensure that the translation is compatible with the values and needs of servers in Spanish language-dominant bars and restaurants. The randomized control trial is being conducted at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States. …
Areli Chacón Silva, Ph.D., is the Interim Director of the Leadership Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. She has a BA in International Business from Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) (1996), an MBA from Angelo State University (1999), and a PhD in Economics from the University of La Havana (2011). Her research explores the Latino market in the United States, as well as business expansion opportunities for Mexican businesses. She has experience researching the cultural values of Latinos in America.
Currently, Dr. Chacón Silva is working with KB as a collaborating scientist with Dr. Gill Woodall and Dr. David Buller on WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers (R44MD010405; Dr. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). This research project is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. On this project, she will assist with the creation of culturally-appropriate content and the translation of the English WayToServe® online responsible alcohol server training program to Spanish. She will ensure that the translation is compatible with the values and needs of workers in Spanish language-dominant bars and restaurants. The randomized control trial will take place at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States.
In addition to her research collaboration with KB, Dr. Chacón Silva serves as Chair of the Curriculum Development Committee of the (L.E.A.D. Program) for Wise Latina International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and empower Latinas and women of all walks of life to overcome barriers, to be self-reliant, to become leaders, and to act as agents of change in our communities.
Dr. Chacón Silva served on the Editorial Board Member Committee at the International Case Center of Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) from 2008 to 2012. Her research has appeared in the International Journal of Case Method Research and Application and other scholarly outlets. She has worked as a consultant in international business, leadership, and business logistics since 2001.
Dr. Chacón Silva is also the co-author of the book ¡Reconquest! Advice for Business Owners in Chihuahua to do Business with Latinos in the US (2010). The book presents the results of research funded by CONACYT (National Science and Technology Fund of Mexico: CHIH-2006-CO2-59483) to developing capacity building strategies for Chihuahuan business people to increase commerce with Latinos in the United States, through the concept of the nostalgia marketing.