Baseline Survey of Managers on Occupational Sun Protection in a Randomized Trial of Scale-up

Baseline Survey of Managers on Occupational Sun Protection in a Randomized Trial of Scale-up

Scale-up is the effort to increase the impact of successful prevention interventions to benefit more people on a lasting basis. Successful and affordable methods for scaling-up evidence-based programs are needed to prevent skin cancer among adults, particularly those who work outdoors in the sun.

Dr. David Buller, Director of Research at Klein Buendel, presented baseline findings from the scale-up of an occupational skin cancer prevention program at the 42nd Annual (Virtual) Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 12-16, 2021.

A randomized trial is being conducted to compare two methods of scaling up, nationwide, an effective occupational sun protection intervention, Sun Safe Workplaces, that promotes policy and education for outdoor workers. Departments of Transportation (DOTs) from 21 U.S. states are participating and their 138 regional districts were randomized following baseline assessment. The state DOTs range in size from 997 to 18,415 employees. At baseline, 1,113 managers (49.0%) completed the pretest. Managers were generally supportive of occupational sun safety policy, but also felt employees should take action on their own on sun protection. A minority reported that their DOT had a written policy or standard operating procedure on occupational sun protection. Just over half reported that the DOT provided training on sun safety to employees and/or managers and supervisors. About two-thirds reported that the DOT provided messaging on sun protection and sun protection resources, such as sunscreen, clothing, hats, or eyewear. Other sun safety actions were less commonly reported (for example, provision of shade, UV Index monitored and outdoor work activities adjusted, or employees encouraged to regularly check skin for signs of skin cancer.

Occupational sun exposure receives some attention at DOTs, mainly in the form of training and provision of sun safety resources. However, it appears that several employees may not be practicing sun protection because of lack of policy and/or sun safety prevention efforts. Policy on occupational sun safety is less common, despite the link of solar UV to skin cancer. Health promotion approaches that incorporate policy with education might help to improve implementation of sun safety at the workplace.

This research project (CA210259; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator) is funded as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which aims to accelerate cancer research in order to make more therapies available to patients, while also improving the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. Collaborators on the conference presentation include Dr. Richard Meenan from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagoras, Inc., Dr. Sherry Pagoto from the University of Connecticut, and Ms. Mary Buller, Ms. Julia Berteletti, Ms. Rachel Eye, and Dr. Barbara Walkosz from Klein Buendel. This baseline data is published in Contemporary Clinical Trails.

Listen to the Research Spotlight presentation.

Translation of an In-Person Bystander Bullying Intervention to a Technology-Based Platform

Translation of an In-Person Bystander Bullying Intervention to a Technology-Based Platform

Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, and collaborators from Boise State University will be presenting a poster showcasing the development of a technology-based bullying prevention program during the 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine from April 12-16, 2021.

Bullying is a significant problem in the United States, with more than a quarter of middle school students reporting bullying victimization. Bullying is associated with multiple mental health, social, and academic consequences. Although comprehensive school-wide interventions are available, they require significant resources for implementation, reducing access to schools, particularly in rural or low-income communities. Thus, there is a need for bullying programs that effectively address bullying while removing implementation barriers.

The STAC intervention is a brief, bystander bullying intervention that includes psychoeducation and role-plays to increase knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying. STAC stands for four strategies students can use when they witness bullying: “Stealing the show,” “Turning it over,” “Accompanying others,” and “Coaching compassion.” A series of randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the efficacy of the STAC intervention in reducing bullying perpetration and victimization, as well as depression, anxiety, and alcohol use.

The goal of the project presented in the poster was to translate the STAC program into a technology-based platform (STAC-T) for middle schools. The aims of this study were to: (1) conduct a needs assessment with middle school personnel, (2) develop a web-based prototype based on the in-person STAC intervention through iterative focus groups, and (3) conduct usability testing with middle school students and school personnel. Qualitative data from the needs assessment indicated a strong interest in a technology-based bullying intervention and positive conditions for implementation including administrative support and school technology-readiness. Students who participated in iterative focus groups reported the app concept was easily understood and engaging and identified essential features for a successful prototype.

Results from usability testing indicated participants perceived the STAC-T program to be useful and appropriate for their school and community. Findings from this study showed that the STAC-T program is relevant and feasible for implementation in the middle school settings and is usable for the target audience.

The STAC-T project is funded by an STTR grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD014943; Dr. Aida Midgett, Principal Investigator). A third collaborator, in addition to Dr. Midgett and Dr. Myers, is Dr. Diana Doumas from Boise State University.

Using Project Management Skills in Behavioral Research

Using Project Management Skills in Behavioral Research

Research projects have various moving parts throughout their lifespan needing to be completed within a certain timeframe and budget as outlined in the grant awarded. Project management skills are crucial in ensuring all phases, tasks, and logistics of a research project are organized and completed within deadline and scope.

The workload of a project is driven by how each aim breaks down into a phase, each with its own specific deliverables to be fulfilled and unique timeline to be met. As each phase of a project moves forward, the responsibilities are often compounded due to overlapping timelines, creating an increased need to think ahead and utilize efficient multi-tasking and organizational skills.

Research Project Management Phases

  • Determining and communicating the scope derived from the grant aims and methods;
  • Developing timelines;
  • Protocol development (such as recruitment, screening, data entry, intervention, data management, and adverse event processing);
  • Obtaining necessary institutional approvals;
  • Staff identification/hiring, training, and evaluation;
  • Goal setting including incremental goals as well as larger overarching goals;
  • Project implementation;
  • Delivering objectives including communication of progress toward objectives;
  • Tracking budgeted and expended costs;
  • Required reporting to aid in communicating progress; and
  • Problem-solving as issues inevitably arise.

Communication is a key component to ensuring a smooth flow of the deliverables throughout the project. All personnel on a project need to maintain the same vision and goals. This can often be accomplished using regular meetings, phone calls, emails, and reports. Beyond the regular means of communication, a more comprehensive system such as project management software can be used to keep track of deliverables and deadlines.

Klein Buendel Research Program Manager, Julia Berteletti, organized and participated in a research project management Pre-Conference Workshop at the virtual 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), April 12-16, 2021. Her co-presenter was Jessica Bibeau from the University of Connecticut. The presenters have been coordinating multi-site research projects from coast-to-coast with each other for several years. Ms. Berteletti explained, “Our projects run on effective partnerships. Facilitating teamwork is one of my favorite parts of my job. It meant a lot to me for us to share our methods for effective collaboration and project management with other research teams.” The SBM seminar provided a guide for managing a research project using a project management approach which included: (a) understanding the scope, (b) setting goals, (c) considering the costs, (d) implementation (intervention/data collection), and (e) close-out. A hypothetical project was used to present each part of the approach. Team organization, communication, important considerations, timelines, charts, and reports were reviewed to aid in organization, and project management software ideas were provided along with a tutorial of the Basecamp software.

Advisory Boards and Usability Testing of an E-Training Program for End-of-Life Care in Prisons

Advisory Boards and Usability Testing of an E-Training Program for End-of-Life Care in Prisons

The 14th Annual Academic and Health Policy Conference on Criminal Justice Health, hosted by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, was held virtually on April 8-10, 2021. Susan J. Loeb, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, from the Penn State College of Nursing gave two presentations on research conducted in collaboration with Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Valerie Myers, PhD. The presentations were titled, “Planning, Maximizing, and Sustaining Advisory Boards to Inform and Facilitate Research in Prisons” and “Usability Testing of an E-Training Package to Enhance Geriatric and End-of-Life Care in Prisons.” 

Planning, Maximizing, and Sustaining Advisory Boards to Inform and Facilitate Research in Prisons 

Dr. Susan J. Loeb discussed working with Advisory Boards for research in prisons. Advisory Boards are comprised of targeted stakeholders who collaborate with researchers to promote cultural awareness, consideration of environmental facilitators and constraints, and the upholding of ethical responsibilities to keep the best interests of research participants at the forefront. 

Effective partnering with Advisory Boards can promote entrée and execution of corrections research and enhance the credibility, relevance, and translation of study findings. The team systematically considered stakeholders who were engaged on Advisory Boards across four previous NIH-funded studies to assess how to promote stability, infuse fresh perspectives, refine the focus of consultation, and extend the array of research settings during an era when in-person meetings were not feasible due to a pandemic. 

Adopting multiple advisory boards with unique foci and constituted by people possessing expertise in a focused area, allows for laser-focused videoconference meetings. While virtual meetings may not afford the same intensive opportunities for relationship building that on-site meetings do, the former does lessen travel-related budgetary, logistical, and time burdens. 

The research team concluded that teaming with and sustaining a diverse array of community stakeholders is a key strategy for generating science that is tailored to address the health needs and promote health equity for people living in prisons. 

Usability Testing of an E-Training Package to Enhance Geriatric and End-of-Life Care in Prisons 

Dr. Susan J. Loeb presented on usability testing and best practices of a full-scale media-rich interactive computer-based learning system for corrections staff in response to the growing population needing geriatric and end-of-life (EOL) care in prisons, which are not consistently adopted. The training is called, Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prisons (ECAD-P). 
 
The research team conducted face- to- face usability testing of the 6-module ECAD-P training with corrections staff in two rounds at two correctional facilities in different states. The System Usability Scale (SUS) was administered to assess usability and acceptability of ECAD-P. Full scale testing included 173 participants at seven state prisons who completed cognitive and posttest measures and the SUS. 
 
The mean SUS score was 75.10 in the face-to-face usability testing, which indicated a high level of acceptability and usability since a score of 68 is above average. For the large-scale testing, cognitive posttest scores were significantly higher than cognitive pretest scores. At posttest, affective measures were significantly higher than at pretest. The mean SUS score for the full-scale testing was 69.34. 

The corrections environment is not technology-rich; however, prison administration and staff are accustomed to and receptive of computer-based learning (a frequently used delivery platform for mandatory training sessions). Therefore, the research team concluded the ECAD-P product is acceptable, feasible, and usable in corrections.  

The research presented at ACCJH was funded by multiple SBIR/STTR grants to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging (AG049570; AG057239; Dr. Susan J. Loeb and Dr. Valerie Myers, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators on the two presentations also included Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Sherif Olanrewaju, and Katherine Fiochetta from Penn State University; and Jeannyfer Reither and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel. 

Working with Advisory Boards for Research in Prisons

Working with Advisory Boards for Research in Prisons

Susan Loeb, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, from the Penn State College of Nursing presented research conducted in collaboration with Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Valerie Myers, PhD, at the 33rd Annual (Virtual) Scientific Sessions of the Eastern Nursing Research Society on March 25 and 26, 2021. This year’s conference theme was Generating Nursing Science to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Society. Dr. Loeb’s poster was entitled, “Planning, Maximizing, and Sustaining Advisory Boards to Promote Equitable Care for Diverse Populations.”  

The poster reported the exploration of effective ways to partner with Advisory Boards to promote successful entrée into prisons to (1) conduct and execute study aims; (2) enhance credibility, relevance, and translation of research; and (3) promote equitable health and health care for diverse populations. The specific study utilizing Advisory Boards was designed to engage carefully vetted men and women who are incarcerated to assist in caring for their older or sicker peers, and provide them with consistent high quality peer caregiving training. Trained peers contribute to a pressing health care need in our nation’s prisons.

In order to maximize Advisory Board effectiveness, the research team:

  • Reflected on past experiences and considered key stakeholders engaged on Advisory Boards across four previous NIH-funded studies in this area of research;
  • Deliberated on what worked well and challenges encountered;
  • Identified enthusiastic leaders and staff at prior research location with a focus on broadening the array of disciplines represented;
  • Bolstered representation of people who were previously incarcerated; and
  • Appraised budgetary capacity.

As a result, Advisory Board meetings were shortened and focused, representation by Departments of Corrections was expanded, relationship building and networking opportunities were achieved, virtual events reduced budgetary and logistical burdens associated, and cost savings allowed for more frequent Advisory Board engagement.

Building commitment of representative Advisory Boards facilitates access to hard-to-reach and often overlooked research populations. Advisory boards of invested and representative stakeholders are key to generating nursing science that addresses health needs and promotes health equity for people living in prison.

The research presented was funded by the following SBIR/STTR grants to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; AG049570; AG057239; AG057239; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Valerie Myers, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators on this poster also included Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Sherif Olanrewaju, and Katherine Fiochetta from Penn State University; and Jeannyfer Reither and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel.

Curbing College Drinking and Risky Sexual Behavior Using Dynamic Feedback

Curbing College Drinking and Risky Sexual Behavior Using Dynamic Feedback

Two-thirds of college students are current drinkers of alcoholic beverages. One in three college students report past month binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row), and one in ten report high intensity drinking (ten or more drinks in a row). Greater student alcohol consumption and heavy drinking on a given day are linked to increased sexual activity and risky sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex and sex with casual partners. This puts students at risk for negative health outcomes, such as sexually-transmitted infections, and other harmful consequences, such as sexual victimization.

Klein Buendel is collaborating with Dr. Anne Ray at the University of Kentucky on a new research project designed to curb drinking and risky sexual behavior by first-year college students. The new study will assess the impact of a brief, personalized intervention utilizing an innovative, cross-tailored, dynamic feedback component. The intervention will purposefully integrate content on the relationship between alcohol use and risky sexual behavior. The intervention will leverage technology to incorporate daily assessments of student behavior and deliver weekly dynamic feedback. Participating students will be asked to complete four diary entries each week for three months.

A hybrid effectiveness-implementation design will allow the investigators to evaluate the effectiveness of the integrated personalized feedback intervention with 600 first-year college students at two college sites in a randomized controlled trial. In addition, formative evaluation with local and national stakeholders (students and student affairs staff) will help to better understand factors that influence implementation and ensure its success and sustained use.   

This research project is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Anne Ray, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel. KB’s Creative Team will develop the web-based program for college students.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Abby King

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Abby King

Abby C. King, Ph.D., is a Professor of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology) and a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her past research has focused on investigating the development, evaluation, and translation of public health interventions to reduce chronic disease in the U.S. and globally. Her current research focuses on expanding the reach and generalizability of evidence-based interventions through the use of state-of-the-art communication technologies, community-based participatory research perspectives, and policy-level approaches to health promotion.

Presently, Dr. King is a Co-Investigator on the SBIR Phase II research project with Dr. Valerie Myers from Klein Buendel called “¡Caminemos Juntas!”. The project proposes to connect Latinas with one another in order to improve walking habits by increasing social support and decreasing perceived barriers through the use of a smartphone app. It is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD009652; Dr. Valerie Myers, Principal Investigator).

In addition to her research, Dr. King has served on a number of government task forces in the U.S. and abroad, including membership in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Scientific Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020, and the Science Board of the U.S. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. She has also taken part in various types of community and international work, including Active For Life, Citizen Science to Promote Sustained Physical Activity in Low-Income Communities, Preventing Obesity Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Women and Children in Melbourne, Australia; and Computer-based Physical Activity Advice for Ethnic Minority Aging Adults in San Jose. Dr. King has received many distinguished awards and honors throughout her career.

New Study to Assess the Impact of California’s Mandatory Responsible Beverage Service Training Law

New Study to Assess the Impact of California’s Mandatory Responsible Beverage Service Training Law

Klein Buendel is collaborating with Dr. Robert Saltz and his team from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in California on a new research project to assess the impact of California’s new mandatory Responsible Beverage Service training law intended to prevent alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes and other harms.  

Intoxicated driving continues to play a significant role in automobile accidents and fatalities. In response, California passed the Responsible Beverage Service Training Act of 2017. According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the law requires alcoholic beverage servers in California to attend responsible beverage service (RBS) training by July 1, 2022. Alcoholic beverage servers will be trained on the dangers of overserving alcohol to patrons in an effort to curb alcohol-related harm within local communities, particularly in regards to drunk driving and alcohol-related crimes. This change in law creates a new statewide mandate for licensees and a new training requirement for an estimated 1 million servers.

The new research study will examine whether there is a significant reduction in single nighttime motor vehicle injury crashes after implementation of the mandatory RBS training law, controlling for other factors in California that may influence this outcome, and the national trend in fatal alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes. A second aim will address the question of whether the state mandate could have greater impact through wider use of high-quality evidence-based RBS training, or through RBS training supplemented by boosting management motivation to support the training objectives. The training program that will be implemented is the WayToServe® (WTS) online RBS training program developed and evaluated by PIRE, Klein Buendel, and the University of New Mexico. Currently, WTS is licensed to and sold by Wedge Communications LLC in multiple states.

A randomized controlled trial design will be used to examine the change in the refusal rate for alcohol service to pseudo-intoxicated patrons in a sample of 450 licensed on-premises bars and restaurants from 2020 (baseline) to 2024 (post-implementation of mandatory RBS training law). The evaluation will determine whether any change is more pronounced among bars that receive the original WTS RBS Training or the enhanced WTS Training Plus program. A significant feature of this design is that unlike previous evaluations of RBS training, this project will be able to document both short-term and long-term outcomes.  This is especially important for a statewide implementation where it cannot be known in advance how quickly or slowly servers will undertake the training, and how quickly, if at all, the training will have an effect on server behavior.

This research project will be funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Dr. Robert Saltz, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr. David Buller and Dr. W. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Aida Midgett and Dr. Diana Doumas

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Aida Midgett and Dr. Diana Doumas

Dr. Aida Midgett and Dr. Diana Doumas, both from Boise State University, currently collaborate with KB Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, on the STAC-T Project. STAC-T is a technology-delivered adaptation of a bullying intervention program for schools – STAC – that teaches students to act as “defenders” on behalf of targets of bullying. STAC stands for four bullying intervention strategies: “Stealing the Show,” “Turning it Over,” “Accompanying Others,” and “Coaching Compassion.”

Dr. Aida Midgett is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Counselor Education. She obtained her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology/Counseling Psychology and her masters degree in Community Counseling from Northern Arizona University. Her professional background includes behavioral health and school-based research, training counselor education students, and evaluating service-learning projects related to multicultural training. Dr. Midgett is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has worked as a clinician in university, agency, and in-patient mental health hospital settings. Currently, her research focuses on evaluating the bystander bullying intervention program in K-12 settings.


Dr. Diana Doumas is a Distinguished Professor and Director for the Institute for the Study of Behavioral Health and Addiction. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Psychologist in Idaho. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision, and Research Society on Alcoholism. Her experience includes both individual and couples counseling for clients with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and interpersonal concerns. She specializes in empirically-based interventions and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Her research interests include substance abuse prevention and intervention, with a focus on harm reduction and online interventions for high-risk college and high school students.

The STAC-T project is funded by a small business (STTR) grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD014943; Dr. Aida Midgett, Principal Investigator).

Association of Occupational Sun Safety Policy with Employee Practices

Association of Occupational Sun Safety Policy with Employee Practices

Occupational sun protection policies are fundamental for the increased implementation of employee sun safety practices. Investigators and staff from Klein Buendel, led by Dr. David Buller, Director of Research, recently published baseline results from a large-scale workplace sun safety policy project in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

In the publication, the authors report on the coding and evaluation of written safety policies from 21 state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) enrolled in a randomized trial testing methods for scaling-up an occupational sun safety intervention. A total of 1,113 managers who supervised people who work outdoors reported on workplace and employee sun safety practices in a baseline survey.

Analysis showed that 20 of the state DOTs had a policy with at least one sun protection component (e.g., sunscreen, eye protection, use of shade). Sun safety training was increased at workplaces with written sun safety policy and unwritten standard operating procedures on sun protection. Sun safety actions were highest where there was a written sun safety policy and unwritten standard operating procedures on workplace sun protection. The measures, methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations of the baseline manager survey are detailed in the publication.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (CA210259; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Coauthors include Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Savanna Olivas, Rachel Eye, Xia Liu, Alishia Kinsey, Mary Buller, and Andrew Grayson from Klein Buendel.