Lessons Learned: Accessing Sites for Correctional Research

Lessons Learned: Accessing Sites for Correctional Research

Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis from Penn State University presented insights into accessing correctional facilities for research at the 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions virtual conference of the Eastern Nursing Research Society on March 26-27, 2020. Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, was a co-author on the presentation.

Despite the imperative to engage in research in corrections, researchers face many challenges due to the restrictive nature of this setting. Dr. Kitt-Lewis shared many of the lessons learned by this collaborative research team as they worked to secure diverse prison and jail settings to research, develop, and test the Enhancing Care for the Aged and Dying in Prison program.

Lessons learned included the discovery of contextually-specific constraints such as the closing or consolidating of services or facilities, managing staffing constraints, relocating staff, ascertaining and adhering to policies and administrative directives, and working within the guidelines of the review board of the correctional system.

Establishing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders in corrections were also important aspects of this research. In her presentation, Dr. Kitt-Lewis discussed developing networking opportunities such as connecting via social media like LinkedIn, attending corrections conferences, and discussing potential research opportunities to help build relationships with key stakeholders and decision-makers. Additional perceptions from the field included identifying potential barriers or constraints to accessing correctional sites, and sustaining relationships post-research via ongoing communication such as sharing periodic updates, final reports, and publications with partners.

The correctional system has often been called a “closed” system due to the difficulty faced by researchers in attempting to access and conduct research. However, establishing well-defined strategies to conduct research in the system appears to create efficiency and promote much needed health-related research in the correction setting. Research outcomes that are contextually-specific can support and foster equitable care for people who are incarcerated.

This research was funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Valerie Myers, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators on the work presented, in addition to Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, include Dr. Susan Loeb and Kaléi Kowalchik from Penn State University; Dr. Rachel Wion from Indiana University School of Nursing; Julie Murphy from King College Nursing Program; and Dr. Valerie Myers and Tiffany Jerrod from Klein Buendel.

Implementing E-Training for Geriatric and End-of-Life Care in Corrections

Implementing E-Training for Geriatric and End-of-Life Care in Corrections

Dr. Susan Loeb from The Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing is presenting on the creation of a computer-based learning (CBL) program for corrections staff at the 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions virtual conference of the Eastern Nursing Research Society on March 26-27, 2020. Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, is a co-author on the presentation.

Experts in corrections have identified the care of older individuals who are incarcerated as a high priority area for research and policy. Therefore, there is a need to provide evidence-based training tailored to frontline corrections personnel who are charged with the care and oversight of aged and dying incarcerated individuals. In response, the research team developed, implemented, and tested a CBL program that aligned with contextual environment constraints and the infrastructure-specific needs of corrections.

The virtual presentation will describe how the adoption mechanisms and support systems were integrated from set up to full-scale usability testing of the CBL program, Enhancing Care for the Aged and Dying in Prison (ECAD-P) for corrections staff. Specifically, factors that affect adoption and support systems were identified, examined and implemented at each phase of the development and implementation process of ECAD-P. In the Set-Up phase, the format of a paper-pencil toolkit was not sustainable for long-term, broad dissemination of the program, so support systems were evaluated to determine the capabilities of CBL. Throughout the development, Expert and Community Advisory Boards critically examined the content and programming measures of the product to ensure the product complied with usual practices and institutional constraints.

During testing, small scale usability-testing was conducted to determine human capacity, infrastructure capabilities, reporting systems, and program design and function. In going to full-scale, large-scale usability testing provided valuable insights on implementation considerations, such as leadership, communication, policy, and culture of institution. Consideration of adoption mechanisms and support systems ultimately allowed for researchers to refine ECAD-P for future, effective, large-scale dissemination.

This research was funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Valerie Myers, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators on the work presented include Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis and Kaléi Kowalchik from The Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing; Dr. Rachel Wion from Indiana University School of Nursing; Julie Murphy from King College Nursing Program; and Dr. Valerie Myers and Tiffany Jerrod from Klein Buendel.

Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Findings from a school-based sun safety study, Sun Safe Schools, were published recently in the Journal of School Health. The research team from Klein Buendel, Claremont Graduate University, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Sun Safety for Kids examined the correlates of sun safety policy implementation in California public school districts.

In 2002, California was the first state to enact legislation governing sun protection for students. It is California Education Code Section 35183.5. In 2005, the Sun Safe Schools research team collaborated with California Schools Board Association to develop a comprehensive Sample Board Policy for sun safety (BP 5141.7) based on California law and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study included California public school districts that had already adopted the board-approved sun safety policy.

For the study, principals and teachers completed an online survey about sun protection policies and practices. Respondents reported on the implementation of ten school practices related to BP 5141.7 and indicated which practices, if any, were implemented in their school. Years in public education, years worked in the current district, perception that parents should take action to protect children from the sun, and respondents’ personal skin types were associated with the number of practices implemented in the school.

A full description of the methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations can be found in the publication. In summary, the authors concluded that policy implementation is more likely among schools with experienced faculty, when parents are seen as important partners in student skin cancer prevention, and when school principals and teachers have a personal skin type at lower risk for melanoma.

The Sun Safe Schools program was a collaborative research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from CGU; and Julia Berteletti, Xia (Lucia) Liu, and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

A Tablet-delivered Intervention to Reduce Risky Behavior in Adolescents

A Tablet-delivered Intervention to Reduce Risky Behavior in Adolescents

Klein Buendel collaborator, Dr. Christopher Houck from Rhode Island Hospital, will present findings from Project TRAC at the Society of Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting in San Diego, California, March 19-21, 2020. His presentation will also include a demonstration of the targeted games used in the intervention.

The team initially developed and validated an Emotion Regulation (ER) intervention for reducing risk behaviors among early adolescents. Project TRAC showed that adolescents who learned about sexual health information with ER content were significantly less likely to transition to sexual activity. Despite the promise of targeting ER during early adolescence to prevent risk behaviors, discussions with community partners suggest that the original facilitator-led small-group format is difficult to sustain. Disseminating this prevention approach required a format that was less reliant on specialized training that could be easily implemented to an individual format. Therefore, through advisory panels of early adolescents and consultation from a group of experts in the field, Project TRAC was translated from a small-group format to a tablet-delivered, game-based program.

Acceptability testing took place with ten adolescents followed by 85 adolescents who participated in a small randomized pilot trial to assess the feasibility of the digital intervention as well as preliminary assessment of short-term changes in ER. Those randomized to the intervention condition completed four computerized modules that taught emotion concepts through games and instructional videos. Control participants were waitlisted to complete the intervention at the end of the study and all adolescents completed surveys at baseline and one month later.

Participants positively rated the intervention with a majority completing all four modules. Intervention participants self-reported significant improvements, including emotional awareness, perceived access to ER strategies, use of the strategies taught in the intervention, intentions to use these strategies, emotional knowledge, and perceptions that emotions are changeable. They also reported a moderate effect of poorer perceptions of abilities to manage positive emotions.

Results suggest that a tablet-based intervention providing ER training was able to affect adolescents’ use of ER behaviors, understanding of emotions, and perceptions of emotional competence. Linking ER training to specific areas of risk (sexual health, substance use, or violence prevention) in the developmental window when risk behaviors are beginning, such as early adolescence, may prevent risk behaviors for many young people. Dissemination of evidence-based interventions through tablet formats may also improve the reach of effective interventions.

This research is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD089979; Dr. Christopher Houck, Principal Investigator). Other collaborators include Wendy Hadley from the University of Oregon; Crosby Modrowski and Kelsey Bala from Brown University; Brittany Wickham from Villanova University; and Dr. Valerie Myers and Tiffany Jerrod from Klein Buendel.

Economic Analysis of a School-based Sun Protection Program

Economic Analysis of a School-based Sun Protection Program

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called on the nation’s schools to help prevent skin cancer by implementing sun safety practices and policies. The Sun Safe Schools program was designed by Klein Buendel researchers and collaborators in response to those calls to action. The program was implemented and evaluated with 118 public elementary schools in California school districts with formal sun safety policy. Administrators of schools randomized to the Sun Safe Schools intervention group received phone and email support for implementing school sun safety practices by trained coaches over 20 months.

A significant part of the program evaluation — an economic analysis — has been e-published ahead of print in the American Journal of Health Promotion. The lead author is Dr. Richard Meenan, a Senior Investigator and Health Economist from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

The publication reports the methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations of the economic analysis. Sun Safe Schools program delivery costs were micro-costed and self-reported school practices were organized into ten categories that were assigned labor and non-labor costs. Across 53 intervention schools, per-student delivery costs averaged $0.69, of which $0.44 represented school administrator time. Program delivery costs, the costs of implementing sun safety practices (such as student education, parent outreach, and shade construction), and predictors of costs are detailed in the publication.

The authors conclude that a program of phone and email coaching of elementary school administrators in school districts with formal sun safety policies can stimulate implementation of sun safety practices at a reasonable cost. The results can assist school administrators with the implementation of sun safety practices.

The Sun Safe Schools program was a collaborative research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Other collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from CGU; and Julia Berteletti, Xia (Lucia) Liu, and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Kimberly Henry

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Kimberly Henry

Kimberly Henry, Ph.D., is a Professor at the Colorado State University Department of Psychology in Fort Collins, Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in biobehavioral health from The Pennsylvania State University.  Her areas of research expertise include school disengagement, adolescent and young adult development, drug use, delinquency and longitudinal methodology. Her focus is on the psychological and social factors that produce or mitigate the health-risking behaviors of adolescents and young adults. Her goal is to develop and test theoretical models in order to understand the complex interactions of risk, promotive, and protective factors that influence risky behaviors and to create and test methods for prevention.

Currently, Dr. Henry is collaborating with Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator from Klein Buendel, on the research study Likes Pins and Views: Engaging Moms on Teen Indoor Tanning Thru Social Media (CA192652). This study focuses on the use of a social media campaign for mothers on the health and wellness of adolescent daughters. The intervention included theory-based messaging advocating adolescent girls avoid indoor tanning delivered through private Facebook groups. Overall, the research is evaluating the effectiveness of social media indoor tanning messages at decreasing mothers’ permissiveness for daughters to indoor tan. The research is also assessing daughters’ perceptions of their mothers’ permissiveness, prevalence of indoor tanning by mothers and daughters, and mothers’ support for bans on indoor tanning by minors.

In addition to research, Dr. Henry serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, the Journal of Primary Prevention, Adolescent Research Reviews, and Occupational Health Science. She serves as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple journals, and for the William T. Grant Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Physical Activity Intervention for Older Adults

Physical Activity Intervention for Older Adults

In a publication in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Dr. Nancy Glynn from the University of Pittsburgh, Klein Buendel’s Senior Scientist Dr. Valerie Myers, and several other contributors evaluate the effectiveness of the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study.

The LIFE study was a randomized controlled trial designed to compare a moderate-intensity physical activity intervention with a health education program for sedentary older persons, 65 years or older, with low physical activity who are at risk for major mobility disability. LIFE’s primary goal was to investigate whether physical activity is an effective and practical way for preventing major mobility disability in older persons, which is defined as the inability to walk 400 meters.

For the study, participants at multiple centers were asked to perform a 400-meter walk at a normal pace every six months at which various measurements were assessed and calculated including baseline fatigue, self-reported fatigue, and energy levels. The physical activity intervention incorporated lower extremity resistance exercises, balance exercises, stretching and behavioral counseling. Health education seminars were also provided with information available about health-related matters and involved various upper extremity stretching exercises.

To learn more about the physical activity intervention and if it was effective at preserving the mobility of older adults, you can view a full description of the methods, results, and discussion in the publication.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Aging (AG022376; Marco Pahor, MD, University of Florida, Principal Investigator). Dr. Myers is one of the paper’s 16 authors, including the Interventions and Independence for Elders Study Group.

Hispanic Tattoo Artists as Skin Cancer Prevention Influencers

Hispanic Tattoo Artists as Skin Cancer Prevention Influencers

Skin cancer is increasing in the Hispanic population and there is a public health need for campaigns to target this often-underrepresented population. In a recent publication in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD), authors from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Klein Buendel examine how Hispanic tattoo artists can serve as skin cancer prevention advocates for the Hispanic population. JDD also released a podcast with the authors about the study earlier this month.

Multiple in-depth interviews were conducted with Hispanic tattoo artists at various tattoo studios in Salt Lake City, Utah. The interviews provided insight into the artist’s skin cancer knowledge, their current sun safety recommendations to clients, and their willingness to incorporate skin cancer prevention into their future work routines.

Data analysis indicated that a most of the artists had a large percentage of Hispanic clients and repeat customers. All artists also had some level of skin cancer knowledge, though not extensive enough to provide basic sun protection tips in their regular tattoo aftercare instructions to clients (such as what specific Sun Protection Factor to use, when to reapply sunscreen, and the use of cover up clothing). Despite this, all artists were enthusiastic about providing sun safety messages on their social media pages and would be willing to partake in some level of skin cancer prevention training and education in the future.

With lengthy tattoo sessions and repeat clientele, Hispanic tattoo artists could serve as beneficial influencers in the early detection of skin cancers in the Hispanic population. Researchers concluded that by providing comprehensive full-body sun protection information to their clients through tattoo aftercare instructions, alerting clients to suspicious moles, and using social media messages, Hispanic tattoo artists could have a big impact on their clients’ skin health. The study’s complete analysis and discussion can be found in the publication.

This project was funded by a grant and a supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA206569; Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors include Dr. Cristian Gonzalez, and Dr. Adrian Pona from the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Dr. Barbara Walkosz from Klein Buendel; and Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center Dermatology Service.

Project SHINE for Adolescent Tanning Prevention

Project SHINE for Adolescent Tanning Prevention

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel Director of Research, is a Co-Investigator on a new research project funded by the National Cancer Institute and being led by Dr. Yelena Wu, Principal Investigator, from the University of Utah. Project SHINE (Sun-safe Habits Intervention and Education) is a multi-modal intervention that targets adolescents’ views on the personal relevance of skin cancer and their ability to prevent the disease in order to increase their sun protection use and decrease their intentional tanning.

Project SHINE incorporates action plans, sun damage photographs, and education to teachers and parents in order to build on adolescents’ interest in novelty and need for highly personalized interventions. It also promotes environmental supports for adolescent skin cancer prevention. SHINE is novel in its application of the Extended Parallel Process Model, used in smoking and drug abuse interventions, to pediatric skin cancer prevention. The five-year study will be conducted with 30 high schools and over 10,000 students in 9th or 10th grade health classes. To support the rigor of this research, the project will objectively measure ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure among 10% of the sample who will wear a UVR monitoring device for 3-day periods after self-reported assessments.  

Dr. Buller is part of a well-established team that includes experts in skin cancer prevention, adolescent health behavior change, dermatology, school programs, and randomized trials. He will provide input on the design and implementation of the study, help develop parent/teacher education materials, and participate in results interpretation and manuscript preparation.

Skin cancer is a significant public health priority. It is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, afflicting more than 5 million people in the United States each year. Treatment costs total more than $8 billion each year. Skin cancer is highly preventable if individuals limit UVR exposure by using sun protection strategies, such as sunscreen, hats, protective clothing, and by avoiding tanning. Use of prevention strategies is critical during childhood and adolescence, when skin cells are particularly vulnerable to UVR damage leading to skin cancer. Due to their poor use of sun protection and likelihood to intentionally tan, adolescents, more than any other pediatric group, urgently need efficacious skin cancer preventive interventions. Schools offer the ideal setting to deliver skin cancer preventive interventions to large numbers of adolescents.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Hilton Hudson

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Hilton Hudson

Hilton M. Hudson, MD, FACS, of HPC International, Inc. (HPC), is a Co-Investigator on a SBIR Phase II research project with Dr. Valerie Myers (Principal Investigator) from Klein Buendel called, “Pinpoint: Gaming Technology to Engage Adolescent Sickle Cell Patients in Precision Pain Management. The project is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD010746) at the National Institutes of Health. As an African American, a surgeon, a researcher, and the CEO of a publishing company, the effective management and treatment of sickle cell disease is very important to Dr. Hudson. In fact, HPC is the publisher of two preeminent books on sickle cell disease for the public: Hope and Destiny for adults and Hope and Destiny, Jr. for adolescents.

Dr. Hudson is one of less than 40 board-certified, African-American cardiothoracic surgeons currently practicing in the United States. He is a partner of the Institute of Cardiothoracic and Vein Surgery, LLC in Illinois and serves on the Board of Directors for the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance. During his 25+ years of practicing medicine, Dr. Hudson has also served as Chairman of the Board at Heartland Hospital in Munster, Indiana and as the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Franciscan Physicians Hospital in Munster, Indiana.

With respect to his research experience and publications, Dr. Hudson is perhaps best known for authoring and publishing the successful book, “The Heart of the Matter: The African American’s Guide to Heart Disease, Heart Treatment, and Heart Wellness,” in 2000, which has subsequently been revised and translated into Spanish with total collective sales of over 75,000 copies.

In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Hudson is the President and CEO of HPC International, Inc. (formerly the Hilton Publishing Company, Inc.), which he co-founded in 1996 to publish trusted content that can improve the health, education, awareness and wellness of health disparate and other underserved populations. “Around that time,” recalls Dr. Hudson, “I started practicing medicine as a cardiothoracic surgeon and immediately noticed an unfortunate but quite obvious correlation between the socio-economic, racial and gender status of my patients and subpar health. Patient after patient from these community groups lacked the education to teach them how simple changes to their daily habits and health routines could significantly reduce many of their risks for heart issues and other chronic diseases. I spent a lot of time researching what information was available for patients, and discovered a critical gap — a need for new health literature that would be culturally meaningful, evidence-based and impactful for improving the state of health in our health disparate populations. When multiple publishers declined to publish the book for me, I started a new company to do it myself!”

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Hudson is a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English and Math in 1980. He earned his medical degree at Indiana University Medical Center in 1987. Dr. Hudson then completed his Cardiovascular Surgery Extern at Methodist Hospital and his residency for General Surgery at Boston City Hospital and Boston University Hospital before serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1992-1998. During his years in the military, Dr. Hudson completed a fellowship for Cardiothoracic Surgery at Ohio State University in Columbus. That was 1994, just two years before he founded HPC.

In 2014, HPC started a new affiliated company called EMIC LLC (Evidence-based Medical Information Company) to disseminate evidence-based products and e-health programs on technology platforms to facilitate positive health behavior, empower patients with trusted evidence-based information, and improve the quality of healthcare.

Dr. Hudson has received many distinguished awards and honors throughout his career, including:

  • The Sagamore of the Wabash Award for Distinguished Service in Minority Health which he received from the Governor of Indiana in 2000;
  • A Nomination for the Humanitarian Award by the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks in 2003; and
  • The Award for Achievement in Health in the State of Indiana which was presented to him by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2008.