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Pinpoint: A Pain Management Tool for Teens with Sickle Cell Disease

Pinpoint: A Pain Management Tool for Teens with Sickle Cell Disease

Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, is the Principal Investigator leading a new research project to improve a self-care and pain management tool for teens with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). SCD is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. It affects primarily African Americans and Hispanics. Approximately, 100,000 people in the U.S. suffer from SCD and serious, painful complications can have a significant impact on well-being and quality of life.

Using interactive technology accessible on computers, tablets, and smartphones, the Pinpoint app will combine education, healthy living tips, and tools for managing pain through at-home techniques like relaxation, self-reflection, and a better understanding of the different types of pain teens might experience (acute versus chronic pain).

In a Phase I project, an initial prototype of Pinpoint was developed and reviewed. It included a Pain Assessment Tool, vocabulary game, body scanner reflection, educational self-disclosure activity, and excerpts from the Hope and Destiny Jr. book authored by Hsu, Rodrigues, and Brandalise. Four healthcare providers were interviewed on the app’s acceptability and potential function within the clinical practice. Sixteen teens participated in cognitive interviews, focus groups, and usability testing. The System Usability Scale (SUS; Bangor et al., 2011), a validated tool for assessing the usability and acceptability of technological products, served as the primary outcome. The preliminary SUS score well above average, suggesting a high level of acceptability and usability among users.

The full Pinpoint app being developed in the new Phase II study can be used in healthcare settings to reduce barriers in obtaining information from adolescents by using technology they are comfortable with and enjoy using, while also providing important pain data to healthcare teams and family that affect treatment options. By empowering teens with knowledge and enhanced communication skills, Pinpoint can help reduce emergency room visits and assist SCD teens to transition more successfully to adulthood with independence.

The Pinpoint project is being funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD010746). It is being conducted in close partnership with the Hilton Publishing Company (HPC), the publisher of Hope & Destiny Jr., a leading book for teens on SCD management. Dr. Myers’ research collaborators include Ms. Mary Buller from KB, Dr. Lewis Hsu from the University of Illinois, Mr. Allan Platt from Emory University in Georgia, Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagorus, Inc. and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Dr. Hilton Hudson from HPC. KB’s developers will design and program the Pinpoint app.

Implementation and Effectiveness of an Online Responsible Vendor Training Program for Recreational Marijuana Stores

Implementation and Effectiveness of an Online Responsible Vendor Training Program for Recreational Marijuana Stores

Since 2012, nine U.S. States and the District of Columbia (DC) have legalized recreational marijuana, and several other states are looking to follow suit in coming years. At the outset of the legalization of recreational marijuana, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) informed these states that they must put robust constraints into place that prevent youth access to marijuana. To accomplish this DOJ objective, Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel (KB), and their co-authors created Train To Tend, an online responsible marijuana vendor (RMV) training program that aims to provide retail marijuana staff with the knowledge and skills they need in order to sell marijuana responsibly, and keep their communities safe. In a recent e-publication in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, the authors report the results of the implementation and evaluation of Train To Tend and what these results could mean for future research and policy.

Train To Tend was created with input from state regulators and local law enforcement personnel, curriculum standards published by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, interviews with recreational marijuana store personnel (n=15), and usability testing of a prototype training with store personnel (n=19) in Colorado and Washington State. Of all the input from these various stakeholders, retail marijuana store personnel reported that comprehensive training in responsible sales practices was uncommon in the industry. Coupled with the DOJ objective of preventing youth access to marijuana, this finding demonstrated a need for RMV.

Once all stakeholder input was reviewed, Train To Tend was created, and the training ultimately contained five modules: state laws and regulations, ID checking, health effects of marijuana, customer service practices including recognizing intoxicated patrons, and rules of the trade.

In a randomized controlled trial, the training was tested using a random sample of state-licensed recreational marijuana stores (n=225) in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. One hundred twenty-five stores were randomly selected to receive Train To Tend, while the remaining 100 stores received the usual and customary training in their state. In total, 420 store employees completed Train To Tend in 2017 and 2018. Pre- and post-training surveys were administered to Train To Tend trainees to gauge their perceptions of self-efficacy toward RMV practices, as well as their ratings of usability for Train To Tend.

Results revealed that the training improved trainees’ ability to check IDs, use their state’s inventory tracking system, and spot intoxicated customers. Also, most trainees felt very confident using the training, rated the training as user-friendly, and thought that the information and skills learned in the training would help keep their communities safe.

Overall, trainees’ improvement in confidence to engage in responsible sales practices, as well as the high levels of usability for Train To Tend they reported, suggests that programs like Train To Tend are feasible and potentially effective at training staff in recreational marijuana markets. In addition, this randomized-controlled trial provides a solid foundation upon which future research into RMV trainings can be built. This type of research is imperative to ensure the safety of customers that live in early-adopting recreational marijuana markets like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. By conducting research like this when recreational marijuana legalization is in its early stages, many unforeseen problems can be mitigated before they grow too large, and ultimately the public can be kept safer.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (DA038933; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Coauthors include Dr. Gill Woodall, Mr. Andy Grayson, and Ms. Mary Buller from KB, and Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Online Responsible Alcohol Beverage Server Training for Spanish Language Populations

Online Responsible Alcohol Beverage Server Training for Spanish Language Populations

Data from a Klein Buendel (KB) research project on the formative development of an online responsible alcohol beverage server training program for Spanish language populations the U.S. Southwest was presented in June at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Diego, California.

Preventing alcohol-related injury and death is a national priority. Evidence-based interventions to change organizational and community norms, including training to promote responsible alcohol beverage service (RBS), are important public health approaches. However, current RBS training has not been tailored to address Spanish-speaking populations that represent disproportionately high rates of alcohol-related injury and death in the U.S. WayToServe®, an evidence-based RBS intervention, is being redesigned to promote a culturally and linguistically adapted RBS training for Spanish-speaking servers, titled WayToServe Español.

Four focus groups were conducted with Spanish-speaking alcohol servers to identify linguistic and culturally relevant additions to create WayToServe Español. Focus groups were held in El Paso, Texas, on weekdays in spring 2017, between 1:30-3:00 pm. Of the 37 participants, all were either monolingual or bilingual Spanish-speakers and active or recent alcohol sellers/servers. Research team members conducted the groups. The discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim from Spanish to English. Two team members reviewed all transcripts for recurring ideas and comments and then categorized them into main themes.

Preliminary analysis identified four overarching themes: (1) challenges faced by servers, such as setting clear limits for alcohol service for their patrons; (2) support for RBS training; (3) participants’ evaluations of previous training (for example, the low quality of existing Spanish-language RBS training; and (4) their recommendations for Spanish-language RBS training, such as the importance of culturally-respectful training. Participants noted easy access to the web-based RBS training. Overall, the data suggest that WayToServe Español for Spanish-speaking servers is an important step in the creation of culturally- and linguistically-relevant approaches to enhance RBS.

This research project is titled “WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers” and is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (R44MD010405. Dr. W. Gill Woodall, a KB Senior Scientist, is the project’s Principal Investigator. Collaborating co-authors on this presentation included Dr. Victoria Sanchez from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Dr. Areli Chacon Silva and Dr. Frank Perez from the University of Texas at El Paso, and Ms. Jeanny Camacho Reither, KB Senior Project Coordinator.

BeVaccinated Web App Usability Testing

BeVaccinated Web App Usability Testing

Dr. W. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel and the University of New Mexico presented findings from the BeVaccinated project at the 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Prague, Czech Republic, May 24-28, 2018. The project tested the usability of a prototype web app for improving adolescent vaccination uptake.

While vaccination rates for young children in the U.S. currently meet recommended standards, the CDC reports adolescent vaccines uptake (Gardasil 9 for HPV, MCV4 for meningococcal infection, Tdap for Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis protection, and Varicella vaccine for Chickenpox protection) to be less than optimal. In the case of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, rates are seriously below desired uptake levels. Despite established safety and effectiveness information about these vaccinations, and a wide variety of medical organizations recommending them, parents continue to have concerns about them, particularly the HPV vaccine.

For health communication researchers focused on Diffusion of Innovations, this is a classic difficulty of lack of effective messaging to prompt the uptake of an innovation by closing a knowledge gap among parents, in this case, on effective adolescent vaccines. The CDC and the Presidents Cancer Panel call for the development of effective and accessible messaging to improve vaccine decision-making as well as uptake. Because parents drive the decision to, and action for, vaccine uptake, messaging should be focused on them, but not exclusively, as there are benefits from parents and adolescents communicating about vaccines specifically and health issues generally. Approaching the vaccines as a recommended adolescent vaccine panel instead of each vaccine singularly may provide adoption benefit, as a vaccine panel approach builds the normative expectation for getting all adolescent vaccines as a group.

To address this vaccine uptake deficit, a web-browser application prototype, BeVaccinated, was developed to test reactions to and feasibility of delivering adolescent vaccine information via a smartphone. The majority of adults of parenting age own smartphones and use them to access online information, especially minority adults, and use mobile apps for information acquisition and decision support, making them a potentially efficacious channel for delivering vaccine information and tools. The prototype app was developed via formative research with focus group participants and guided by an Expert Advisory Board (EAB) comprised of vaccination experts and clinicians. Usability testing was conducted iteratively with nine parent and teen pairs in New Mexico and seven parent and teen pairs in Colorado. Pairs were comprised of one teen, ages 13-17, and their accompanying parent or guardian.

Usability testing was conducted individually with the parent and teen by trained research staff. Parents and teens reported that the prototype app was easy to use. Users reported that they could learn to use it quickly and that they were confident using it. With feasibility established, the full version of the app will be designed to improve dissemination of vaccine information, improve parent/teen communication around health behavior choices, and ultimately, improve the uptake of vaccinations.

This research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R41HD082901; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). Collaborators included Julia Berteletti from KB; Dr. Randall Starling, Dr. Alberta Kong, and Dr. Lance Chilton from the University of New Mexico; Dr. Greg Zimet from Indiana University; and Dr. Nathan Stupiansky from the University of Arizona.

KB Receives Train to Tend® Trademark

KB Receives Train to Tend® Trademark

Klein Buendel has received trademark registration through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the Train To Tend® product name and logo. This is the sixth registered trademark for a KB-owned or co-owned product. KB also has registered trademarks for the following technology-based health education programs:

  • Real Health Photos® – a stock photography website of diverse, under-represented people
  • Way To Serve® (with the University of New Mexico) – an online responsible alcohol server training program
  • Sunny Days, Healthy Ways® – a sun safety curriculum for grade K-5
  • Momzing® – a collection of videos for moms to exercise with their babies and toddlers
  • sunZapp® – a mobile phone app for personal sun protection advice

According to the USPTO, “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”

The Train To Tend® logo was designed by Steve Fullmer, KB Creative Director, for a research project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R44DA038933). The Principal Investigator for the study is Dr. David Buller, KB Director of Research. His KB lead Co-Investigator is Dr. W. Gill Woodall, KB Senior Scientist. This project’s specific aims are to produce a comprehensive, compliant online responsible marijuana vendor training program —TrainToTend®. The training for the retail and recreational marijuana industry is intended to increase knowledge of state regulations for the sale of cannabis products in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, such as Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. The training also covers responsible sales practices, such as ID checking, safe storage, robbery prevention, the health effects of marijuana, and other industry-related content.

Methodological Challenges of Social Media-Delivered Health Promotion Interventions

Methodological Challenges of Social Media-Delivered Health Promotion Interventions

Dr. Sherry Pagoto, SBM President-elect and KB Collaborator, was a co-presenter for a Behavioral Informatics and Technology Panel Discussion on social media health promotion at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Pagoto shared methodological challenges related to participant recruitment, intervention content development, and intervention delivery for a Facebook intervention targeting mothers of teen daughters in order to reduce the incidence of indoor tanning. This project is currently being conducted by KB and several collaborators from the University of Connecticut, East Tennesee State University, and Colorado State University.

Social media platforms can be used to deliver health promotion interventions to wide audiences without the barriers that plague traditionally-delivered programs, such as geography, transportation, scheduling, and childcare. Because most people access their social media feeds daily, health programming can be delivered to populations who are not necessarily seeking help or are motivated to change. Despite these promising and unique features, designing studies to evaluate social media-delivered interventions involves methodological challenges for recruitment and participation. During the panel discussion, Dr. Pagoto shared some of our research project’s challenges, implications of alternative recruitment and engagement methods, and valuable lessons learned.

This research project is called “Likes Pins and Views: Engaging Moms on Teen Indoor Tanning Thru Social Media.” It is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (RO1CA192652; Dr. David Buller, KB, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from KB, Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Jessica Oleski, and Ashley Panzarino from the University of Connecticut, Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University, and Dr. Kim Henry from Colorado State University.

Designing a Web App to Promote Teen Vaccination Uptake

Designing a Web App to Promote Teen Vaccination Uptake

Ms. Julia Berteletti, KB Research Program Manager, is presenting a poster on formative research from the BeVaccinated Project at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

While vaccination rates for young children in the United States currently meet recommended standards, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports adolescent vaccines uptake to be less than optimal, and in the case of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, seriously below desired uptake levels. To address this deficit, a web-browser application prototype, BeVaccinated, was developed to test reactions to and feasibility of delivering adolescent vaccine information via smartphone. The BeVaccinated app prototype was developed from formative research with 26 focus group participants and guided by an Expert Advisory Board comprised of vaccination experts and clinicians.

Usability testing on one module, about deciding to vaccinate, was conducted iteratively with nine parent and teen pairs in New Mexico and seven parent and teen pairs in Colorado. Pairs were comprised of one teen (ages 13-17) and their accompanying parent or guardian. Usability testing was conducted individually with the parent and teen by trained research staff. During the testing, participants used the app prototype, answering questions as prompted. At the conclusion of testing, participants completed the 10-item Bangor System Usability Scale (SUS). Parents and teens rated the app as very easy to use. SUS data also indicated that participants could quickly learn to use the app and that they would be confident using it.

A Specifications Document outlines the planned design of the full-scale app based on testing results. Findings included in the specifications document are: 1) provide tailored learning experiences to teens (i.e., game-based) and parents (i.e., didactic) within the same app; 2) integrate individualized information (e.g., clinic preferences); and 3) provide a vaccination record tracking feature. The planned app could improve dissemination of vaccine information, enhance parent/teen communication around health behavior choices, and ultimately, improve the uptake of vaccinations.

This research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R41HD082901; Dr. Gill Woodall, KB Senior Scientist, PI) Research collaborators included Dr. Randall Starling and Dr. Lance Chilton from the University of New Mexico, Dr. Gregory Zimet from Indiana University, Dr. Nathan Stupiansky from the University of Arizona, and Sophia Strickfaden from KB.

Precision Pain Management App for Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease

Precision Pain Management App for Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease

Dr. Valerie Myers, KB Senior Scientist, is presenting a poster on the Pinpoint Project at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pinpoint: Gaming Technology to Engage Adolescent Sickle Cell Patients in Precision Pain Management” was a Phase I SBIR project that examined the feasibility and acceptability of a gamified tablet application intended to encourage teens (aged 13-17) to assess and talk about their sickle cell disease (SCD) pain. SCD is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. and affects primarily African Americans and Hispanics. Approximately, 1,000 U.S. children are born with SCD annually. SCD complications can be serious and have a significant impact on well-being and quality of life.

Pain is the hallmark symptom associated with SCD and is the primary cause of SCD-related hospital admissions. Accurate assessment of pain specifiers (type, frequency, and intensity of pain) can help with ameliorating pain quickly and effectively. Reducing barriers to collection and promoting the value of accurate SCD pain assessment is a need in pediatric medicine. The interactive games for health literacy among youths have shown video games can improve self-efficacy; stimulate health discussions with friends, family, and clinical team; encourage seeking support and advice, and can emphasize behavior acquisition via experiential learning. Interactive games can provide information about causes, treatments, and self-care options, and can improve self-care and reduced emergency clinical utilization.

The Pinpoint app prototype for tablets and smartphones consisted of a Pain Assessment Tool, vocabulary game, body scanner reflection, educational self-disclosure activity, and excerpts from the Hope and Destiny Jr. book authored by Hsu, Rodrigues, and Brandalise. Four healthcare providers were interviewed on the app’s acceptability and potential function within the clinical practice. Sixteen teens participated in cognitive interviews, focus groups, and usability testing. The System Usability Scale (SUS), a validated tool for assessing the usability and acceptability of technological products, served as the primary outcome. The preliminary SUS score well above average, suggesting a high level of acceptability and usability among users. The conference poster will include final project outcomes and the plan for the future development of the full Pinpoint app.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R43MD010746; Dr. Valerie Myers, PI). Research collaborators included Mary Buller from KB, and Dr. Hilton Hudson and Megan Lippert from the Hilton Publishing Company, publishers of the Hope & Destiny and Hope & Destiny Jr. sickle cell disease management books.