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B-SMART Study Launches at KB

B-SMART Study Launches at KB

Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Gill Woodall, is the Principal Investigator leading a new research project aimed at reducing intoxicated driving by people with court-ordered ignition interlock devices (IIDs) through improved communication and support from family members.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) remains a substantial and preventable source of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. The IID, which requires a driver to blow into a breathalyzer unit installed in an automobile to establish sobriety, reduces drunk driving while installed. However, research has shown that once IIDs are removed from DWI offenders’ cars, DWI recidivism levels return to those comparable to offenders who did not have an IID installed.

This new project will fully develop and evaluate B-SMART — smartphone technology to teach coping skills, communication skills, and strategies to help deter DWI. Unique to this intervention are the involvement of family members in supporting the DWI offender to not drink and drive, English and Spanish language options, and the use of smartphone technology to make that support immediate, accessible, and diffusible. The core content of the intervention is based on empirically-validated couples therapy curriculum developed by Dr. Barbara McCrady from the University of New Mexico. It will be adapted for concerned DWI offender family members and delivered through a convenient smartphone web app platform. Programming and usability testing will be done by KB designers and developers.

Results of a Phase I feasibility study of an initial module of B-SMART presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism by Dr. Woodall in 2016, showed very positive reactions by users. Thirty-two concerned family members of DWI offenders browsed the communication skills module of B-SMART and then rated the module on the System Usability Scale (SUS – Bangor, et al., 2011). Results indicated an average SUS rating of 44.2 (sd=4.78, scale range: 10-50), with 87% of participants rating the B-SMART module 40 or above. These results indicate that users found the prototype B-SMART module easy to use, informative, and very positive.

For the new Phase II evaluation, a randomized efficacy trial will be conducted with DWI offenders and their concerned family members recruited through the New Mexico court system. The research is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R44AA022850) through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. Dr. Woodall’s scientific collaborators include Ms. Julia Berteletti from KB, Dr. Barbara McCrady and Dr. Vern Westerberg from the University of New Mexico, and Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagorus, Inc. in Alabama.

KB Scientist Shares Career Development Guidance in SBM Panel Discussions

KB Scientist Shares Career Development Guidance in SBM Panel Discussions

Dr. Valerie Myers, KB Senior Scientist and SBM Fellow, is a co-presenter for three Panel Discussions related to training and career development at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Perspectives on Effective Digital Health Training in Behavioral Medicine

To be a successful digital health researcher, most individuals find that they need to complete a set of training experiences not well encapsulated by a single degree program. Behavioral medicine scientists and practitioners that utilize digital health must take an entrepreneurial approach to advocating for receiving adequate training to be prepared for the challenges of this field. The call for cross-disciplinary digital health researchers necessitates that both trainees and mentors be flexible and creative with training opportunities. To discuss methods and philosophies for training the next generation of digital health researchers. The Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Digital Health Council has assembled a panel of digital health experts spanning academia and industry with varying educational backgrounds. The panel will include: (1) a senior-level academic with interests in mHealth and adolescent health; (2) a mid-career researcher from an academic medical center who receives NIH-funding and engages in formal recurrent consultation with numerous industry partners; (3) an early career electrical engineer with an interest in translational medicine and experience with research career development awards; and (4) a senior scientist at a small health communication and development firm who conducts research on behaviorally-based technological approaches to behavior change. Attendees will leave with practical advice for obtaining adequate digital health training in the post-graduate, postdoctoral, and established career phases.

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KB to Co-Host International UV Conference May 1-4, 2018

KB to Co-Host International UV Conference May 1-4, 2018

Klein Buendel is a proud North American organizer and host of the 4th International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention being held May 1-4, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The 2018 conference is being organized by a joint planning committee of skin cancer prevention experts in Canada and the United States from Ryerson University in Toronto, the Canadian Dermatology Association, and Klein Buendel.

The UV and Skin Cancer Prevention conferences provide an innovative scientific program that showcases the work of the international skin cancer prevention community. The previous conferences have been held in Copenhagen, Denmark (2011), Berlin, Germany (2013), and Melbourne, Australia (2015) and have attracted international experts in skin cancer prevention, UV radiation science, dermatology, allied behavioral and clinical disciplines and members of the environmental planning and design communities who are working in the field of UV and skin cancer prevention. The conferences have been organized by local planning committees dedicated to advancing skin cancer prevention.

The Toronto conference will feature multiple concurrent sessions and poster sessions addressing primary and secondary prevention, school settings, worksites, shade design, sun safety campaigns, indoor tanning trends, sunscreen, and more.

Special plenary sessions will address:

  • New Research Methods for Skin Cancer Prevention
  • Issues in Dissemination of Skin Cancer Prevention Interventions
  • Second Generation Audiences for Skin Cancer Prevention
  • Environmental Issues in Skin Cancer Prevention
  • Screening for Skin Cancer Prevention

Four additional workshops will be held on May 1st:

  • Sun Safety and Skin Health in Youth
  • Young Adulthood Physical Activity
  • Skin Smart Campus
  • Online, Mobile, and Social Media Interventions

To see the program-at-a-glance, speakers, and registration information, visit…

4th International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention

 

KB’S 2017 Research and Outreach Accomplishments and Other Highlights

KB’S 2017 Research and Outreach Accomplishments and Other Highlights

The year 2017 flew by, but we have taken time to reflect on what we have done at Klein Buendel (KB) to achieve our primary goal of creating and evaluating effective programs and products for health promotion and disease prevention. We are thankful for the research, education, and outreach opportunities that we have participated in, and we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2018. Details of some of our 2017 accomplishments and publications are listed below. The names of KB investigators and staff are bolded.

SUMMARY OF KLEIN BUENDEL’S 2017 RESEARCH AND OUTREACH ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • In June, KB celebrated its 15th anniversary as a small woman-owned business.
  • In August, one of our Senior Scientists, Valerie Myers, was made a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
  • We were awarded 3 new prime grants and 1 subcontract.
  • We completed 7 prime and subcontract research projects.
  • KB scientists and staff presented research findings at 6 national and international conferences (19 posters or presentations).
  • KB scientists, collaborators, and staff published 12 papers of research findings in peer-reviewed journals.

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Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory!

Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory!

Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory – a fresh new edition of Klein Buendel’s blog. The KB Collaboratory complements our newly-designed website and disseminates timely information about our behavioral health research and collaborations.

Because we’re a “small bunch,” KB’s behavioral scientists, research staff, and developers collaborate with researchers, clinicians, and creatives from companies, universities, research institutes, and cancer centers around the world to design programs and products to prevent chronic disease. Along with our research publications, conference presentations, website, and social media, this blog is a dynamic outlet for sharing the health communication, education, and technology research that we do in collaboration with our distinguished research, business, and creative partners.

Watch for articles and features in the KB Collaboratory on our:

  • Research collaborators
  • Abstracts and conference presentations
  • Publications
  • New research projects
  • Technology and products
  • Outreach and education
  • News and announcements

If you’d like to get in touch, please email Mary Buller at mbuller@kleinbuendel.com.

Expressing Empathy: Part 3

Expressing Empathy: Part 3

Tips for Showing Empathy: Strategies for Becoming More Empathic

Nonverbal Communication

  • Listen to what is not being said. Pay attention to the nonverbal cues being sent by you and the other person.
  • Face the person. Keep your body posture relaxed and open. Lean toward the person.
  • Maintain eye contact. Mimic their facial expressions –be careful that your expression is not blank or frowning.
  • Physical contact, such as a hug or touching the person’s arm, may be helpful.
  • Recognize what you are feeling, especially negative feelings.

Verbal Communication

What to Say:

  • If possible, talk in a place that is comfortable and will have minimal interruptions.
  • Allow the person to talk uninterrupted.
  • Ask open-ended questions. This lets the person know that you’re willing to listen. Example – How are you doing with this? Would it help to talk about this? Is there something troubling you? What are you feeling?
  • Use a pleasant tone of voice.
  • Statements you might say:
    • “You seem worried.”
    • “I see why you are concerned about this.”
    • “Tell me more about what is worrying you.”
    • “I will be here for you.”
    • “It sounds like you are feeling…(fill in the blank).”

What Not to Say:

  • Do not try to fix the problem, interpret or analyze what is happening, or argue.
  • Do not preach, lecture, judge, blame or criticize. Avoid saying “should” or “ought to.”
  • Do not minimize their fears by saying, “It will be fine” or “you’ll be OK” or “at least it isn’t…”

Communicating About Cancer Series Info

This research project was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA144235; Dr. Wayne Beach, San Diego State University, Principal Investigator). Co-investigators included Dr. David Dozier from San Diego State University, and Mary Buller, Dr. Valerie Myers, and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel, Inc.

Expressing Empathy: Part 2

Expressing Empathy: Part 2

Empathy in Patient/Doctor Relationships

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.*

Carl Patterson was with his elderly stepfather when he died from acute lymphatic leukemia. Tom had been a laid-back, easy going man who made friends easily and preferred to have a glass of wine than worry about small details. Carl, on the other hand, was detail-oriented and had been looking after his stepfather’s affairs for years.

Tom wanted to donate his body to a local university for medical research. In most cases, if a body is not received promptly after death, research organizations will refuse the donation. Carl knew this. So he grew impatient when hours passed after his stepfather died and the doctor, who needed to process the paperwork to release Tom’s body, didn’t appear. Carl repeatedly questioned the nurses. The nurses repeatedly paged the doctor. When she arrived, the doctor told Carl, “I have more important things to do with the living than with the dead.” Carl was stunned. “He had just died,” he said. “Her bedside manner didn’t exist.”

Numerous studies have found that empathy is often missing in doctor-patient communication. Expressing empathy can be even more difficult in situations involving conflict, anger, sadness or fear. These feelings are common on a cancer journey.  When medical professionals show empathy, patients feel more satisfied with the relationship. They also have more trust in their doctor, are less anxious about their condition, and are more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations. Doctors feel better about their work too. Empathy is a learnable skill being taught more frequently in medical schools to help improve patient-doctor communication.

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Expressing Empathy: Part 1

Expressing Empathy: Part 1

“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.” – Barbara Kingsolver, author.

Katrine Bellamy thinks this story is funny. It’s the story of how people sometimes react when they hear about cancer. Katrine and her neighbor took turns walking the kids to and from school. But, on the day she learned her 9-year-old son had a brain tumor, she asked her neighbor to pick up the children. When Katrine arrived home, she saw her neighbor standing in the driveway, waiting for her. “She literally collapsed in my arms,” said Katrine. The distraught women cried as Katrine reassured her that everything would be alright. Katrine needed a friend who would listen. She ended up helping her friends cope with the news instead.

This is an article about empathy. It is easy to misunderstand the difference between sympathy and empathy. When you have sympathy you have compassion for another person and acknowledge their hardship. Empathy is when you understand and feel another person’s feelings for yourself; it is a mutual experience of feeling. With empathy you “put yourself in their shoes.”

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Conflict Management: Part 2

Conflict Management: Part 2

Strategies for Resolving Conflict

Coping with cancer, either as a patient, family member, friend, or medical provider can be very difficult. Stress levels are higher. Everyone involved can have less patience and be more sensitive to problems and issues. Common situations that might normally blow over can explode into a major argument instead. If you experience a conflict with another person, experts suggest using the following strategies:

  1. Identify the cause of the conflict. Get to the root of the problem, and then deal with the cause. Sometimes small conflicts are really about larger issues.
  2. Listen attentively and speak in a way that you can be clearly understood. Consider how you express yourself and disagree with others. Does the tone of your voice become accusing, snide, rude? Do you cross your arms, roll your eyes? Do you get defensive? What kind of pronouns do you use? Experts recommend using “I” instead of “you” during a conflict. For example, you might say, “When this happens, I feel unloved” instead of “When you do this, you cause problems.”
  3. Try to understand the other person’s position or perspective. Be open-minded so that everyone involved can talk openly about their different views. Consider the issue from the other person’s point of view.
  4. Take responsibility. Do you always blame others for problems? Conflict is two-sided. What common ground can you find?
  5. Set goals on which everyone can agree. Try not to dwell too much on what’s passed. Instead, focus on how to best move forward and what can be accomplished in the future.

Experts also recommend developing a plan for handling conflict in situations where disagreements might surface. For example, family gatherings during the holidays can be stressful. Think about how you might handle issues that come up. Or perhaps your hair has started falling out. People are bound to stare, ask questions, or make insensitive comments. How will you respond? Or, on the flip side, you know someone with cancer who is losing their hair. What should you say?

Settling conflicts requires communication that is respectful and empathetic. It helps if there is trust in the relationship. Also, a certain amount of self-disclosure might be necessary.

Communicating About Cancer Series

This research project was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA144235; Dr. Wayne Beach, San Diego State University, Principal Investigator). Co-investigators included Dr. David Dozier from San Diego State University, and Mary Buller, Dr. Valerie Myers, and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel, Inc.

Conflict Management: Part 1

Conflict Management: Part 1

Managing Conflict

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.*

Just three days after his ninth birthday, Steven Bellamy’s mother, Katrine Bellamy, learned what she’d already strongly suspected. Earlier she’d called her son’s physician insisting she be told the results of Steven’s MRI. Not tomorrow. Not in three hours. Now. Instead, the doctor told her to immediately take Steven to the hospital. In tremendous pain, he was admitted to a room where he quickly fell asleep. Katrine spotted an envelope containing MRI images. She couldn’t help herself. She had to open it. Her husband, Dan, who thought she’d spent the past three weeks being overly paranoid about their son’s vomiting spells and headaches, told her to wait for the doctor. I can’t, she told him. I need to know now. Dan left the room, and Katrine pulled out the slides. The baseball-sized mass on Steven’s brain was impossible to miss. Katrine didn’t need a neurosurgeon to explain that she was looking at a brain tumor.

For the Bellamy’s, a long and difficult cancer journey had begun. Their story, like that of many others, includes episodes of conflict between themselves, other family members, friends and medical staff. This article is about conflict and how to manage it. If cancer is “The Big C,” conflict is the “Not-so-little C” that is almost always part of a cancer journey.

What is Conflict?

To put it simply, conflict is a disagreement. For anyone dealing with cancer, conflict can occur over something mundane like deciding what’s for dinner to more difficult decisions involving care. For example, Katrine and Dan had very different ideas about letting their nine-year-old son have a say in treatment decisions. All options sounded terrifying – some could mentally impair their son, others could kill him. When Katrine was pregnant, Dan said he didn’t think he could handle having a child with Down Syndrome. Now he had a child with cancer and was terrified. Dan wanted to present Steven with his options. Katrine said that it would be too much of a burden on their child. After much discussion, Katrine and Dan concluded that “This is our cross to bear. “ Steven would not participate in the decision-making process. As parents, the burden was theirs. They would make the decision and “live with the consequences.”

An equally agonizing conflict occurred with the care of George Janosik, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Janosik’s siblings and in-laws shared caregiving responsibilities which included giving him morphine to ease his excruciating pain. Janosik pleaded for a lethal dose. The caregivers were torn. Some felt it was cruel to let him suffer. For others, self-assisted suicide violated their religious beliefs. It was also against the law. No decision was ever made. Soon after, Janosik died.

These examples highlight how conflicts can emerge due to differences of opinion, beliefs, and communication style. In addition, personal values, stress, distrust, misunderstandings, personality clashes, and power struggles are common sources of disagreements.

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