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¡Caminemos Juntas!: A Smartphone App for Latinas to Connect with Walking Partners

¡Caminemos Juntas!: A Smartphone App for Latinas to Connect with Walking Partners

Dr. Valerie Myers, Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, is the Principal Investigator leading a new research project aimed at helping Latinas combat barriers to physical activity using smartphone technology and social networks.

Hispanic women are a growing and influential segment of the population, yet health disparities for Latinas remain high. Latinas are more likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to be overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, and physically inactive. Regular physical activity promotes physical and emotional well-being, such as lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, weight management, and improved quality of life, yet physical activity interventions for Latinas remain limited.

Community-focused walking interventions produce improvements in physical activity and are well-received by Latinas when they are socioculturally sensitive. New technology has the ability to provide Latinas with innovative ways to connect socially and increase PA. Location-based services (LBS) are a popular technology that uses geographical positioning to allow individuals to use their smartphones to connect to their surrounding environment.

¡Caminemos Juntas! is a physical activity walking app that uses location-based services to connect Latinas within nearby neighborhoods as a way to provide social support for increased walking behavior. A prototype of the ¡Caminemos Juntas! app was programmed for both iOS and Android smartphones in a previous Phase I project. Multi-method formative research was conducted to guide app design and content prior to conducting field usability testing. To guide prototype development, a national sample of Latinas (n=98; mean age 32.7 +/- 7.8 years; 45% primary Spanish speaking; 28.6% with annual income < $15,000) were surveyed to better understand their preferences, usage, needs, and obstacles of current apps in relation to health and physical activity. Latinas’ current physical activity behaviors and smartphone use, opinions on health-related apps using LBS, how often they access social networking sites on their mobile phone, and their likelihood of using a social networking app to connect to others with intentions to be physically active were also examined.

Phase I results revealed that 22.5% never or rarely exercised, 73.5% accessed social networking sites daily with an average of 8 times a day, and 43.9% used LBS every day. Ease of use (82%), informationally accurate (79.2%), and reliability (84.7%) were app features rated as highly important. Over 63% reported high likelihood of using a social networking app to connect to others with the intentions of being physically active, and 67.4% reported that this type of app would be very helpful. Focus groups showed that the app was appealing, also.

In the new Phase II project, the ¡Caminemos Juntas! app will be fully developed and evaluated in a randomized control trial with Latinas aged 18-45 in San Jose, CA and Denver, CO. Changes in physical activity, social support for exercise, and quality of life will be evaluated. New features to be explored include Fitbit® device integration, mapping of walks, and social media integration. The LBS features of the app will allow Latinas to determine a safe place to meet for a walk, connect with other users nearby, and be notified if there was an available walk in the user’s vicinity.

The research is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD009652) at the National Institutes of Health through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. Dr. Myers’ collaborators include Dr. Abby King from Stanford University, and Dr. Gary Cutter from Pythagorus, Inc. in Alabama.

Way to Serve Tops 75,000 Trainings

Way to Serve Tops 75,000 Trainings

WayToServe®an evidence-based online responsible alcohol server training program, has achieved a significant milestone by surpassing 75,000 completed trainings. The program, developed by scientists at Klein Buendel, Inc. (KB), the University of New Mexico (UNM), and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, was initially evaluated in a controlled randomized trial that resulted in increased refusal of sales to intoxicated patrons. WayToServe® was then transferred from its research phase to commercialization in 2012. It was licensed to Wedge Communications LLC for marketing and distribution initially in New Mexico for training of on- and off-site alcohol servers.

Additional state-specific versions of WayToServe® have been created that conform to the Responsible Beverage Service curriculum requirements of the State of California, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Washington State Liquor Control Board, and Oregon Liquor Control Commission. WayToServe® is now sold in California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. The Spanish version, WayToServe Español, is scheduled to be tested in New Mexico and Texas later this year.

Commenting on the milestone achievement, Dr. David Buller, KB Director of Research and WayToServe® Co-Investigator, said “Plans are underway to refresh the entire online training for the next 75,000 servers to learn to sell alcohol responsibly and keep their customers and communities safe.”

The creation and evaluation of the original WayToServe® program was sponsored by two grants from National Institutes of Health to UNM (Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). The WayToServe Español research project is being funded by a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to KB from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (R44MD010405; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, KB Senior Scientist, Principal Investigator).

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Robert Saltz

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Robert Saltz

Robert Saltz, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in Berkeley, California.

He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts. His research explores ways in which drinking context may influence the risk of subsequent injury or death. He has extensive experience researching “responsible beverage service” programs aimed at having bar and restaurant personnel intervene with patrons to reduce the risk of intoxication or driving while impaired.

Dr. Saltz collaborated with Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall at Klein Buendel (KB) on the development, trial, and commercialization of the WayToServe® responsible beverage service training program funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator).

Currently, Dr. Saltz is working with KB on two projects. He serves as a collaborating scientist with Dr.  Woodall on WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers (MD010405; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). For this project, he will assist with the creation of culturally-appropriate content and advise on the recruitment of alcohol sales premises.  This study will systematically translate and test an alcohol server training intervention (WayToServe Español). The research will explore overcoming dissemination barriers with ethnically diverse and Spanish speaking restaurant and bar workers.  The team will tailor it to be culturally specific and compatible with the values and needs of the employees, simple to adopt, accessible for trial, and observable in direct benefits and effects on responsible alcohol services. The randomized control trial will take place at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States.

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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.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Victoria Sánchez

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Victoria Sánchez

Dr. Victoria Sánchez is an Associate Professor in the College of Population Health at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque.  She earned her MPH at the University of California at Berkeley and her Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She directs the MPH Community Health Concentration track at UNM and teaches social and behavioral sciences courses for the UNM College of Public Health.

Dr. Sánchez has a long-standing commitment to participatory planning and evaluation processes with communities and public health organizations. Over the last thirty years, she has integrated her expertise in public health practice and participatory and multidisciplinary research methodologies to plan and implement joint solutions for reducing health and social disparities in Latino and other vulnerable communities. As a member of multidisciplinary teams, she has applied social and cultural theories and models in the development, tailoring, testing, and evaluation of interventions to improve the health of Latinos/Hispanics in New Mexico, Texas, and California.

Currently, Dr. Sánchez is working with Klein Buendel as a collaborating scientist with Dr. Gill Woodall and Dr. David Buller on WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers (R44MD010405; Dr. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). This research project is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Sánchez collaborates on the creation and evaluation of culturally-appropriate content and the translation of the English WayToServe® online training program to Spanish. She helps ensure that the translation is compatible with the values and needs of servers in Spanish language-dominant bars and restaurants. The randomized control trial is being conducted at Spanish-dominant businesses in the Southwestern region of the United States.

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