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Month: December 2021

2021 Research Highlights

2021 Research Highlights

Klein Buendel (KB) scientists and staff conducted rigorous behavioral science research with numerous collaborators from across the country in 2021. Our investigators published (or e-published ahead of print) 16 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented research findings virtually at 8 national or international conferences. In addition, our investigators are Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators on 6 new research projects that launched this year.


KB investigators, staff, and collaborators published or e-published the following research papers this year (current or recent investigators and staff are indicated in bold type):

Midgett A, Doumas DM, Myers VH, Moody S, Doud A. Technology-Based Bullying Intervention for Rural Schools: Perspectives on Needs, Challenges, and Design. Rural Ment Health. 2021 Jan;45(1):14-30. doi: 10.1037/rmh0000151.

Buller DB, Woodall WG, Saltz R, Grayson A, Buller MK, Cutter GR, Svendsen S, Liu X. Randomized Trial Testing an Online Responsible Vendor Training in Recreational Marijuana Stores in the United States. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2021 Mar;82(2):204-213.

Lee H, Henry KL, Buller DB, Pagoto S, Baker K, Walkosz B, Hillhouse J, Berteletti J, Bibeau J. Mutual influences of mother’s and daughter’s mental health on the closeness of their relationship: an actor-partner interdependence model. J Child Fam Stud. 2021 Mar;30:676-686.

Buller DB, Walkosz BJ, Olivas S, Eye R, Liu X, Kinsey A, Buller MK, Grayson A. Association of Occupational Sun Safety Policy and Actions in State Transportation Sector in the United States. Am J Ind Med. 2021 Apr;64(4):274-282. doi: 10.1002/ajim.23214.

Buller DB, Pagoto S, Baker K, Walkosz BJ, Hillhouse J, Henry KL, Berteletti J, Bibeau J. Results of a Social Media Campaign to Prevent Indoor Tanning by Teens: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Prev Med Rep. 2021 Apr 18;22:101382. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101382. eCollection 2021 Jun.

Heckman CJ, Buller DB, Stapleton JL. A call to action to eliminate indoor tanning: focus on policy [published online ahead of print April 28, 2021]. JAMA Dermatol. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.0874.

Loeb SJ, Murphy JL, Kitt-Lewis E, Wion RK, Jerrod T, Myers VH. Inmates Care: computer-based training for geriatric and end-of-life care in prisons. J Correct Health Care. 2021 Jun;27(2):132-144. doi: 10.1089/jchc.20.03.0016.

Bourdeau B, Miller BA, Byrnes HF, Woodall WG, Buller DB, Grube JW. Efficacy of a web-based intervention (Smart Choices 4 Teens) for facilitating parent-adolescent communication about relationships and sexuality: randomized controlled trial. JMIR Pediatr Parent 2021 Jun 15;4(2):e19114. doi: 10.2196/19114.

Banerjee SC, Sussman A, Schofield E, Guest DD, Dailey YS, Schwartz MR, Buller DB, Hunley K, Kaphingst KA, Berwick M, Hay JL. “Let’s talk about skin cancer”: examining association between family communication about skin cancer, perceived risk, and sun protection behaviors. J Health Commun. 2021 Aug 3;26(8):576-585. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2021.1966686.

Riley KE, Sussman AL, Schofield E, Guest DD, Dailey YT, Schwartz MR, Buller DB, Hunley K, Kaphingst KA, Berwick M, Hay JL. Effect of superstitious beliefs and risk intuitions on genetic test decisions [published online ahead of print August 28, 2021]. Med Decis Making. doi: 10.1177/0272989X211029272.

Hay JL, Kaphingst KA, Buller D, Schofield E, Meyer White K, Sussman A, Guest D, Dailey YT, Robers E, Schwartz MR, Li Y, Hunley K, Berwick M. Behavioral and psychological outcomes associated with skin cancer genetic testing in Albuquerque primary care. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Aug 12;13(16):4053. doi: 10.3390/cancers13164053.

Woodall WG, Zimet G, Kong A, Buller D, Reither J, Chilton L, Myers V, Starling R. a mobile web app to improve HPV vaccine uptake. Front Digit Health. 25 Aug 2021;3:693688. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2021.693688.

Doumas DM, Midgett A, Myers V, Buller MK. Usability of a technology-based bystander bullying intervention for middle school students in rural, low-income communities: mixed methods study. JMIR Form Res. 2021;5(10):e32382. doi: 10.2196/32382.

Buller DB, Pagoto S, Henry K, Berteletti J, Walkosz BJ, Bibeau J, Baker K, Hillhouse J, Arroyo KM. Human papillomavirus vaccination and social media: results in a trial with mothers of daughters aged 14-17. Front Digit Health. 2021 Sept;3:683034. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2021.683034.

Khan E, Kaphingst KA, Meyer White K, Sussman A, Guest D, Schofield E, Dailey YT, Robers E, Schwartz MR, Li Y, Buller D, Hunley K, Berwick M, Hay JL. Comprehension of skin cancer genetic risk feedback in primary care patients [published online ahead of print November 19, 2021]. J Community Genet. doi: 10.1007/s12687-021-00566-9.

Manne S, Kashy DA, Pagoto S, Peterson SK, Heckman CJ, Gallo J, Berger A, Buller DB, Kulik A, Frederick S. Family attitudes and communication about sun protection and sun protection practices among young adult melanoma survivors and their family members [published online ahead of print November 29, 2021]. J Health Commun. 2021:1-11. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2021.2008552.

Conference Presentations

KB investigators, staff, and collaborators gave research presentations and workshops at the following virtual conferences this year:

  • 33rd Annual Scientific Sessions of the Eastern Nursing Research Society (March 2021)
  • 14th Annual Academic and Health Policy Conference on Criminal Justice Health (April 2021)
  • DC Health Communication Conference (April 2021)
  • 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (April 2021)
  • 71st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (May 2021)
  • 5th Annual Conference of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media (May 2021)
  • 5th International UV and Skin Cancer Prevention Conference (September 2021)
  • Custody and Caring: 17th Biennial International Conference on the Nurse’s Role in the Criminal Justice System (November 2021)

Lastly, once the COVID-19 vaccine was widely available, a handful of long-time KB senior employees decided to make professional and personal life changes. We said farewell to Pam Stevens, the Finance Director for 15 years; Dr. Valerie Myers, a Senior Scientist for 10 years; Lucia Liu, the Biostatistical Manager for 15 years; and Adam Ashby, the Senior Developer for 15 years. They will be missed.

Family Attitudes and Communication about Sun Protection

Family Attitudes and Communication about Sun Protection

Young melanoma survivors and their families are at increased risk for developing melanoma, yet do not often practice sun protection for skin cancer prevention. Currently, little is known about the role of family interaction in sun protection.

Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. David Buller, was one of several authors on a recent paper on family attitudes and communication about sun protection among young melanoma skin cancer survivors and their family members e-published in the Journal of Health Communication. The research team was led by Dr. Sharon Manne from the Department of Medicine, Behavioral Sciences Section at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The research team set out to “examine correspondence between survivors and family sun protection, individual attitudes, and family attitudes and communication about risk-reducing behaviors, and evaluate the mediating role of family attitudes and communication in the association between individual sun protection attitudes and behavior.” Participants completed questionnaires about their individual attitudes, family attitudes and communication, and sun protection behaviors.  

Analyses showed that families had varying levels of shared attitudes and behaviors. Family discussion was associated with higher sun protection for both men and women. Other findings differed for men vs. women and cancer survivors vs. family members. Full descriptions of the measures, methods, results, and conclusions can be found in the publication. Overall, the authors believe that family-focused interventions may prove effective because families’ attitudes and practices correspond with each other.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Sharon Manne, Principal Investigator). Other authors on the publication include Dr. Deborah Kashy from Michigan State University; Dr. Sherry Pagoto from the University of Connecticut; Dr. Susan Peterson from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Carolyn Heckman, Joseph Gallo, Dr. Adam Berger, Alexandria Kulik, Sara Frederick, and Morgan Pesanelli from the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Susan Loeb

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Susan Loeb

Susan J. Loeb, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, is a Professor in the College of Nursing and the College of Medicine at Penn State University. She earned her nursing degrees at Penn State in 1988, 1992 and 2002. She has also received numerous honors and awards, including being a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing since 2012.

Dr. Loeb’s signature program of research focuses on addressing the health needs of older incarcerated people with chronic conditions, including those in the advanced stages of disease, and extending through their end of life (EOL). Her expertise in multiple methodological approaches is applied to a series of studies including research, development, dissemination, and implementation of a toolkit for training prison staff in strategies to enhance geriatric and EOL care in prisons. This toolkit has more recently been transformed into computer-based training modules, referred to as “Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prisons.”

She is currently a Multiple Principal Investigator with Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, on a study funded by the National Institute on Aging where their team is conducting research and development on a highly interactive and media-rich set of prototype modules based on best practices in peer caregiving in correctional settings. This training is referred to as “Just Care.”

Dr. Loeb and Dr. Walkosz plan to expand their research collaboration into another age-related disease area: Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. They hope to transform best practices in Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias care into media-rich, highly interactive, computer-based educational modules to prepare corrections staff and peer caregivers to meet the growing care needs of people who are incarcerated and living with cognitive decline.

Dr. Loeb’s research has been disseminated through more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous conference presentations. She has served as Principal Investigator or Multiple Principal Investigator on five studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and as Co-Investigator on two additional NIH-funded studies.