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Behavioral and Social Science

Behavioral and Social ScienceARRA Logo

Strengthening the Connection Between Human Behavior and Health

The personal behavior of patients and care givers is influenced by social and cultural factors, and in turn, contributes to the quality of health and health care. Modest changes in behavior have been shown to improve health dramatically, but it is often difficult to initiate and maintain these healthy behaviors. Research shows that frequent reminders help people change behaviors, and ultimately improve health, but approaches to provide patient reminders are prohibitively expensive. New and improved methods are needed to provide patient reminders in an easily accessible and inexpensive manner, and to facilitate rapid and accurate communication between patients and health providers. Additional research is also needed to understand how personal behavior related to health is influenced by cultural, environmental, or emotional factors. Several Common Fund ARRA projects are addressing these needs by:

Researcher Research Description
Dr. David Asch
Dr. Kevin G. Volpp

University of Pennsylvania
Developing an adaptable computer system that can interact with hand held devices such as the iPhone to study the effectiveness of daily reminders and reporting in promoting healthy behaviors in the home and work place. (Asch, David and Volpp, Kevin G. (contact), 1-RC2-AG036592-01)
Dr. Brian Wansink
Cornell University Ithaca
Testing whether providing nutritional information in groceries promotes the purchase of healthy foods when provided alone or in combination with subsidies for healthy foods and whether cues in the home environment, for example the size of the dinner plate, affect the amount of food children eat. (Wansink, Brian, 1-RC1-HD063370-01)

Incorporating Patient Information into Health Research and Care

Patients provide much of the data used to validate new treatments for disease. New drugs and devices must be tested in clinical trials of thousands of voluntary participants before their safety and efficacy can be determined. Prior to enrollment in the trial, participants provide "informed consent"; stating that they have been informed of and agree to the risks involved. The informed consent process can be laborious, and often discourages patient participation. Once enrolled, the Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) are an important source of information about a patient's symptoms and responses to treatment. Unfortunately, these measures are difficult to collect in a standardized and reliable way. Recently, computer-based PRO questionnaires that are tailored to an individual's own responses have been developed, substantially improving the accuracy and reliability of PRO reporting. The Common Fund is using ARRA to further accelerate this area of research through development of new computer tools for tracking informed consent agreements and reporting patient outcomes. These ARRA awards focus on:

Researcher Research Description
Dr.Jay Moskowitz
University Of South Carolina At Columbia
Creating a centralized, computerized system that allows individuals the ability to use the Internet to manage their own informed consent agreements, thereby enhancing consumer choice and trust with the long term goal of increasing participation in clinical trials. (Moskowitz, Jay, 1-RC2-LM010796-01)
Dr. Joan Broderick
Dr. Arthur Stone

State University New York Stony Brook
Comparing the accuracy of reporting symptoms weekly versus daily to understand the consequences of reducing patient burden by relying on weekly reports. (Broderick, Joan; Stone, Arthur (contact), 1-U01-AR057948-01)
Dr. Karon Frances Cook
University Of Washington
Developing new standardized measures of pain for reporting by both patients and observers that can be used to test interventions to reduce disability. (Cook, Karon, 1-RC1-NR011804-01)
Dr. David Cella
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare
Providing expertise in areas including statistics and linguistics to PRO researchers for designing, testing and refining new questionnaires on a variety of chronic health conditions. (Cella, David, 1-U54-AR057951-01)

View ARRA funded research...

This page last reviewed on July 17, 2023