Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Big Study Retraction

So remember just recently when I wrote about This American Life doing part of a show on how you can get people to change their minds?  It was two weeks ago here.

Well, I saw the news this morning that the study that story was based on has been retracted due to fabricated data. There are stories about it here and here.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


For those reading this blog from Texas, you should check out the IT'S TIME TEXAS summit. It's June 15-16 in Austin. You can learn more about the summit at:

If you use the discount code UTAUSTIN, you can get 25% off the registration fee, too. Come join us!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cancer Grand Rounds at MD Anderson

I had an awesome opportunity yesterday to give a Cancer Grand Rounds presentation at MD Anderson. The entire trip to MD Anderson for this - dinner the night before with faculty and then meetings before and after the talk with faculty, staff, and trainees - was fantastic.

This was my first chance to visit MD Anderson, so before this my awareness and knowledge of what they do was by news reports and general reputation. This is especially the case since I haven't done much work (yet) related to cancer.

I was incredibly impressed with the thoughtfulness with which everyone I talked to puts into constantly improving care for MD Anderson patients and research into how to prevent and treat cancer. I was asked to talk about health literacy, so a lot of the conversations centered on the awareness that while they're already doing a great job, improved communication is essential for improving care - and that comes on both the provider and the patient side of things.

My actual talk focused partly on health literacy and clear communication, since that was what I was technically originally asked to talk about. But then I also took the chance to talk about building effective messages - a simple message doesn't do much good if people aren't engaged with it and it doesn't promote behavior change. This has been one of the greatest benefits to me of landing in a School of Advertising & Public Relations, helping me balance that importance of persuasion and engagement with health education.

It was a great trip to MD Anderson, and I'm hoping it leads to a lot of great research and new projects down the road.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Looking at Recent Data on R21 and R01-equivalent Grants

I'm busy wrapping up the semester - and finalizing a talk at MD Anderson later this week that I'm really excited about - but I wanted to pass along something that's been in my e-mail for forever.

One thing that seems to come up a lot in grant work is whether you should do a R21 or a "mini R01." There is some helpful information on this topic out of NIH on this blog post: Looking at Recent Data on R21 and R01-equivalent Grants.

This is one of those areas that always seems a little... hazy (that's being generous)... to me. So this blog post was helpful. Here's hoping it helps others, too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This American Life: The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind

I was catching up on This American Life a couple days ago, and I listened to a great episode titled: The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind.

The opening segment was all about how some social scientists and advocates used advocates for controversial causes (pro-gay marriage, pro-choice) to go door to door and talk to people who are opposed to their position. The findings of the studies were that people who had this personal visit and story would change their mind, and the change would last much longer than one would think.

The people interviewed said the same thing could certainly be applied to conservative causes, of course. In this case it just happened to be more liberal causes that were studied.

It got me wondering about whether or not something similar could be done with vaccines. Could anti-vaccine people who "flipped" then convert other anti-vaccine people?

Either way, it was an interesting episode. (Like pretty much everything This American Life does.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Help a PhD Student Out: Cancer Communication Study

I'm on the dissertation committee for a great interpersonal health communication student, and she's recruiting for her dissertation project. If you're interested, or know someone who might be, please take or share her survey!

*      *     *      *      *     *

Research Participation Opportunity
The purpose of this research study is to examine how those diagnosed with cancer tell family members. The focus of this study is to understand the thought process that occurs when contemplating disclosure to others.  Your participation in the study will contribute to a better understanding of how individuals with cancer make decisions about communicating the information to family and friends. Your participation is completely voluntary.

You are eligible to participate if:
·         You are at least 18 years old
·         You have been diagnosed with cancer at some point and told an immediate family member (NOT your spouse) about it

Approximately 300 people will participate in this study. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to answer questions about your thoughts and experiences disclosing your diagnosis to your family in an online survey which will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

To access the survey, please click here:

I appreciate your help, and please contact Erin Nelson at if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Successes and Failures in Telehealth Conference

For those interested, abstract submission for the SFT-15 conference are now open. You can head to the conference website here.

I absolutely love this conference.  I think the idea of a conference which actively invites "failed" projects to share their research so others can learn from them is awesome.  I went to this years ago to share some of my dissertation work, and one of my advisees went there a couple years ago to present another project.  I suspect we'll be submitting something again this year.

It's a well-run conference in a great location, so it's worth a look if you've never been to SFT.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stigma and Health

I received an e-mail a few weeks back about a new journal from the American Psychological Association, called Stigma and Health. I haven't sent anything there yet, but it's definitely going to be a journal I keep looking at in the coming months.  As I dig more into research on stigma, specifically as it relates to health literacy, I think this will be a publication that will have a lot of relevant research and that I'll probably want to submit to. Just wanted to share, figured it might be of interest and not on most people's radars yet.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Big Data: Special Issue on Data and Healthcare

I got an e-mail with a call for papers on a special issue of Big Data focused on data and healthcare. I'm sure that issues related to big data and health are just going to become more prominent - for both research and practice - in the coming years, so this might be a great special issue on the topic.

Interested people should check out the call here.