Tag Archives: translational research

John Eckenrode

John Eckenrode's achievements have left an indelible mark on the department of human development. He was founding Director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, He founded and co-directed the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect. He received the 2017 Nicholas Hobbs Award from Division 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) of the American Psychological Association (APA) for his exemplary research on child advocacy and policy and is a fellow of APA's Division 7 (Developmental Psychology).

John Eckenrode has played a critical role in the development of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program (NFPP) which has been in existence for more than 40 years.

Pairing specially-trained public health nurses with first-time, low-income mothers has led to significant outcomes in the health of mothers and children. According to an estimate in a 2015 review of the program, by 2031 the Nurse-Family Partnership Program will have prevented 500 infant deaths, 10,000 pre-term births, 4,700 abortions, 42,000 child maltreatment incidents, 36,000 intimate partner violence incidents, 36,000 youth arrests, and 41,000 person-years of youth substance abuse. In 2018, Eckenrode received the Outstanding Article of the Year award from the Child Maltreatment Journal for the paper he wrote with the NFPP research team about the most recent follow-up of the study.

To learn more about Eckenrode's research and a discussion of what is translational research, listen to his interview with Karl Pillemer.

FEATURES

Elaine Wethington elected fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Elaine Wethington is elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Dr. Wethington is recognized for distinguished contributions to medical sociology.


Aging stereotypes are bad for older adults' health

Corinna Loeckenhoff says that shifting stereotypes is no simple feat. People develop their views on aging when they are toddlers, but they also change based on experience. Unfortunately, negative beliefs are often built on inaccurate impressions.


Combating loneliness important for a healthy, long life

Research has found that loneliness is a known risk factor for cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, disability and depression. Anthony Ong urges addressing the direct, indirect, and moderated effects of social isolation and loneliness on health.


Access Cornell Race and Empathy Project online

Since its launch in September 2016, the Cornell Race and Empathy Project has recorded, archived and shared the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy. To continue fostering the ability to identify and understand the feelings of someone of a different background, the project has evolved into an online presence.


MULTIMEDIA

John Eckenrode - What is translational research?

John Eckenrode

John Eckenrode and Karl Pillemer discuss the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.


STUDENTS IN THE NEWS

The Human Development Graduate Program - an interview with Tamar Kushnir's students

Three of Tamar Kushnir's graduate students--Teresa Flanagan, Alyssa Varhol, and Alice Xin Zhao--reflect on what led them to work with Dr. Kushnir and enroll in the Department of Human Development Graduate Program.


 

Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research's podcast series, "Doing Translational Research," May 2, 2018

It's our 20th episode! This seemed like a good moment to address a question we often hear: What is translational research?

To tackle this important question Karl is joined by BCTR associate director John Eckenrode. They cover the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.

John Eckenrode is a social psychologist and professor of human development and associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. He is also founder and co-director of the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect. His research concerns child abuse and neglect, the effects of preventive interventions, translational research, and stress and coping processes.

Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being (Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development)

Edited by Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon

Translational research links scientific findings with programs and policies that improve human health and well-being. It includes research that evaluates interventions or policies for efficacy and effectiveness, as well as research that applies field experience to future development of basic theory and its applications.

Although translational research has traditionally emphasized biomedical studies with one type of application (i.e., individual-level intervention to treat disease), the concept has expanded to include various sciences and many types of applications.

Social and behavioral sciences now often contribute to public- and individual-level interventions that promote education, disease prevention, health care delivery, health care access, and more. This broader, more inclusive approach to translational research has gained popularity and been promoted by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, medical centers, and university programs.

This book demonstrates how emerging methods of translational research can be applied to important topics of interest to social and behavioral scientists. Accessible models and real-world case studies are provided to help bridge the gaps among research, policy, and practice.

cancerBy H. Roger Segelken
Reprinted from Cornell Chronicle, March 25, 2015

The doctor says: “We offer two kinds of surgery for your cancer. Both procedures have 80 percent cure rates. After the first kind, 4 percent of patients have serious complications. In the second type, 20 percent simply die. No pressure to decide, but the sooner we start …”

Wishing you hadn’t slept through statistics class – trying to remember what went wrong with Uncle Joe’s surgery, and longing for the days when doctors knew best – you seek counsel in a decision-support tool, online or at the nearest cancer resource center.

“In fact, there are more than 40 tools to help people make informed decisions in cancer prevention, screening and treatment,” says Valerie F. Reyna, professor of human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. “The more effective decision-support aids help with the numeracy problem – is a 10 percent chance riskier than one in a thousand? But not all tools help patients use their values, emotions and life experience to make decisions that affect their lives and their families’ future.”

Writing in the February-March 2015 special issue of American Psychologist, in an article titled “Decision Making and Cancer,” Reyna and her research colleagues want support tools to accommodate what they call “bottom-line gist options” that swirl though a patient’s mind – along with “verbatim” details about probable risk and whatever else the doctor said.

Gist is at the core of Fuzzy Trace Theory (which Reyna applied most recently to patients’ decisions to take antibiotics even though the misery is probably caused by viruses, not bacteria), and there’s nothing wrong with listening to one’s heart, Reyna says.

Reyna and her co-authors explain that “gist involves understanding meaning (insight in the gestalt sense) – integrating dimensions of information to distill its essence, not just processing fewer dimensions of information that are ‘good enough.’” Although people incorporate both verbatim details and gist in decision making, “they generally have a fuzzy processing (gist) preference” for information, the authors report.

The researchers offer this prescription for a Fuzzy Trace Theory-based cancer-decision tool: Ensure that patients understand the essential gist meaning of information; remind patients of an array of simple social and moral values that are important to them and that have relevance to the decision at hand; and assist patients in applying their values throughout the decision process.

“Every phase of the cancer continuum – from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment, survivorship and end of life – is fraught with challenges to our abilities to make informed decisions,” says Reyna. “People are not optimal decision makers. We struggle with complex information about benefits and risks, tradeoffs and uncertainties in cancer treatment.”

An impassionate computer could make optimal decisions on our behalf – disregarding the gist of what we think is best for us, Reyna adds. But the computer is too literal to make the best decisions for people, Reyna says: “Decision support should strive to capture the gist, the essential bottom line, of patients’ options.”

Reyna, director of the Human Neuroscience Institute in the College of Human Ecology, is the first author on the paper along with Wendy L. Nelson, National Cancer Institute; Paul K. Han, Maine Medical Center, Scarborough, Maine; and Michael P. Pignone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Preparation of the American Psychologist report was supported, in part, by awards from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Reyna_Valerie_web

Reprinted from the Association for Psychological Science's Journal, Observer, Feb., 2015

A high-quality journal of juried review articles on issues of broad social importance is needed now more than ever. Psychological science is directly relevant to the most pressing social, economic, and health problems of our day, yet is vastly underutilized. To be sure, PSPI has increased the uptake of behavioral research in policy and practice, but so much more potential exists. Building on the success of prior editors, I want to propel the scientific and practical influence of behavioral research forward.

This journal should influence — and be influenced by — the latest scientific theories as well as speak to the mysteries of human conflict, motivation, achievement, learning, feelings, disorders, and decision making.

Why theory? We need evidence-based theory in order to understand how to apply what we learn about human behavior. Theory explains and predicts behavior, so that it is possible to know what the “active ingredient” is when interventions change behavior. Theory also explains and predicts who will benefit from specific practices and policies. Therefore, I will emphasize causal mechanisms when appropriate, with a view to understanding how to generalize results of research to policy and practice. There is no reason why PSPI cannot be a cutting-edge theoretical and translational journal, and its audience should encompass scientists, practitioners, and policy makers.

Another important role of PSPI is to reconcile different viewpoints from researchers across disciplines.Scholarship means taking account of all of the relevant prior evidence, not just evidence produced by those with similar worldviews. Psychology as a cumulative science, in which current work builds on prior findings and ideas, is crucial for scientific and social progress. I have had the opportunity to interact with scholars from many different disciplines, and I will draw on those experiences to build bridges between psychology and other disciplines.

PSPI connects members of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) to members of the public — including policy makers. It should also serve as the go-to source for behavioral scientists from different disciplines because it provides the most rigorous evidence and the most exciting ideas about the most important issues.

About Valerie F. Reyna

Incoming PSPI Editor Valerie F. Reyna is a professor of human development at Cornell University, where she is also director of the Human Neuroscience Institute, codirector of the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility, and codirector of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research. Her research integrates brain and behavioral approaches to understand and improve judgment, decision making, and memory across the lifespan. Her recent work has focused on the neuroscience of risky decision making and its implications for health and well-being, especially in adolescents; applications of cognitive models and artificial intelligence for improving understanding of genetics (e.g., in breast cancer); and medical and legal decision making (e.g., about jury awards, medication decisions, and adolescent culpability).

In addition to being an APS Fellow, Reyna is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and several divisions of the American Psychological Association, including the Divisions of Experimental Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Health Psychology. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic, a permanent member of study sections of the National Institutes of Health, and a member of advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. She has also served as president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making.

Reyna helped create a new research agency in the US Department of Education, where she oversaw grant policies and programs. Her service also has included leadership positions in organizations dedicated to creating equal opportunities for minorities and women, and on national executive and advisory boards of centers and grants with similar goals, such as the Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence, National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and Women in Cognitive Science.

2015 Psychological Science in the Public Interest Editorial/Advisory Board

 

APS Past President Mahzarin R. Banaji, Harvard University
Past APS Board Member Stephen J. Ceci, Cornell University
APS William James Fellow Uta Frith, University College London, United Kingdom
APS Past President Morton Ann Gernsbacher, University of Wisconsin–Madison
APS Fellow John B. Jemmott, III, University of Pennsylvania
APS William James Fellow Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
APS Past President Elizabeth F. Loftus, University of California, Irvine
APS Fellow Marcus E. Raichle, Washington University in St. Louis
APS Past President Henry L. Roediger, III, Washington University in St. Louis
APS Fellow Daniel L. Schacter, Harvard University
APS William James Fellow Richard M. Shiffrin, Indiana University
APS Fellow Keith E. Stanovich, University of Toronto, Canada
APS Fellow Laurence Steinberg, Temple University
Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University
APS Fellow Wendy M. Williams, Cornell University
APS Fellow Christopher Wolfe, Miami University

Valerie Reyna can be contacted at ReynaPSPI@cornell.edu.

By Ted Boscia
Reprinted from Cornell Chronicle, Jan. 12, 2015

By H. Roger Segelken
Reprinted from Cornell Chronicle, December 16, 2014

When the doctor says, “I could prescribe antibiotics for your sniffles, but it’s probably a virus – not bacterial,” do you decline? Many patients expect antibiotics, although overprescription is a major factor driving one of the biggest public health concerns today: antibiotic resistance.

Now researchers at Cornell, George Washington and Johns Hopkins universities have figured out why: “Patients choose antibiotics because there’s a chance [prescription medications] will make them better, and they perceive the risks of taking antibiotics as negligible,” says Cornell psychologist Valerie Reyna.

With her co-authors, the professor of human development has published new research with important implications for communicating about antibiotics: “Germs Are Germs, and Why Not Take a Risk? Patients’ Expectations for Prescribing Antibiotics in an Inner-City Emergency Department,” in the journal Medical Decision Making.

That’s encouraging news for health educators, Reyna says, noting: “Patients might expect doctors to prescribe antibiotics because patients confuse viruses and bacteria – and think antibiotics will be effective for either. Most educational campaigns attempt to educate patients about this misconception. However, we found fewer than half of patients in an urban ER agreeing with the message, ‘germs are germs.’”

Patients who understand the difference between viruses and bacteria – and take antibiotics anyway – are making a strategic risk assessment, Reyna says: “Our research suggests that antibiotic use boils down essentially to a choice between a negative status quo – sick for sure – versus taking antibiotics and maybe getting better. This risk strategy promotes antibiotic use, particularly when taking antibiotics is perceived as basically harmless.”

Fuzzy-trace theory

The Broniatowski-Klein-Reyna study is the first to apply “fuzzy-trace” theory to how people think about antibiotics. The theory predicts that patients make decisions based on the gist (or simple bottom line) of information.

As Reyna explains: “The goal is to make better decisions, getting antibiotics to patients who need them but not overusing them so the rest of the public is safe. Understanding how patients think is crucial because their expectations influence doctors’ decisions.”

Adds David Broniatowski, assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering at GWU, and the report’s first author: “We need to fight fire with fire. If patients think that antibiotics can’t hurt, we can’t just focus on telling them that they probably have a virus. We need to let them know that antibiotics can have some pretty bad side effects, and that they will definitely not help cure a viral infection.”

The third author is Dr. Eili Klein, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University and a fellow at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.

Reyna is the director of the Human Neuroscience Institute, co-director of the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility, and a co-director of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research, all in the College of Human Ecology. She is a developer of “fuzzy-trace theory,” a model of the relation between mental representations and decision making that has been widely applied in law, medicine and public health.

The study was supported, in part, by funds from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

By Lori Sonken
Reprinted from Cornell Chronicle, November 10, 2014
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Understanding why college students check Facebook so often and whether the stigma of having a father in jail affects elementary school teachers’ expectations of students are just two of many questions social scientists are exploring using research grants awarded last month by theInstitute for the Social Sciences.

Twice yearly, the ISS provides up to $12,000 to social science faculty for research. Priority is given to projects led by tenure-track faculty early in their careers.

Natalya Bazarova, assistant professor in communication, is seeking to understand the gratification and psychological mechanisms, including motivating factors and habit, that drive young adults to check Facebook so frequently.

Christopher Wildeman, associate professor of policy analysis and management, expects that his study working with 300 elementary school teachers – using a research design that manipulates the paternal incarceration status of fictional students – may have implications for policy interventions.

Elaine Wethington, professor in human development and sociology, says: “Little is known about the quality of older couples’ marital relationships and the formation and dissolution of their romantic and sexual relationships." Her research, which focuses on people over age 50, looks at marital quality compared across different age cohorts, the emotional and financial consequences of de-coupling in later life, living arrangements among those who divorced after 50, and the formation of new sexual and romantic relationships in later life.

Sarah Kreps, associate professor of government, is examining the reasons why Americans support humanitarian intervention to promote the welfare of foreign citizens from man-made violence.

Shannon Gleeson, associate professor in labor relations, law and history, explores the collaborations that labor unions, immigrant rights organizations, worker centers and legal-aid groups in the United States have with the Mexican Consulate to enforce workplace rights of immigrant workers.

How do different kinds of experts and organizations in the electric power sector manage the diverse risks – including cyber-attacks, power outages and environmental harm – associated with a “smart” electrical grid? This is a question Rebecca Slayton, assistant professor in science and technical studies, seeks to answer.

To understand the cognitive process guiding environmental preferences, Ricardo Daziano, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will have 600 adults living in New York City complete a Web-based survey of consumers’ willingness to pay to reduce carbon emissions.

By collecting data from college students and their summer internship employers, Poppy McLeod, associate professor, and Alicia Orta-Ramirez, senior lecturer, both in communication, hope to answer the question: “How do students’ campus-based teamwork experiences relate to demonstration of teamwork and other interpersonal skills in the workplace?”

Sofia Villenas, associate professor in anthropology, investigates teaching and learning about racial justice, equity and citizenship that occurs outside traditional classroom settings at festivals, protests and community forums to better understand how adults and youths learn about civics and democratic participation.

A research team led by Chris Barrett, the David J. Nolan Director of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and funded by the World Bank is examining whether irrigation project improvements and changing water condition stemming from climate change prompt farmers in Nepal to be more receptive to agricultural extension services. The ISS grant will fund the team’s travel.

Assistant Professor Ortiz-Bobea in the Dyson School is using historic French statistical agricultural yearbooks to analyze how government regulation contributed to the emergence of a higher-quality market for wine.

Working with coffee growers in the Popayán region of Colombia, Arnab Basu and Miguel Gómez, professors in the Dyson School, are trying to understand how membership-based organizations affect an individual member’s risk and time preferences and the propensity to trust.

Julieta Caunedo, assistant professor of economics, is using sale and auction price data on used agricultural equipment to help explain how countries adopt new technologies in the agricultural sector. Her work is co-funded by the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Since the ISS small grant program began in 2005, more than 200 projects have received support. Applications for spring 2015 ISS grants are due Feb. 3, 2015.

Lori Sonken is the staff writer for the Institute for the Social Sciences.