Recent Research Publications and Funding

  •  | March 20, 2017 3:00AM

    Background: The wide variety of dissemination and implementation designs now being used to evaluate and improve health systems and outcomes warrants review of the scope, features, and limitations of these designs. Methods: This paper is one product of a design workgroup formed in 2013 by the National Institutes of Health to address dissemination and implementation research, and whose members represented diverse methodologic backgrounds, content focus areas, and health sectors. These experts integrated their collective knowledge on dissemination and implementation designs with searches of published evaluations strategies. Results: This paper emphasizes randomized and non-randomized designs for the traditional translational research continuum or pipeline, which builds on existing efficacy and effectiveness trials to examine how one or more evidence-based clinical/prevention interventions are adopted, scaled up, and sustained in community or service delivery systems. We also mention other designs, including hybrid designs that combine effectiveness and implementation research, quality improvement designs for local knowledge, and designs that use simulation modeling.

  •  | November 1, 2016 3:00AM

    OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify unique practices underway in communities that have been empirically identified as having achieved exceptional maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes compared with their peers.

    METHODS: We used a qualitative, positive deviance approach to identify practices implemented by local health department (LHD) jurisdictions in Florida, Washington, and New York that achieved better MCH outcomes than expected compared with their in-state peer jurisdictions. We identified a total of 50 LHDs in jurisdictions that had better than expected MCH outcomes compared with their peers, and we conducted 39 hour-long semistructured interviews with LHD staff. We conducted inductive thematic analysis to identify key themes and subthemes across all LHD cases in the sample.

    RESULTS: Partnerships with providers, partnerships for data collection/assessment, and partnerships with community-based organizations were associated with exceptional MCH outcomes based on our interviews.

    DISCUSSION: This study offers specific examples of practices LHDs can implement to improve MCH outcomes, even with limited resources, based on the practices of high-performing local health jurisdictions.

  •  | October 31, 2016 3:00AM

    Objective: Trauma exposure can precipitate acute/post-traumatic stress responses (AS/PTSD) and disabling cardiovascular disorders (CVD). Identifying acute stress-related physiologic changes that may increase CVD risk could inform development of early CVD-prevention strategies. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response and stress-related cardiovascular function. We examine stress-related endocannabinoid system (ECS) activity and its association with cardiovascular biochemistry/function following acute stress.

    Methods: Rodents (n=8-16/group) were exposed to predator odor or saline; elevated plus maze (EPM), blood pressure (BP), serum and cardiac tissue ECS markers, and lipid metabolism were assessed at 24h and 2wks post-exposure.

    Results: At 24h the predator odor group demonstrated anxiety-like behavior and had (a) elevated serum markers of cardiac failure/damage (brain natriuretic peptide [BNP]: 275.1 vs. 234.6, p=0.007; troponin-I: 1.50 vs. 0.78, p=0.076), lipogenesis (triacylglycerols [TAG]: 123.5 vs. 85.93, p=0.018), and inflammation (stearoyl delta-9 desaturase activity [SCD-16]: 0.21 vs. 0.07, p<0.001); (b) significant decrease in cardiac endocannabinoid (2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol, 2-AG: 29.90 vs. 65.95, p<0.001) and fatty acid ethanolamides (FAE: oleoylethanolamide, OEA: 114.3 vs. 125.4, p=0.047; palmitoylethanolamide, PEA: 72.96 vs. 82.87, p=0.008); and (c) increased cardiac inflammation (IL-1β/IL-6 ratio: 19.79 vs.13.57, p=0.038; TNF-α/IL-6 ratio: 1.73 vs. 1.03, p=0.019) and oxidative stress (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances [TBARS]: 7.81 vs. 7.05, p=0.022), that were associated with cardiac steatosis (higher TAG: 1.09 vs. 0.72, p<0.001). Cardiac lipogenesis persisted, and elevated BP emerged two weeks after exposure.

    Conclusions: Acute psychological stress elicits ECS-related cardiac responses associated with persistent, potentially-pathological changes in rat cardiovascular biochemistry/function.

  •  | October 28, 2016 3:00AM

    PURPOSE: Appropriate utilization of treatment is a goal for all patients undergoing cancer treatment. Proper treatment maximizes benefit and limits exposure to unnecessary measures. This report describes findings of the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a short, clinic-based decision aid and presents an in-depth clinical profile of the participants.

    METHODS: This descriptive study used a prospective, quantitative approach to obtain the feasibility and acceptability of a decision aid (DecisionKEYS for Balancing Choices) for use in clinical settings. It combined results of trials of patients with three different common malignancies. All groups used the same decision aid series. Participants included 80 patients with solid tumors (22 with newly diagnosed breast cancer, 19 with advanced prostate cancer, and 39 with advanced lung cancer) and their 80 supporters as well as their physicians and nurses, for a total of 160 participants and 10 health professionals.

    RESULTS: The decision aid was highly acceptable to patient and supporter participants in all diagnostic groups. It was feasible for use in clinic settings; the overall value was rated highly. Of six physicians, all found the interactive format with the help of the nurse as feasible and acceptable. Nurses also rated the decision aid favorably.

    CONCLUSIONS: This intervention provides the opportunity to enhance decision making about cancer treatment and warrants further study including larger and more diverse groups. Strengths of the study included a theoretical grounding, feasibility testing of a practical clinic-based intervention, and summative evaluation of acceptability of the intervention by patient and supporter pairs. Further research also is needed to test the effectiveness of the decision aid in diverse clinical settings and to determine if this intervention can decrease overall costs.

  •  | June 26, 2016 3:00AM

    Background: Our program of research focuses on thermal and circulatory stability in extremely premature infants. In prior studies, we found that infants have long periods of time in which foot temperature (FT) is higher than central temperature. We thus wanted to determine whether blood flow in the foot is increased when FT is elevated. Perfusion index (PI) can be used as a clinical indicator of peripheral perfusion, but reports on use of PI in premature infants are lacking. We employed exploratory methodology to examine foot perfusion and temperature in very low birth weight infants.

    Aims: For premature infants after birth: (1) describe foot PI values for the first 2 weeks of life and (2) describe the relationship of longitudinal FT and PI. Study

    Design: Case study design with longitudinal FT and PI in 17 infants born at <29 weeks’ gestation with birth weight < 1,200 g for 2 weeks after birth. Results: Infants averaged 851 g at birth and were 24–29 weeks’ gestational age. The mean PI across all infants for 14 days was 1.04, SD ¼ 0.79. Using a repeated measures multilevel model approach confirmed that FT and PI were positively related in these infants. 

    Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that perfusion is increased in the periphery in extremely premature infants when FT is increased. PI measures can be used as a trend for peripheral perfusion, and these values increase over the first 2 weeks of life in infants weighing more than 750 g.

  •  | May 17, 2016 3:00AM

    PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the development of a self-efficacy instrument that measures perceived ability to manage symptoms and quality-of-life problems resulting from the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

    DESIGN: Items were developed and content validity assessed. A 14-item scale was psychometrically evaluated using internal consistency reliability and several types of construct validity.

    SAMPLE: 1,127 female breast cancer survivors (BCSs).

    METHODS: Written consents were mailed to the research office. Data were collected via mail and telephone.

    MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Demographics, symptom bother, communication with healthcare provider, attention function, fear of recurrence, depression, marital satisfaction, fatigue, sexual functioning, trait and state anxiety, and overall well-being.

    FINDINGS: Data demonstrated that the breast cancer self-efficacy scale (BCSES) was reliable, with an alpha coefficient of 0.89, inter-item correlations ranging from 0.3-0.6, and item-total correlation coefficients ranging from 0.5-0.73. Three of 14 items were deleted because of redundancy as identified through high (> 0.7) inter-item correlations. Factor analysis revealed that the scale was unidimensional. Predictive validity was supported through testing associations between self-efficacy and theoretically supported quality-of-life variables, including physical, psychological, and social dimensions, as well as overall well-being.

    CONCLUSIONS: The BCSES demonstrated high internal consistency reliability, unidimensionality, and excellent content and construct validity. This scale should be integrated into interventions that target self-efficacy for managing symptoms in BCSs.

    IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Nurses working with BCSs may use this tool to assess areas in which survivors might need to build confidence to adequately cope with their specific survivorship concerns.

    KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION: The use of the BCSES can inform nurse researchers about the impact of an intervention on self-efficacy in the context of breast cancer survivorship, improving the ability to deliver effective interventions. The scale is brief and easy to administer. Results of this study demonstrate clear psychometric reliability and validity, suggesting that the BCSES should be put to use immediately in interventions targeting the quality of life of BCSs.

  •  | May 2, 2016 3:00AM

    Objectives: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Residential radon is the cause of approximately 21,000 U.S. lung cancer deaths each year. Dangerous levels of radon are just as likely to be found in low-rise apartments and townhomes as single-family homes in the same area. The preferred radon mitigation strategy can be expensive and requires structural modifications to the home. The public health nurse (PHN) needs a collection of low-cost alternatives when working with low-income families or families who rent their homes.

    Method: A review of the literature was performed to identify evidence-based methods to reduce radon risk with vulnerable populations.

    Results: Fourteen recommendations for radon risk reduction were categorized into four strategies. Nine additional activities for raising awareness and increasing testing were also included.

    Discussion: The results pair the PHN with practical interventions and the underlying rationale to develop radon careplans with vulnerable families across housing types. The PHN has both the competence and the access to help families reduce their exposure to this potent carcinogen.

  •  | March 31, 2016 3:00AM

    Background:Nurse practitioners (NPs), if utilized to their optimal potential, could play a key role in meeting the growing demand for primary care.

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to propose a comprehensive model for maximizing NP contributions to primary care which includes the factors affecting NP care and patient outcomes and explains their interrelated impact.

    Method: We synthesized the results of the published literature to develop a model, which emphasizes NP scope of practice regulations, institutional policies, NP practice environment, and NP workforce outcomes as determinants of NP care and patient outcomes.

    Discussion: Our model provides a framework to help explain how variations in scope of practice regulations at the state-level and institutional policies within organizations directly and indirectly influence the practice environment of NPs, NP workforce outcomes, and patient care and outcomes.

    Conclusion: Aligning policy change, organizational innovations, and future research are critical to NP optimal utilization and patient care and outcomes.

  •  | February 22, 2016 5:00AM

    Collaborative goal setting (CGS) is a cornerstone of diabetes self-management support, but little is known about its feasibility and effectiveness during routine care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of an existing CGS intervention when integrated by primary care staff. Using a mixed-methods approach guided by the RE-AIM framework, intervention adoption, implementation, reach, and effectiveness were evaluated over 12 months. Three of four sites adopted the CGS intervention, in which 521 patients with type 2 diabetes (9–29 % of those targeted) received CGS. For those with suboptimal glycemic control (A1C ≥ 7.5 %), %A1C decreased by 1.1 for those receiving CGS (n = 204, p < 0.001) compared to 0.4 for a group who did not (n = 41, p = 0.23). Practice characteristics influenced adoption and implementation, while isolation of CGS from the remainder of clinical care likely influenced reach and effectiveness. CGS may benefit patients with diabetes, but a lack of integration by practice staff is a key barrier to overcome during implementation.

  •  | February 11, 2016 5:00AM

    Purpose/Objectives: To develop a better understanding of how older adult survivors of early-stage breast and prostate cancer managed the work of recovery.

    Research Approach: Multiple case study design embedded in a larger randomized, controlled trial of a nurse-led patient navigation intervention.

    Setting: Community-based research conducted via in-home visits and by phone with participants residing in non-metropolitan areas of a mid-Atlantic state.

    Participants: Rural-dwelling adults aged 60 years or older with early-stage breast or prostate cancer and the people who support them (11 dyads).

    Methodologic Approach: An approach to grounded theory analysis was used to evaluate the fit between existing theoretical knowledge and case findings and to generate new knowledge about the cancer recovery process.

    Findings: Working toward normalcy was a core process of cancer recovery prompted by participants’ internal experiences and external interactions with their environments. This ongoing, iterative, and active process involved multiple concurrent strategies that were not necessarily medically oriented or cancer specific. Working toward normalcy resulted in movement along a continuum of self-appraisal anchored between participants experiencing life as completely disrupted by cancer to a life back to normal. A greater sense of normalcy was associated with higher engagement in valued activities and increased physical and psychological well-being.

    Conclusions: In addition to the core process of working toward normalcy, multiple theories from nursing, sociology, psychology, and gerontology helped to explain case findings. This knowledge could serve as a foundation on which to design survivorship care that supports the goals of cancer survivors working toward normalcy post-treatment.

    Interpretation: Post-treatment wellness goals can include a desire to reestablish or maintain a sense of normalcy. Nursing actions that promote survivors’ efforts to be perceived as capable, stay engaged in valued activities and roles, maintain a sense of control over their lives and bodies, and make plans for the future may help meet this goal. Existing theories about identity, dignity, inner strength, and the work of illness can inform nursing interventions.