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Cancer Communication Research Center
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Have you seen the Article of the Future?

We are all well aware of the advantages of publishing in online scientific journals like the ones affiliated with BioMed Central. There is no length limit and additional materials can be posted on the website, the peer-review process is transparent and timely and open access is often granted to readers.

Elsevier is taking the web-based platform offered opportunities to the next level by developing new prototypes that include all well-known components of scientific publications but with a substantially increased interactivity, functionality, and visual appeal. Currently they are showcasing 15 prototypes of the article of the future in different topic areas and readers are welcome to comment on these examples.

If interested, you can get more information at: http://www.articleofthefuture.com/about

Borsika Rabin
Staff Researcher/Research Coordinator
KPCO

Written by CCRC at 13:14

What does it mean to "scale-up" an innovation? Researchers use the term differently. Some apply the term to mean moving from a small effort to a larger effort, such as transitioning from a pilot version of a nurse navigator intervention in which 30 breast cancer survivors are proactively helped by a nurse, to full-scale intervention in which all of the same clinic's 300 breast cancer patients are now offered proactive nurse guidance. That's frequently called "going to scale". Other researchers use the same term when they describe a process of spread or diffusion, as in one clinic's nurse navigator intervention being communicated to (disseminated to) other clinics which then adopt the intervention. Is that process of replication (even with adaptations along the way) also one of scaling? Many times, "scaling-up" is used to mean a marshalling of resources (i.e., "ramping up") in anticipation of deployment and demand, as a corporation does in working its distribution chain for a new product launch. The question is complicated by the issue of generalizability. If we scale a pilot to a full intervention in one clinic, we almost certainly increase the variability of the people who experience the program. They may all still be cancer patients, but now we have older patients, younger patients, sicker patients, the newly diagnosed, Hispanics and Asians, a broader representation of people now interacting with the intervention. Some economists reserve the term "scale-up" to only mean extension of an intervention to greater numbers of similar people. In this way, variability does not increase (theoretically, to the economic mind) and the only variable at work is scale. That perspective is, in many cases, a good description of the diffusion of innovations, though in practice innovations very often spread to people & places where they were never purposively intended to go.

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC
KPCO

Written by CCRC at 13:15

We talk a lot about "getting inside the heads" of those people we want to change some behavior, and of not just "pushing" information at them but generating "pull" from them. But this is hard to do as any good marketing researcher knows. It's hard in part because it requires us -- highly educated academics who long have been told that we know a lot of impressive things -- to listen. And that's less about listening to what people think than it is listening to how people feel. That's what the art of consumer research is about. It's learning how to elicit and then recognize affect, how people feel. The very best job I've ever seen of listening and interpreting feelings was done by a consumer marketing research group led by Russell W. Belk at the University of Utah. Belk and his doctoral students studied how people feel about things, and not just any things, but those things -- those possessions -- that they value most of all. How did they do this? They outfitted an RV as a research vehicle and drove across the U.S. visiting flea markets and antique malls. They conducted interviews with everyday collectors about those things that they were hunting for. You know, that specific cobalt blue Roseville vase that they'd never found but gotten oh so close. People care deeply about certain things. Most things, we don't care much about. If you want to understand how to create pull from people you want to help or affect, read Belk's work (Possessions and the extended self, Journal of Consumer Research 15, 1988, pp. 139-168; The sacred and the profane in consumer behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey, Journal of Consumer Research 16, 1989, pp 1-38). Absolutely terrific research.

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC
KPCO

Written by CCRC at 13:15

Why can good, direct training of low-level healthcare and public health workers have such dramatic effects? I think it's because workers don't often get acknowledgement or attention for the importance of their work, so on those rare occasions when they're singled out and asked to help in improvement initatives, they take the responsibility very seriously. Two recent studies show how important low-level health workers can be when trained: (1) hospital birth attendants, selected purposively for being influential among their peers in 19 Argentina and Uruguay hospitals, produced dramatic improvements in use of evidence-based birthing practices (see Althabe et al, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine 358(18): 1929-1940). The behavioral intervention with the birth attendants was multifaceted but it centered on selecting the "right" attendants, simple training, and simple reminders. A second study just reported by the New York Times (May 9, 2011) is equally impressive. In this study (2) midwives from 18 Zambian clinics were taught a basic course in newborn care and encouraged to talk with their colleagues too. This pilot cost $20,244 and saved 97 lives. $208 per infant! Now that's worth the investment.

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC
KPCO

Written by CCRC at 13:16

What do new drug therapies for high-risk HIV-negative people, decision support tools for breast cancer survivors, counseling protocols on tobacco quitlines, flexible scheduling for achieving better work-family balance, classroom pedagogies in the sciences, community disease prevention programs, well child care, performance improvement strategies in healthcare organizations, substance abuse screening, and insecticide-embedded mosquito nets all have in common? Each of these topical areas has new evidence-based programs, protocols, and practices that warrant strategic dissemination to trigger diffusion! And we work in every one of these areas to help make that happen. Get involved with us to learn & apply these lessons to your topical area.

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC
KPCO

Written by CCRC at 13:16

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