The vision of the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences (PQHS) is the best health and well-being for all through science, community engagement, and education. Our mission is to advance science and improve population health. This collection showcases journal articles and other publications written by faculty and researchers of the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.


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Recently Published

  • Monitoring the Implementation of Tobacco Cessation Support Tools: Using Novel Electronic Health Record Activity Metrics

    Chen, Jinying; Cutrona, Sarah L; Dharod, Ajay; Bunch, Stephanie C; Foley, Kristie L; Ostasiewski, Brian; Hale, Erica R; Bridges, Aaron; Moses, Adam; Donny, Eric C; et al. (2023-03-02)
    Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) tools in electronic health records (EHRs) are often used as core strategies to support quality improvement programs in the clinical setting. Monitoring the impact (intended and unintended) of these tools is crucial for program evaluation and adaptation. Existing approaches for monitoring typically rely on health care providers' self-reports or direct observation of clinical workflows, which require substantial data collection efforts and are prone to reporting bias. Objective: This study aims to develop a novel monitoring method leveraging EHR activity data and demonstrate its use in monitoring the CDS tools implemented by a tobacco cessation program sponsored by the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I). Methods: We developed EHR-based metrics to monitor the implementation of two CDS tools: (1) a screening alert reminding clinic staff to complete the smoking assessment and (2) a support alert prompting health care providers to discuss support and treatment options, including referral to a cessation clinic. Using EHR activity data, we measured the completion (encounter-level alert completion rate) and burden (the number of times an alert was fired before completion and time spent handling the alert) of the CDS tools. We report metrics tracked for 12 months post implementation, comparing 7 cancer clinics (2 clinics implemented the screening alert and 5 implemented both alerts) within a C3I center, and identify areas to improve alert design and adoption. Results: The screening alert fired in 5121 encounters during the 12 months post implementation. The encounter-level alert completion rate (clinic staff acknowledged completion of screening in EHR: 0.55; clinic staff completed EHR documentation of screening results: 0.32) remained stable over time but varied considerably across clinics. The support alert fired in 1074 encounters during the 12 months. Providers acted upon (ie, not postponed) the support alert in 87.3% (n=938) of encounters, identified a patient ready to quit in 12% (n=129) of encounters, and ordered a referral to the cessation clinic in 2% (n=22) of encounters. With respect to alert burden, on average, both alerts fired over 2 times (screening alert: 2.7; support alert: 2.1) before completion; time spent postponing the screening alert was similar to completing (52 vs 53 seconds) the alert, and time spent postponing the support alert was more than completing (67 vs 50 seconds) the alert per encounter. These findings inform four areas where the alert design and use can be improved: (1) improving alert adoption and completion through local adaptation, (2) improving support alert efficacy by additional strategies including training in provider-patient communication, (3) improving the accuracy of tracking for alert completion, and (4) balancing alert efficacy with the burden. Conclusions: EHR activity metrics were able to monitor the success and burden of tobacco cessation alerts, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of potential trade-offs associated with alert implementation. These metrics can be used to guide implementation adaptation and are scalable across diverse settings.
  • Social Determinants, Blood Pressure Control, and Racial Inequities in Childbearing Age Women With Hypertension, 2001 to 2018

    Meyerovitz, Claire V; Juraschek, Stephen P; Ayturk, Didem; Moore Simas, Tiffany A; Person, Sharina D; Lemon, Stephenie C; McManus, David D; Kovell, Lara C (2023-02-27)
    Background Hypertension is an important modifiable risk factor of serious maternal morbidity and mortality. Social determinants of health (SDoH) influence hypertension outcomes and may contribute to racial and ethnic differences in hypertension control. Our objective was to assess SDoH and blood pressure (BP) control by race and ethnicity in US women of childbearing age with hypertension. Methods and Results We studied women (aged 20-50 years) with hypertension (systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥90 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive medication) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2001 to 2018. SDoH and BP control (systolic BP <140 mm Hg and diastolic BP <90 mm Hg) were examined by race and ethnicity (White race, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, and Asian race). Using multivariable logistic regression, odds of uncontrolled BP by race and ethnicity were modeled, adjusting for SDoH, health factors, and modifiable health behaviors. Responses on hunger and affording food determined food insecurity status. Across women of childbearing age with hypertension (N=1293), 59.2% were White race, 23.4% were Black race, 15.8% were Hispanic ethnicity, and 1.7% were Asian race. More Hispanic and Black women experienced food insecurity than White women (32% and 25% versus 13%; both P<0.001). After SDoH, health factor, and modifiable health behavior adjustment, Black women maintained higher odds of uncontrolled BP than White women (odds ratio, 2.31 [95% CI, 1.08-4.92]), whereas Asian and Hispanic women showed no difference. Conclusions We identified racial inequities in uncontrolled BP and food insecurity among women of childbearing age with hypertension. Further exploration beyond the SDoH measured is needed to understand the inequity in hypertension control in Black women.
  • Performance of Rapid Antigen Tests Based on Symptom Onset and Close Contact Exposure: A secondary analysis from the Test Us At Home prospective cohort study [preprint]

    Herbert, Carly; Wang, Biqi; Lin, Honghuang; Hafer, Nathaniel; Pretz, Caitlin; Stamegna, Pamela; Tarrant, Seanan; Hartin, Paul; Ferranto, Julia; Behar, Stephanie; et al. (2023-02-24)
    Background: The performance of rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Ag-RDT) in temporal relation to symptom onset or exposure is unknown, as is the impact of vaccination on this relationship. Objective: To evaluate the performance of Ag-RDT compared with RT-PCR based on day after symptom onset or exposure in order to decide on 'when to test'. Design setting and participants: The Test Us at Home study was a longitudinal cohort study that enrolled participants over 2 years old across the United States between October 18, 2021 and February 4, 2022. All participants were asked to conduct Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing every 48 hours over a 15-day period. Participants with one or more symptoms during the study period were included in the Day Post Symptom Onset (DPSO) analyses, while those who reported a COVID-19 exposure were included in the Day Post Exposure (DPE) analysis. Exposure: Participants were asked to self-report any symptoms or known exposures to SARS-CoV-2 every 48-hours, immediately prior to conducting Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing. The first day a participant reported one or more symptoms was termed DPSO 0, and the day of exposure was DPE 0. Vaccination status was self-reported. Main outcome and measures: Results of Ag-RDT were self-reported (positive, negative, or invalid) and RT-PCR results were analyzed by a central laboratory. Percent positivity of SARS-CoV-2 and sensitivity of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR by DPSO and DPE were stratified by vaccination status and calculated with 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 7,361 participants enrolled in the study. Among them, 2,086 (28.3%) and 546 (7.4%) participants were eligible for the DPSO and DPE analyses, respectively. Unvaccinated participants were nearly twice as likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than vaccinated participants in event of symptoms (PCR+: 27.6% vs 10.1%) or exposure (PCR+: 43.8% vs. 22.2%). The highest proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals tested positive on DPSO 2 and DPE 5-8. Performance of RT-PCR and Ag-RDT did not differ by vaccination status. Ag-RDT detected 78.0% (95% Confidence Interval: 72.56-82.61) of PCR-confirmed infections by DPSO 4. For exposed participants, Ag-RDT detected 84.9% (95% CI: 75.0-91.4) of PCR-confirmed infections by day five post-exposure (DPE 5). Conclusions and relevance: Performance of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR was highest on DPSO 0-2 and DPE 5 and did not differ by vaccination status. These data suggests that serial testing remains integral to enhancing the performance of Ag-RDT.
  • Infertility Services for Veterans Enrolled in Veterans Health Administration Care

    Kroll-Desrosiers, Aimee; Copeland, Laurel A; Mengeling, Michelle A; Mattocks, Kristin M (2023-02-21)
    Background: Infertility care is provided to Veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical benefits package and includes infertility evaluation and many infertility treatments. Objective: Our objective was to examine the incidence and prevalence of infertility diagnoses and the receipt of infertility healthcare among Veterans using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) healthcare from 2018 to 2020. Methods: Veterans using the VHA and diagnosed with infertility during October 2017-September 2020 (FY18-20) were identified in VHA administrative data and through VA-purchased care (i.e., community care) claims. Infertility was categorized among men as azoospermia, oligospermia, and other and unspecified male infertility, and among women as anovulation, infertility of tubal origin, infertility of uterine origin, and other and unspecified female infertility using diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10, CPT). Key results: A total of 17,216 Veterans had at least one VHA infertility diagnosis in FY18, FY19, or FY20, including 8766 male Veterans and 8450 female Veterans. Incident diagnoses of infertility were observed in 7192 male Veterans (10.8/10,000 person (p)-years) and 5563 female Veterans (93.6/10,000 p-years). A large proportion of Veterans who were diagnosed with infertility received an infertility-related procedure in the year of their incident diagnosis (males: 74.7, 75.3, 65.0%, FY18-20 respectively; females: 80.9, 80.8, 72.9%, FY18-20 respectively). Conclusions: In comparison to a recent study of active duty servicemembers, we found a lower rate of infertility among Veteran men and a higher rate among Veteran women. Further work is needed to investigate military exposures and circumstances that may lead to infertility. Given the rates of infertility among Veterans and active duty servicemembers, enhancing communications between Department of Defense and VHA systems regarding sources of and treatment for infertility is essential to help more men and women benefit from infertility care during military service or as Veterans.
  • Changes in Stage at Presentation among Lung and Breast Cancer Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Mallouh, Michael; Linshaw, David; Barton, Bruce; De La Cruz, Gabriel; Dinh, Kate; LaFemina, Jennifer; Vijayaraghavan, Gopal; Larkin, Anne; Whalen, Giles (2023-02-17)
    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic altered access to healthcare by decreasing number of patients able to receive preventative care and cancer screening. We hypothesized that given these changes in access to care, radiologic screening for breast and lung cancer would be decreased, and patients with these cancers would consequently present at later stages of their disease. Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study of 2017-September 2021 UMass Memorial Tumor Registry for adult breast and lung cancer patients. Changes in stage at presentation of breast and lung cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic were measured, defined as prior to and during COVID-19. Results: There were no statistically significant changes in the overall stage of presentation before or during the COVID-19 pandemic for either breast or lung cancer patients. Analysis of case presentation and stage during periods of COVID-19 surges that occurred over the time of this study compared to pre-pandemic data demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in overall presentation of breast cancer patients in the first surge, with no other statistically significant changes in breast cancer presentation. A non-statistically significant decrease in lung cancer presentations was seen during the initial surge of COVID-19. There was also a statistically significant increase in early-stage presentation of lung cancer during the second and third COVID-19 surges. Conclusions: In the two years after the COVID-19 pandemic we were not able to demonstrate stage migration at presentation of breast and lung cancer patients to later stages despite decreases in overall presentation during the initial two years of the COVID pandemic. An increase in early-stage lung cancer during the second and third surges is interesting and could be related to increased chest imaging for COVID pneumonia.
  • Serologic Screening for Genital Herpes Infection: US Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement

    Mangione, Carol M; Barry, Michael J; Nicholson, Wanda K; Cabana, Michael; Chelmow, David; Coker, Tumaini Rucker; Davis, Esa M; Donahue, Katrina E; Jaén, Carlos Roberto; Kubik, Martha; et al. (2023-02-14)
    Importance: Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by 2 related viruses, herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). Infection is lifelong; currently, there is no cure for HSV infection. Antiviral medications may provide clinical benefits to symptomatic persons. Transmission of HSV from a pregnant person to their infant can occur, most commonly during delivery; when genital lesions or prodromal symptoms are present, cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of transmission. Neonatal herpes infection is uncommon yet can result in substantial morbidity and mortality. Objective: To reaffirm its 2016 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a reaffirmation evidence update on targeted key questions to systematically evaluate the evidence on accuracy, benefits, and harms of routine serologic screening for HSV-2 infection in asymptomatic adolescents, adults, and pregnant persons. Population: Adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons, without known history, signs, or symptoms of genital HSV infection. Evidence assessment: The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the harms outweigh the benefits for population-based screening for genital HSV infection in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons. Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends against routine serologic screening for genital HSV infection in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons. (D recommendation).
  • Psychosocial challenges and coping strategies among people with minority gender and sexual identities in Zambia: health promotion and human rights implications

    Mulavu, Mataanana; Anitha Menon, J.; Mulubwa, Chama; Matenga, Tulani Francis L.; Nguyen, Hoa; MacDonell, Karen; Wang, Bo; Mweemba, Oliver (2023-02-06)
    Background: Sexual and gender minorities face high levels of stigma, discrimination, and violence. In many countries, they are often criminalized and are at risk of mental health challenges. In Zambia, little is known about the psychosocial challenges and coping strategies of sexual and gender minorities. This study sought to explore psychosocial challenges and coping strategies among sexual and gender minority populations in Lusaka, Zambia to inform mental health and human rights promotion for this population. Methods: The study used a qualitative phenomenological study design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 16 sexual and gender minority participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and four key informants. The sexual minorities included four lesbian, five gay, and three bisexual participants while the gender minorities included two transgender men and two transgender women. Interviews with gender and sexual minorities were mostly focused on the lived experiences of participants, while those of key informants focused on their work with sexual and gender minorities. Snowball strategy was used to recruit participants, while purposive sampling was used to select key informants. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was carried out with the aid of Nvivo 12 software. Results: Psychosocial challenges included victimization in the form of threats and physical assault. Stigma and discrimination were experienced in different settings such as healthcare, the workplace, and school. Participants reported having experienced feelings of depression. Rejection from family members was experienced by those who revealed their sexual or gender minority status. Reported coping strategies included social support, self-concealment, listening to music, and substance use. Conclusion: This study suggests that sexual and gender minorities in Zambia experience various psychosocial challenges related to their sexuality and gender identity. To assist them cope better with the obstacles they experience, improved psychosocial counseling and mental health services are needed.
  • Design of a multicenter randomized clinical trial for treatment of Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis

    Tu, Wanzhu; Gawrieh, Samer; Dasarathy, Srinivasan; Mitchell, Mack C; Simonetto, Douglas A; Patidar, Kavish R; McClain, Craig J; Bataller, Ramon; Szabo, Gyongyi; Tang, Qing; et al. (2023-01-18)
    Background: Mortality is high for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH). Corticosteroids are the standard of care for patients without contraindications. Recent data showed that interleukin-1β receptor antagonist anakinra attenuated inflammation and liver damage. We designed a multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of anakinra compared to prednisone. Methods: Patients meeting the clinical and biochemical criteria for severe AH with MELD scores between 20 and 35 were recruited at eight clinical sites. Eligible patients enrolled in the study were randomized to anakinra, 100 mg subcutaneous injection for 14 days, plus zinc sulfate 220 mg for 90 days, vs. prednisone 40 mg PO daily for 30 days. Matching placebos for anakinra, zinc, and prednisone were provided to mask the treatment. Participants were followed for 180 days. The primary outcome was overall survival at 90 days. An unadjusted log-rank test was used to compare the survival of the two treatments in the first 90 days. Between July 10, 2020, and March 4, 2022, we screened 1082 patients with severe AH, and 147 eligible patients were enrolled and randomized. The average baseline MELD score was 25 [range 20-35], Maddrey discriminant function (MDF) was 59.4 [range 20.2-197.5]. The mean aspartate transaminase (AST)-to-alanine transaminase (ALT) ratio was 3.5. The baseline characteristics were not statistically different between the two treatment groups. Conclusions: The study provided a direct comparison of the survival benefits and safety profiles of anakinra plus zinc vs. prednisone in patients with severe AH.
  • Sustainment of diverse evidence-informed practices disseminated in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA): initial development and piloting of a pragmatic survey tool

    Reardon, Caitlin M; Damschroder, Laura; Opra Widerquist, Marilla A; Arasim, Maria; Jackson, George L; White, Brandolyn; Cutrona, Sarah L; Fix, Gemmae M; Gifford, Allen L; DeLaughter, Kathryn; et al. (2023-01-16)
    Background: There are challenges associated with measuring sustainment of evidence-informed practices (EIPs). First, the terms sustainability and sustainment are often falsely conflated: sustainability assesses the likelihood of an EIP being in use in the future while sustainment assesses the extent to which an EIP is (or is not) in use. Second, grant funding often ends before sustainment can be assessed. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Diffusion of Excellence (DoE) program is one of few large-scale models of diffusion; it seeks to identify and disseminate practices across the VHA system. The DoE sponsors "Shark Tank" competitions, in which leaders bid on the opportunity to implement a practice with approximately 6 months of implementation support. As part of an ongoing evaluation of the DoE, we sought to develop and pilot a pragmatic survey tool to assess sustainment of DoE practices. Methods: In June 2020, surveys were sent to 64 facilities that were part of the DoE evaluation. We began analysis by comparing alignment of quantitative and qualitative responses; some facility representatives reported in the open-text box of the survey that their practice was on a temporary hold due to COVID-19 but answered the primary outcome question differently. As a result, the team reclassified the primary outcome of these facilities to Sustained: Temporary COVID-Hold. Following this reclassification, the number and percent of facilities in each category was calculated. We used directed content analysis, guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), to analyze open-text box responses. Results: A representative from forty-one facilities (64%) completed the survey. Among responding facilities, 29/41 sustained their practice, 1/41 partially sustained their practice, 8/41 had not sustained their practice, and 3/41 had never implemented their practice. Sustainment rates increased between Cohorts 1-4. Conclusions: The initial development and piloting of our pragmatic survey allowed us to assess sustainment of DoE practices. Planned updates to the survey will enable flexibility in assessing sustainment and its determinants at any phase after adoption. This assessment approach can flex with the longitudinal and dynamic nature of sustainment, including capturing nuances in outcomes when practices are on a temporary hold. If additional piloting illustrates the survey is useful, we plan to assess the reliability and validity of this measure for broader use in the field.
  • A quantitative and qualitative examination of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. veterans with self-reported anxiety and alcohol use disorder

    Duarte, Brooke A; Kelly, Megan M; Shirk, Steven D; Chamberlin, Elizabeth S; Reilly, Erin D (2023-01-16)
    Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic generated concerns about rising stress and alcohol use, especially in U.S. veterans who experience high rates of anxiety disorders (ADs), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and dual AD+AUD diagnoses. This study investigated differences among these diagnostic groups in a veteran population related to their concern about COVID-19, impacts of COVID-19 on quality of life, and self-reported changes to urge to drink and drinking frequency. Methods: A nationally administered online survey was given to a sample of U.S. veterans reporting substance use issues during the pandemic. Differences in the level of concern about COVID-19, impacts of COVID-19 on quality of life, and drinking behaviors were examined in those self-reporting AD (n = 98), AUD (n = 46), or AD+AUD (n = 67). Consensual qualitative research was used to analyze an open-ended question about COVID-19's impact on substance use, health, and quality of life. Results: Veterans with AD+AUD experienced significant increases in urge to drink and alcohol consumption compared to veterans with AD only. Greater urge and frequency of drinking were associated with greater negative impacts of COVID-19 on quality of life. There were no differences among groups in global negative impact on quality of life or level of COVID-19 concern. However, respondents described specific COVID-19 worries, with qualitative findings revealing that those with AD+AUD reported a disproportionate psychosocial burden due to the pandemic. Discussion: Special attention in screening and treatment should be given to those with a dual AD+AUD diagnosis who may be experiencing both an increase in alcohol use and psychosocial burden as stress increases due to the pandemic.
  • Facilitators and barriers to collaboration between drug courts and community-based medication for opioid use disorder providers

    Pivovarova, Ekaterina; Taxman, Faye S; Boland, Alexandra K; Smelson, David A; Lemon, Stephenie C; Friedmann, Peter D (2023-01-13)
    Introduction: Access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is limited for individuals in drug courts - programs that leverage sanctions for mandatory substance use treatment. Drug courts rely on community agencies to provide MOUD. However, relationships with MOUD agencies, which impact access to treatment, are understudied. We examined barriers and facilitators from drug court staffs' perspectives to understand how to enhance collaborations with MOUD providers. Methods: Drug court staff (n = 21) from seven courts participated in semi-structured interviews about their experience in collaborating with MOUD providers. Interviews were informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Inductive (theory-based) and deductive (ground-up) approaches were used for analyses. Results: Facilitator and barrier themes centered around the needs and resources of drug court participants, external policies such MOUD access in jails, networking with external agencies, and beliefs about MOUD providers. Drug court staff preferred working with agencies that offered MOUD alongside comprehensive services. Drug courts benefited when jails offered MOUD in-house and facilitated community referrals. Existing relationships with providers and responsive communication eased referrals and served to educate the courts about MOUD. Barriers included logistical limitations (limited hours, few methadone providers) and inadequate communication patterns between providers and drug court staff. A lack of confidence in providers' prescribing practices and concerns around perceived overmedication of participants impacted referrals, interagency collaboration, and further burdened the participants. Conclusions: Collaboration between drug courts and MOUD providers was driven by patient needs, external policies, communication patterns, and perceptions. Interventions to increase access MOUD for drug court participants will need to incorporate collaboration strategies while considering the unique features of drug courts.
  • Effect of a Machine Learning Recommender System and Viral Peer Marketing Intervention on Smoking Cessation: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Faro, Jamie M; Chen, Jinying; Flahive, Julie; Nagawa, Catherine S; Orvek, Elizabeth A; Houston, Thomas K; Allison, Jeroan J; Person, Sharina D; Smith, Bridget M; Blok, Amanda C; et al. (2023-01-03)
    Importance: Novel data science and marketing methods of smoking-cessation intervention have not been adequately evaluated. Objective: To compare machine learning recommender (ML recommender) computer tailoring of motivational text messages vs a standard motivational text-based intervention (standard messaging) and a viral peer-recruitment tool kit (viral tool kit) for recruiting friends and family vs no tool kit in a smoking-cessation intervention. Design, setting, and participants: This 2 ×2 factorial randomized clinical trial with partial allocation, conducted between July 2017 and September 2019 within an online tobacco intervention, recruited current smokers aged 18 years and older who spoke English from the US via the internet and peer referral. Data were analyzed from March through May 2022. Interventions: Participants registering for the online intervention were randomly assigned to the ML recommender or standard messaging groups followed by partially random allocation to access to viral tool kit or no viral tool kit groups. The ML recommender provided ongoing refinement of message selection based on user feedback and comparison with a growing database of other users, while the standard system selected messages based on participant baseline readiness to quit. Main outcomes and measures: Our primary outcome was self-reported 7-day point prevalence smoking cessation at 6 months. Results: Of 1487 participants who smoked (444 aged 19-34 years [29.9%], 508 aged 35-54 years [34.1%], 535 aged ≥55 years [36.0%]; 1101 [74.0%] females; 189 Black [12.7%] and 1101 White [78.5%]; 106 Hispanic [7.1%]), 741 individuals were randomly assigned to the ML recommender group and 746 individuals to the standard messaging group; viral tool kit access was provided to 745 participants, and 742 participants received no such access. There was no significant difference in 6-month smoking cessation between ML recommender (146 of 412 participants [35.4%] with outcome data) and standard messaging (156 of 389 participants [40.1%] with outcome data) groups (adjusted odds ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.61-1.08). Smoking cessation was significantly higher in viral tool kit (177 of 395 participants [44.8%] with outcome data) vs no viral tool kit (125 of 406 participants [30.8%] with outcome data) groups (adjusted odds ratio, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.11-1.98). Conclusions and relevance: In this study, machine learning-based selection did not improve performance compared with standard message selection, while viral marketing did improve cessation outcomes. These results suggest that in addition to increasing dissemination, viral recruitment may have important implications for improving effectiveness of smoking-cessation interventions. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03224520.
  • Video-based communication assessment for weight management counseling training in medical residents: a mixed methods study

    Faro, Jamie M; D'Addario, Angelo; King, Ann M; Mazor, Kathleen M; Pbert, Lori; Sadasivam, Rajani S; Geller, Alan C; Murphy, Elizabeth A; Ockene, Judith K (2022-12-28)
    Background: Physician delivered weight management counseling (WMC) occurs infrequently and physicians report lack of training and poor self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to develop and test the Video-based Communication Assessment (VCA) for weight management counseling (WMC) training in medical residents. Methods: This study was a mixed methods pilot conducted in 3 phases. First, we created five vignettes based on our prior data and expert feedback, then administered the vignettes via the VCA to Internal Medicine categorical residents (n = 16) from a University Medical School. Analog patients rated responses and also provided comments. We created individualized feedback reports which residents were able to view on the VCA. Lastly, we conducted debriefing interviews with the residents (n = 11) to obtain their feedback on the vignettes and personalized feedback. Interviews were transcribed, and we used thematic analysis to generate and apply codes, followed by identifying themes. Results: Descriptive statistics were calculated and learning points were created for the individualized feedback reports. In VCA debriefing interviews with residents, five themes emerged: 1) Overall the VCA was easy to use, helpful and more engaging than traditional learning and assessment modes, 2) Patient scenarios were similar to those encountered in the clinic, including diversity, health literacy and different stages of change, 3) The knowledge, skills, and reminders from the VCA can be transferred to practice, 4) Feedback reports were helpful, to the point and informative, including the exemplar response of how to best respond to the scenario, and 5) The VCA provide alternatives and practice scenarios to real-life patient situations when they aren't always accessible. Conclusions: We demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the VCA, a technology delivered platform, for delivering WMC to residents. The VCA exposed residents to diverse patient experiences and provided potential opportunities to tailor providers responses to sociological and cultural factors in WMC scenarios. Future work will examine the effect of the VCA on WMC in actual clinical practice.
  • Comanagement with rheumatology and prescription biologics filled during pregnancy in women with rheumatic diseases: a retrospective analysis of US administrative claims data

    Shridharmurthy, Divya; Lapane, Kate L; Baek, Jonggyu; Nunes, Anthony; Kay, Jonathan; Liu, Shao-Hsien (2022-12-22)
    Objectives: To evaluate comanagement with rheumatology and biological prescriptions filled during pregnancy among women with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and to examine factors associated with receiving comanagement with rheumatology during pregnancy. Design: A retrospective analysis of US claims data. Setting: Commercially insured enrollees using data from the 2013-2018 IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database. Participants: We identified 4131 pregnant women aged ≤55 years from the 2013-2018 IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database with an International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision/10th Revision codes for RA, axSpA or PsA, with continuous enrolment at ≥3 months before the date of the last menstrual period (LMP) (index date) and throughout pregnancy. Primary outcomes: Filled biologics (prescriptions and infusions) claims were categorised by 90 days before the LMP and trimester, as were primary care, obstetrician and rheumatological claims. Results: The prevalence of axSpA, RA and PsA was 0.7%, 0.2% and 0.04% among reproductive age women. The average maternal age was 32.7 years (SD 5.7). During pregnancy, 9.1% of those with axSpA (n=2,410) and 56.4% of those with RA/PsA (n=1,721) had a rheumatological claim. Biologics claims were less common among those with axSpA (90 days before LMP: 1.6%, during pregnancy: 1.1%) than those with RA/PsA (90 days before LMP: 11.9%, during pregnancy: 6.9%). Medications during pregnancy included corticosteroids (axSpA: 0.3%, RA/PsA: 2.2%), non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (axSpA: 0.2%, RA/PsA: 1.7%), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (axSpA: 0.2%, RA/PsA: 1.3%) and opioids (axSpA: 0.2%, RA/PsA: 0.6%). Established rheumatological care and biologics claims during the 90 days before LMP showed good prediction accuracy for receiving comanagement with rheumatology during pregnancy (axSpA: area under the receiver operator curve (AUC) 0.73, RA/PsA: AUC 0.70). Conclusion: Comanagement with rheumatology during pregnancy occurs infrequently, especially for women with axSpA. Biologics claims during pregnancy may not align with published guidelines. Future research is warranted to improve comanagement with rheumatology during pregnancy.
  • US clinicians' perspectives on advance care planning for persons with dementia: A qualitative study

    Tjia, Jennifer; D'Arcangelo, Noah; Carlston, Daniel; Bronzi, Olivia; Gazarian, Priscilla; Reich, Amanda; Porteny, Thalia; Gonzales, Kristina; Perez, Stephen; Weissman, Joel S; et al. (2022-12-22)
    Background: Although advance care planning (ACP) for persons with dementia (PWD) can promote patient-centered care by aligning future healthcare with patient values, few PWD have documented ACPs for reasons incompletely understood. The objective of this paper is to characterize the perceived value of, barriers to, and successful strategies for completing ACP for PWD as reported by frontline clinicians. Methods: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews (August 2018-December 2019) with clinicians (physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers) at 11 US health systems. Interviews asked clinicians about their approaches to ACP with PWDs, including how ACP was initiated, what was discussed, how carepartners were involved, how decision-making was approached, and how decision-making capacity was assessed. Results: Of 75 participating generalist and specialty clinicians from across the United States, 61% reported conducting ACP with PWD, of whom 19% conducted ACP as early as possible with PWD. Three themes emerged: value of early ACP preserves PWD's autonomy in cases of differing PWD carepartner values, acute medical crises, and clinician paternalism; barriers to ACP with PWD including the dynamic and subjective assessment of patient decision-making capacity, inconsistent awareness of cognitive impairment by clinicians, and the need to balance patient and family carepartner involvement; and strategies to support ACP include clarifying clinicians' roles in ACP, standardizing clinicians' approach to PWD and their carepartners, and making time for ACP and decision-making assessments that allow PWD and carepartner involvement regardless of the patients' capacity. Conclusions: Clinicians found early ACP for PWD valuable in promoting patient-centered care among an at-risk population. In sharing their perspectives on conducting ACP for PWD, clinicians described challenges that are amenable to changes in training, workflow, and material support for clinician time. Clinical practices need sustainable scheduling and financial support models.
  • Discrimination and Sleep: Differential Effects by Type and Coping Strategy

    Majeno, Angelina; Molina, Kristine M; Frisard, Christine F; Lemon, Stephenie C; Rosal, Milagros C (2022-12-19)
    Background: Discrimination has been posited as a contributor of sleep disparities for Latinxs. The strategy used to cope with discrimination may reduce or exacerbate its effects on sleep. This study examined whether different types of discrimination (everyday and major lifetime discrimination) were associated with sleep indices (quality, disturbances, efficiency) and whether coping strategy used moderated associations. Method: Data of Latinx adults (N = 602; 51% women, 65% Dominican, Mage = 46.72 years) come from the Latino Health and Well-being Project, a community-based, cross-sectional study of Latinxs in Lawrence, MA. Multiple linear regressions were estimated separately for each sleep outcome. Results: Everyday discrimination was significantly associated with poorer sleep quality and greater disturbances; major lifetime discrimination was significantly associated with worse sleep across the three sleep indices. Coping strategy moderated associations between discrimination and sleep. Compared with Latinxs who used passive coping, those who used passive-active coping strategies had poorer sleep quality the more they experienced everyday discrimination. Latinxs who used any active coping strategy, compared with passive coping, had greater sleep disturbances the more frequently they experienced major lifetime discrimination. Conclusions: Findings show that everyday discrimination and major lifetime discrimination are associated with different dimensions of sleep and suggest that coping with discrimination may require the use of different strategies depending on the type of discrimination experienced.
  • Pre-implementation formative evaluation of cooperative pain education and self-management expanding treatment for real-world access: A pragmatic pain trial

    Mattocks, Kristin M; LaChappelle, Kathryn M; Krein, Sarah L; DeBar, Lynn L; Martino, Steve; Edmond, Sara; Ankawi, Brett; MacLean, R Ross; Higgins, Diana M; Murphy, Jennifer L; et al. (2022-12-16)
    Objective: Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP) is an evidence-based treatment for improving functioning and pain intensity for people with chronic pain with extensive evidence of effectiveness. However, there has been relatively little investigation of the factors associated with successful implementation and uptake of CBT-CP, particularly clinician and system level factors. This formative evaluation examined barriers and facilitators to the successful implementation and uptake of CBT-CP from the perspective of CBT-CP clinicians and referring primary care clinicians. Methods: Qualitative interviews guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research were conducted at nine geographically diverse Veterans Affairs sites as part of a pragmatic clinical trial comparing synchronous, clinician-delivered CBT-CP and remotely delivered, technology-assisted CBT-CP. Analysis was informed by a grounded theory approach. Results: Twenty-six clinicians (CBT-CP clinicians = 17, primary care clinicians = 9) from nine VA medical centers participated in individual qualitative interviews conducted by telephone from April 2019 to August 2020. Four themes emerged in the qualitative interviews: (1) the complexity and variability of referral pathways across sites, (2) referring clinician's lack of knowledge about CBT-CP, (3) referring clinician's difficulty identifying suitable candidates for CBT-CP, and (4) preference for interventions that can be completed from home. Conclusions: This formative evaluation identified clinician and system barriers to widespread implementation of CBT-CP and allowed for refinement of the subsequent implementation of two forms of CBT-CP in an ongoing pragmatic trial. Identification of relative difference in barriers and facilitators in the two forms of CBT-CP may emerge more clearly in a pragmatic trial that evaluates how treatments perform in real-world settings and may provide important information to guide future system-wide implementation efforts.
  • Association between dietary inflammatory potential and mortality after cancer diagnosis in the Women's Health Initiative

    Zheng, Jiali; Tabung, Fred K; Zhang, Jiajia; Caan, Bette; Hebert, James R; Kroenke, Candyce H; Ockene, Judith; Shivappa, Nitin; Steck, Susan E (2022-12-08)
    Background: Chronic inflammation is implicated in cancer prognosis and can be modulated by diet. We examined associations between post-diagnosis dietary inflammatory potential and mortality outcomes among post-menopausal women diagnosed with cancer in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). Methods: Energy-adjusted dietary inflammatory index scores (E-DII) were calculated from dietary and supplemental intake data collected on the first food frequency questionnaire following the diagnosis of primary invasive cancer for 3434 women in the WHI. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of death from any cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other causes by post-diagnosis quartiles of E-DII. Subgroup analyses by cancer stage and grade were performed. Results: There were 1156 deaths after a median 13 years of follow-up from the date of a cancer diagnosis. In the multivariable-adjusted analyses, a more anti-inflammatory diet plus supplements after cancer diagnosis was associated with lower all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, CVD mortality and mortality from other causes with HRsQ1vs.Q4 ranging from 0.47 to 0.68 (all P-trends < 0.05). Associations were stronger for cancers diagnosed at more distant stages or moderately differentiated grades. Conclusion: A more anti-inflammatory diet plus supplements after a cancer diagnosis may improve survival for post-menopausal cancer survivors.
  • Sample average treatment effect on the treated analysis using counterfactual explanation identifies BMT and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination as protective risk factors associated with COVID-19 severity and survival in patients with multiple myeloma [preprint]

    Mitra, Amit Kumar; Mukherjee, Ujjal Kumar; Mazumder, Suman; Madhira, Vithal; Bergquist, Timothy; Shao, Yu Raymond; Liu, Feifan; Song, Qianqian; Su, Jing; Kumar, Shaji; et al. (2022-12-08)
    Patients with multiple myeloma (MM), an age-dependent neoplasm of antibody-producing plasma cells, have compromised immune systems and might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. This study characterizes risk factors associated with clinical indicators of COVID-19 severity and all-cause mortality in myeloma patients utilizing NCATS’ National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) database. The N3C consortium is a large, centralized data resource representing the largest multi-center cohort of COVID-19 cases and controls nationwide (>16 million total patients, and >6 million confirmed COVID-19+ cases to date). Our cohort included myeloma patients (both inpatients and outpatients) within the N3C consortium who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 based on positive PCR or antigen tests or ICD-10-CM diagnosis code. The outcomes of interest include all-cause mortality (including discharge to hospice) during the index encounter and clinical indicators of severity (i.e., hospitalization/emergency department/ED visit, use of mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)). Finally, causal inference analysis was performed using the propensity score matching (PSM) method. As of 05/16/2022, the N3C consortium included 1,061,748 cancer patients, out of which 26,064 were MM patients (8,588 were COVID-19 positive). The mean age at COVID-19 diagnosis was 65.89 years, 46.8% were females, and 20.2% were of black race. 4.47% of patients died within 30 days of COVID-19 hospitalization. Overall, the survival probability was 90.7% across the course of the study. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed histories of pulmonary and renal disease, dexamethasone, proteasome inhibitor/PI, immunomodulatory/IMiD therapies, and severe Charlson Comorbidity Index/CCI were significantly associated with higher risks of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Protective associations were observed with blood-or-marrow transplant/BMT and COVID-19 vaccination. Further, multivariate cox proportional hazard analysis showed that high and moderate CCI levels, International Staging System (ISS) moderate or severe stage, and PI therapy were associated with worse survival, while BMT and COVID-19 vaccination were associated with lower risk of death. Finally, matched sample average treatment effect on the treated (SATT) confirmed the causal effect of BMT and vaccination status as top protective factors associated with COVID-19 risk among US patients suffering from multiple myeloma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest nationwide study on myeloma patients with COVID-19.
  • The Healthy Kids & Families study: Outcomes of a 24-month childhood obesity prevention intervention

    Rosal, Milagros C; Lemon, Stephenie C; Borg, Amy; Lopez-Cepero, Andrea; Sreedhara, Meera; Silfee, Valerie; Pbert, Lori; Kane, Kevin; Li, Wenjun (2022-12-07)
    Socioeconomically disadvantaged children experience a high burden of obesity but few interventions address obesity prevention in this population subgroup. The Healthy Kids & Families study tested the effect of a parent-focused community health worker (CHW)-delivered lifestyle intervention to prevent childhood obesity. Participants were child-parent/guardian (Kindergarten to 6th grade at baseline) dyads (n = 247) recruited through schools located in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Worcester, MA, USA. Using a quasi-experimental design, the study tested the impact of Healthy Kids & Families, a theory-based, low-intensity, parent-focused, CHW-delivered intervention to improve children's weight, healthy eating and physical activity. The attention-control comparison condition was a positive parenting intervention. The primary outcome was change in child body mass index (BMI) z-score at 24 months. Secondary outcomes included number of positive child and parent changes in selected diet and physical activity behaviors targeted by the intervention and change in parent BMI. Outcomes were assessed following the intent-to-treat principle and using multivariable generalized linear mixed models. Compared to the attention-control comparison condition, the Healthy Kids & Families intervention led to a greater reduction in children's BMI z-score (β = -0.17, 95 %CI: -1.92 to -0.36; p = 0.057) and a greater number of positive behavior changes among children (β = 0.57, 95 %CI: 0.08-1.06; p = 0.02) at 24 months. There was no significant change in parent outcomes. The Healthy Kids & Families intervention shows promise for obesity prevention among children in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.

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