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

  • Association of spatial proximity to fixed-site syringe services programs with HCV serostatus and injection equipment sharing practices among people who inject drugs in rural New England, United States

    Romo, Eric; Stopka, Thomas J; Jesdale, Bill M; Wang, Bo; Mazor, Kathleen M; Friedmann, Peter D (2024-01-28)
    Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) disproportionately affects rural communities, where health services are geographically dispersed. It remains unknown whether proximity to a syringe services program (SSP) is associated with HCV infection among rural people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods: Data are from a cross-sectional sample of adults who reported injecting drugs in the past 30 days recruited from rural counties in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts (2018-2019). We calculated the road network distance between each participant's address and the nearest fixed-site SSP, categorized as ≤ 1 mile, 1-3 miles, 3-10 miles, and > 10 miles. Staff performed HCV antibody tests and a survey assessed past 30-day injection equipment sharing practices: borrowing used syringes, borrowing other used injection equipment, and backloading. Mixed effects modified Poisson regression estimated prevalence ratios (aPR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Analyses were also stratified by means of transportation. Results: Among 330 PWID, 25% lived ≤ 1 mile of the nearest SSP, 17% lived 1-3 miles of an SSP, 12% lived 3-10 miles of an SSP, and 46% lived > 10 miles from an SSP. In multivariable models, compared to PWID who lived within 1 mile of an SSP, those who lived 3 to 10 miles away had a higher prevalence of HCV seropositivity (aPR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.06-1.46), borrowing other used injection equipment (aPR: 1.23, 95% CI 1.04-1.46), and backloading (aPR: 1.48, 95% CI 1.17-1.88). Similar results were observed for PWID living > 10 miles from an SSP: aPR [HCV]: 1.19, 95% CI 1.01-1.40; aPR [borrowing other used equipment]:1.45, 95% CI 1.29-1.63; and aPR [backloading]: 1.59, 95% CI 1.13-2.24. Associations between living 1 to 3 miles of an SSP and each outcome did not reach statistical significance. When stratified by means of transportation, associations between distance to SSP and each outcome (except borrowing other used injection equipment) were only observed among PWID who traveled by other means (versus traveled by automobile). Conclusions: Among PWID in rural New England, living farther from a fixed-site SSP was associated with a higher prevalence of HCV seropositivity, borrowing other used injection equipment, and backloading, reinforcing the need to increase SSP accessibility in rural areas. Means of transportation may modify this relationship.
  • Strengthening Quality Measurement to Predict Success for Total Knee Arthroplasty: Results from a Nationally Representative Total Knee Arthroplasty Cohort

    Zheng, Hua; Ash, Arlene S.; Yang, Wenyun; Liu, Shao-Hsien; Allison, Jeroan J.; Ayers, David C (2024-01-25)
    Background: When performed well on appropriate patients, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) can dramatically improve quality of life. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are increasingly used to measure outcome following TKA. Accurate prediction of improvement in PROMs after TKA potentially plays an important role in judging the surgical quality of the health-care institutions as well as informing preoperative shared decision-making. Starting in 2027, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mandating PROM reporting to assess the quality of TKAs. Methods: Using data from a national cohort of patients undergoing primary unilateral TKA, we developed an original model that closely followed a CMS-proposed measure to predict success, defined as achieving substantial clinical benefit, specifically at least a 20-point improvement on the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Joint Arthroplasty (KOOS, JR) at 1 year, and an enhanced model with just 1 additional predictor: the baseline KOOS, JR. We evaluated each model's performance using the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) and the ratio of observed to expected (model-predicted) outcomes (O:E ratio). Results: We studied 5,958 patients with a mean age of 67 years; 63% were women, 93% were White, and 87% were overweight or obese. Adding the baseline KOOS, JR improved the AUC from 0.58 to 0.73. Ninety-four percent of those in the top decile of predicted probability of success under the enhanced model achieved success, compared with 34% in its bottom decile. Analogous numbers for the original model were less discriminating: 77% compared with 57%. Only the enhanced model predicted success accurately across the spectrum of baseline scores. The findings were virtually identical when we replicated these analyses on only patients ≥65 years of age. Conclusions: Adding a baseline knee-specific PROM score to a quality measurement model in a nationally representative cohort dramatically improved its predictive power, eliminating ceiling and floor effects and mispredictions for readily identifiable patient subgroups. The enhanced model neither favors nor discourages care for those with greater knee dysfunction and requires no new data collection. Level of evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
  • Microaggressions and resiliency during residency: creating more inclusive environments based on a true experience during residency

    Biggers, Alana; Binder, Ashley; Gerber, Ben S (2024-01-25)
    Microaggressions are ubiquitous in residency programs. Microaggressions are “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” Though race/ethnicity is often considered the target of microaggressions, they can also be aimed at a person’s gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other marginalized status. All microaggressions are particularly harmful in medicine and can interfere with patient care and the professional interactions and development of resident physicians.
  • Understanding the role of childhood nurture, abuse, and stability on gestational diabetes in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study (CARDIA)

    Stanhope, Kaitlyn K; Gunderson, Erica P; Suglia, Shakira F; Boulet, Sheree L; Jamieson, Denise J; Kiefe, Catarina I; Kershaw, Kiarri N (2024-01-23)
    Background: To estimate associations between facets of the maternal childhood family environment with gestational diabetes (GDM) and to test mediation by pre-pregnancy waist circumference. Methods: We used data from CARDIA, a cohort of individuals aged 18-30 years at baseline (1985-86), followed over 30 years (2016). We included participants with one or more pregnancies ≥ 20 weeks after baseline, without pre-pregnancy diabetes. The primary exposure was the Childhood Family Environment Scale (assessed year 15), including the total score and abuse, nurture, and stability subscales as continuous, separate exposures. The outcome was GDM (self-reported at each visit for each pregnancy). We fit log binomial models with generalized estimating equations to calculate risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for age at delivery, parity, race (Black or White), and parental education. We used regression models with bootstrapped CIs to test mediation and effect modification by excess abdominal adiposity at the last preconception CARDIA visit (waist circumference ≥ 88 cm). Results: We included 1033 individuals (46% Black) with 1836 pregnancies. 130 pregnancies (7.1%) were complicated by GDM. For each 1 point increase on the abuse subscale (e.g., from "rarely or never" to "some or little of the time") there was a 30% increased risk of GDM (RR: 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0, 1.7). There was evidence of effect modification but not mediation by preconception abdominal adiposity. Conclusions: A more adverse childhood family environment was associated with increased risk of GDM, with a stronger association among individuals with preconception waist circumference ≥ 88 cm.
  • Factors Associated with Veteran Self-Reported Use of Digital Health Devices

    Robinson, Stephanie A; Shimada, Stephanie L; Zocchi, Mark S; Etingen, Bella; Smith, Bridget; McMahon, Nicholas; Cutrona, Sarah L; Harmon, Julie S; Wilck, Nancy R; Hogan, Timothy P (2024-01-22)
    Background: Digital health devices (DHDs), technologies designed to gather, monitor, and sometimes share data about health-related behaviors or symptoms, can support the prevention or management of chronic conditions. DHDs range in complexity and utility, from tracking lifestyle behaviors (e.g., pedometer) to more sophisticated biometric data collection for disease self-management (e.g., glucometers). Despite these positive health benefits, supporting adoption and sustained use of DHDs remains a challenge. Objective: This analysis examined the prevalence of, and factors associated with, DHD use within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Design: National survey. Participants: Veterans who receive VHA care and are active secure messaging users. Main measures: Demographics, access to technology, perceptions of using health technologies, and use of lifestyle monitoring and self-management DHDs. Results: Among respondents, 87% were current or past users of at least one DHD, and 58% were provided a DHD by VHA. Respondents 65 + years were less likely to use a lifestyle monitoring device (AOR 0.57, 95% CI [0.39, 0.81], P = .002), but more likely to use a self-management device (AOR 1.69, 95% [1.10, 2.59], P = .016). Smartphone owners were more likely to use a lifestyle monitoring device (AOR 2.60, 95% CI [1.42, 4.75], P = .002) and a self-management device (AOR 1.83, 95% CI [1.04, 3.23], P = .037). Conclusions: The current analysis describes the types of DHDs that are being adopted by Veterans and factors associated with their adoption. Results suggest that various factors influence adoption, including age, access to technology, and health status, and that these relationships may differ based on the functionalities of the device. VHA provision of devices was frequent among device users. Providing Veterans with DHDs and the training needed to use them may be important factors in facilitating device adoption. Taken together, this knowledge can inform future implementation efforts, and next steps to support patient-team decision making about DHD use.
  • Improving Veteran Engagement with Virtual Care Technologies: a Veterans Health Administration State of the Art Conference Research Agenda

    Haderlein, Taona P; Guzman-Clark, Jenice; Dardashti, Navid S; McMahon, Nicholas; Duran, Elizabeth L; Haun, Jolie N; Robinson, Stephanie A; Blok, Amanda C; Cutrona, Sarah L; Lindsay, Jan A; et al. (2024-01-22)
    Although the availability of virtual care technologies in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) continues to expand, ensuring engagement with these technologies among Veterans remains a challenge. VHA Health Services Research & Development convened a Virtual Care State of The Art (SOTA) conference in May 2022 to create a research agenda for improving virtual care access, engagement, and outcomes. This article reports findings from the Virtual Care SOTA engagement workgroup, which comprised fourteen VHA subject matter experts representing VHA clinical care, research, administration, and operations. Workgroup members reviewed current evidence on factors and strategies that may affect Veteran engagement with virtual care technologies and generated key questions to address evidence gaps. The workgroup agreed that although extensive literature exists on factors that affect Veteran engagement, more work is needed to identify effective strategies to increase and sustain engagement. Workgroup members identified key priorities for research on Veteran engagement with virtual care technologies through a series of breakout discussion groups and ranking exercises. The top three priorities were to (1) understand the Veteran journey from active service to VHA enrollment and beyond, and when and how virtual care technologies can best be introduced along that journey to maximize engagement and promote seamless care; (2) utilize the meaningful relationships in a Veteran's life, including family, friends, peers, and other informal or formal caregivers, to support Veteran adoption and sustained use of virtual care technologies; and (3) test promising strategies in meaningful combinations to promote Veteran adoption and/or sustained use of virtual care technologies. Research in these priority areas has the potential to help VHA refine strategies to improve virtual care user engagement, and by extension, outcomes.
  • Practice Site Heterogeneity within and between Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations

    Dyer, Zachary; Alcusky, Matthew J; Himmelstein, Jay; Ash, Arlene S.; Kerrissey, Michaela (2024-01-20)
    The existing literature has considered accountable care organizations (ACOs) as whole entities, neglecting potentially important variations in the characteristics and experiences of the individual practice sites that comprise them. In this observational cross-sectional study, our aim is to characterize the experience, capacity, and process heterogeneity at the practice site level within and between Medicaid ACOs, drawing on the Massachusetts Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (MassHealth), which launched an ACO reform effort in 2018. We used a 2019 survey of a representative sample of administrators from practice sites participating in Medicaid ACOs in Massachusetts (n = 225). We quantified the clustering of responses by practice site within all 17 Medicaid ACOs in Massachusetts for measures of process change, previous experience with alternative payment models, and changes in the practices' ability to deliver high-quality care. Using multilevel logistic models, we calculated median odds ratios (MORs) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) to quantify the variation within and between ACOs for each measure. We found greater heterogeneity within the ACOs than between them for all measures, regardless of practice site and ACO characteristics (all ICCs ≤ 0.26). Our research indicates diverse experience with, and capacity for, implementing ACO initiatives across practice sites in Medicaid ACOs. Future research and program design should account for characteristics of practice sites within ACOs.
  • Evaluating an Enterprise-Wide Initiative to enhance healthcare coordination for rural women Veterans using the RE-AIM framework

    Relyea, Mark R; Kinney, Rebecca L; DeRycke, Eric C; Haskell, Sally; Mattocks, Kristin M; Bastian, Lori A (2024-01-12)
    Introduction: The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) and Office of Women's Health Services (OWH) in FY21 launched a three-year Enterprise-Wide Initiative (EWI) to expand access to preventive care for rural, women Veterans. Through this program, women's health care coordinators (WHCC) were funded to coordinate mammography, cervical cancer screening and maternity care for women Veterans at selected VA facilities. We conducted a mixed-methods evaluation using the RE-AIM framework to assess the program implementation. Materials and methods: We collected quantitative data from the 14 program facilities on reach (i.e., Veterans served by the program), effectiveness (e.g., cancer screening compliance, communication), adoption, and maintenance of women's health care coordinators (WHCC) in FY2022. Implementation of the program was examined through semi-structured interviews with the facility WHCC funding initiator (e.g., the point of contact at facility who initiated the request for WHCC funding), WHCCs, and providers. Results: Reach. The number of women Veterans and rural women Veterans served by the WHCC program grew (by 50% and 117% respectively). The program demonstrated effectiveness as screening rates increased for cervical and breast cancer screening (+0.9% and +.01%, respectively). Also, maternity care coordination phone encounters with Veterans grew 36%. Adoption: All facilities implemented care coordinators by quarter two of FY22. Implementation. Qualitative findings revealed facilitators and barriers to successful program implementation and care coordination. Maintenance: The EWI facilitated the recruitment and retention of WHCCs at respective VA facilities over time. Implications: In rural areas, WHCCs can play a critical role in increasing Reach and effectiveness. The EWI demonstrated to be a successful care coordination model that can be feasibly Adopted, Implemented, and Maintained at rural VA facilities.
  • Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Behavior Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Predictors and Moderators of Treatment Response

    Burns, John W; Jensen, Mark P; Thorn, Beverly E; Lillis, Teresa A; Carmody, James F.; Gerhart, James; Keefe, Francis (2024-01-08)
    Psychosocial interventions for people with chronic pain produce significant improvements in outcomes, but these effects on average are modest with much variability in the benefits conferred on individuals. To enhance the magnitude of treatment effects, characteristics of people that might predict the degree to which they respond more or less well could be identified. People with chronic low back pain (N = 521) participated in a randomized controlled trial which compared cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, behavior therapy and treatment as usual. Hypotheses regarding predictors and/or moderators were based on the Limit, Activate, and Enhance model; developed to predict and explain moderators/predictors of psychosocial pain treatments. Results were: 1) low levels of cognitive/behavioral function at pre-treatment predicted favorable pre- to post-treatment outcomes; 2) favorable expectations of benefit from treatment and sound working alliances predicted favorable pre- to post-treatment outcomes; 3) women benefited more than men. These effects emerged without regard to treatment condition. Of note, high levels of cognitive/behavioral function at pre-treatment predicted favorable outcomes only for people in the treatment as usual condition. Analyses identified a set of psychosocial variables that may act as treatment predictors across cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction and behavior therapy, as hypothesized by the Limit, Activate, and Enhance model if these 3 treatments operate via similar mechanisms. Findings point toward people who may and who may not benefit fully from the 3 psychosocial treatments studied here, and so may guide future research on matching people to these kinds of psychosocial approaches or to other (eg, forced-based interventions) non-psychosocial approaches. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier is NCT02133976. PERSPECTIVE: This article examines potential predictors/moderators of response to psychosocial treatments for chronic pain. Results could guide efforts to match people to the most effective treatment type or kind.
  • Experiences of cisgender youth with a transgender and/or nonbinary sibling

    Godwin, Eli G; Moore, Lb M; Sansfaçon, Annie Pullen; Nishman, Melissa MacNish; Rosal, Milagros C; Katz-Wise, Sabra L (2024-01-03)
    While recent research has begun to address the effects of family support on transgender and/or nonbinary youth (TNY), almost no studies have directly examined how cisgender siblings in families with TNY navigate their sibling's gender disclosure and affirmation within both their families and their larger communities. We conducted an exploratory secondary analysis of in-person, semi-structured interviews with 15 adolescent and young adult siblings (age 13-24 years) of TNY from the northeastern United States from the baseline wave of the community-based, longitudinal, mixed methods Trans Teen and Family Narratives Project. Interview transcripts were analyzed using immersion/crystallization and template organizing approaches. Analyses yielded three main themes: gender-related beliefs and knowledge, peri- and post-disclosure family dynamics, and assessing responses to their sibling. Subthemes included anticipation of their sibling's TN identity, expectations post-disclosure, participants' level of involvement in gender-related family processes, perceptions of changes in family relationships, concern for their sibling (including a high degree of attunement to gender-affirming name and pronoun usage), and concern for themselves. Findings from this study suggest the need to engage directly with siblings of TNY to further elucidate their intrapersonal, intra-familial, and extra-familial experiences related to having a TN sibling and determine their unique support needs. Implications for families, clinicians, and communities are discussed.
  • Effectiveness of two systems-level interventions to address perinatal depression in obstetric settings (PRISM): an active-controlled cluster-randomised trial

    Byatt, Nancy; Brenckle, Linda; Sankaran, Padma; Flahive, Julie; Ko, Jean Y; Robbins, Cheryl L; Zimmermann, Martha; Allison, Jeroan J.; Person, Sharina D.; Moore Simas, Tiffany A (2024-01-01)
    Background: Perinatal depression is a common and undertreated condition, with potential deleterious effects on maternal, obstetric, infant, and child outcomes. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of two systems-level interventions in the obstetric setting-the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP) for Moms and the PRogram In Support of Moms (PRISM)-in improving depression symptoms and participation in mental health treatment among women with perinatal depression. Methods: In this cluster-randomised, active-controlled trial, obstetric practices across Massachusetts (USA) were allocated (1:1) via covariate adaptive randomisation to either continue participating in the MCPAP for Moms intervention, a state-wide, population-based programme, or to participate in the PRISM intervention, which involved MCPAP for Moms plus a proactive, multifaceted, obstetric practice-level intervention with intensive implementation support. English-speaking women (aged ≥18 years) who screened positive for depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score ≥10) were recruited from the practices. Patients were followed up at 4-25 weeks of gestation, 32-40 weeks of gestation, 0-3 months postpartum, 5-7 months postpartum, and 11-13 months postpartum via telephone interview. Participants were masked to the intervention; investigators were not masked. The primary outcome was change in depression symptoms (EPDS score) between baseline assessment and 11-13 months postpartum. Analysis was done by intention to treat, fitting generalised linear mixed models adjusting for age, insurance status, education, and race, and accounting for clustering of patients within practices. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02760004. Findings: Between July 29, 2015, and Sept 20, 2021, ten obstetric practices were recruited and retained; five (50%) practices were randomly allocated to MCPAP for Moms and five (50%) to PRISM. 1265 participants were assessed for eligibility and 312 (24·7%) were recruited, of whom 162 (51·9%) were enrolled in MCPAP for Moms practices and 150 (48·1%) in PRISM practices. Comparing baseline to 11-13 months postpartum, EPDS scores decreased by 4·2 (SD 5·2; p<0·0001) among participants in MCPAP for Moms practices and by 4·3 (SD 4.5; p<0·0001) among those in PRISM practices (estimated difference between groups 0·1 [95% CI -1·2 to 1·4]; p=0·87). Interpretation: Both the MCPAP for Moms and PRISM interventions were equally effective in improving depression symptoms. This finding is important because the 4-point decrease in EPDS score is clinically significant, and MCPAP for Moms has a lower intensity and greater population-based reach than does PRISM. Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Developing Mood-Based Computer-Tailored Health Communication for Smoking Cessation: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial

    Lee, Donghee N; Sadasivam, Rajani S; Stevens, Elise M (2023-12-22)
    Background: Computer-tailored health communication (CTHC), a widely used strategy to increase the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions, is focused on selecting the best messages for an individual. More recently, CTHC interventions have been tested using contextual information such as participants' current stress or location to adapt message selection. However, mood has not yet been used in CTCH interventions and may increase their effectiveness. Objective: This study aims to examine the association of mood and smoking cessation message effectiveness among adults who currently smoke cigarettes. Methods: In January 2022, we recruited a web-based convenience sample of adults who smoke cigarettes (N=615; mean age 41.13 y). Participants were randomized to 1 of 3 mood conditions (positive, negative, or neutral) and viewed pictures selected from the International Affective Picture System to induce an emotional state within the assigned condition. Participants then viewed smoking cessation messages with topics covering five themes: (1) financial costs or rewards, (2) health, (3) quality of life, (4) challenges of quitting, and (5) motivation or reasons to quit. Following each message, participants completed questions on 3 constructs: message receptivity, perceived relevance, and their motivation to quit. The process was repeated 30 times. We used 1-way ANOVA to estimate the association of the mood condition on these constructs, controlling for demographics, cigarettes per day, and motivation to quit measured during the pretest. We also estimated the association between mood and outcomes for each of the 5 smoking message theme categories. Results: There was an overall statistically significant effect of the mood condition on the motivation to quit outcome (P=.02) but not on the message receptivity (P=.16) and perceived relevance (P=.86) outcomes. Participants in the positive mood condition reported significantly greater motivation to quit compared with those in the negative mood condition (P=.005). Participants in the positive mood condition reported higher motivation to quit after viewing smoking cessation messages in the financial (P=.03), health (P=.01), quality of life (P=.04), and challenges of quitting (P=.03) theme categories. We also compared each mood condition and found that participants in the positive mood condition reported significantly greater motivation to quit after seeing messages in the financial (P=.01), health (P=.003), quality of life (P=.01), and challenges of quitting (P=.01) theme categories than those in the negative mood condition. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that considering mood may be important for future CTHC interventions. Because those in the positive mood state at the time of message exposure were more likely to have greater quitting motivations, smoking cessation CTHC interventions may consider strategies to help improve participants' mood when delivering these messages. For those in neutral and negative mood states, focusing on certain message themes (health and motivation to quit) may be more effective than other message themes.
  • Clinician Attitudes Toward Suicide Prevention Practices and Their Implementation: Findings From the System of Safety Study

    Larkin, Celine; Kiefe, Catarina I; Morena, Alexandra L; Rahmoun, Mhd B; Lazar, Peter; Sefair, Ana Vallejo; Boudreaux, Edwin D (2023-12-21)
    Objective: The authors aimed to assess clinicians' attitudes toward suicide-related practices and their implementation, across roles and settings, before implementation of the Zero Suicide model in a health care system. Methods: Clinicians (N=5,559) were invited to complete a survey assessing demographic characteristics; confidence and self-reported suicide-related practice; leadership buy-in; and attitudes toward suicide prevention, safety planning, and continuous quality improvement (CQI). Results: Of 1,224 respondents, most felt confident conducting suicide screening but less confident performing other suicide-related care. Provider role and care setting were significantly associated with confidence (p<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis H test) and practice (p<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis H test) of providing suicide prevention care, with behavioral health providers and providers in the emergency department (ED) reporting the highest confidence. Attitudes toward safety planning were more positive among women (p<0.001, t test) and behavioral health providers (p<0.001, F test) than among their counterparts or peers. Positive attitudes toward CQI were significantly associated with male sex (p=0.01), non-White race (p=0.03), younger age (p=0.02), fewer years working in health care (p<0.001), administrative role (p<0.001), working in the ED (p<0.001), outpatient settings (p<0.02), and medical provider role (p<0.001). Conclusions: Behavioral health providers and those in the ED reported feeling prepared to deliver suicide-related care, with nurses feeling less confident and less supported. Initiatives to improve suicide-related care should account for clinical role and care setting during planning. CQI could help engage a broader range of clinicians in suicide-related care improvements.
  • U.S. nursing home leadership experiences with COVID-19 and its impact on residents and staff: A qualitative analysis

    Dubé, Catherine E; Nielsen, Natalia; McPhillips, Emily; Lee Hargraves, J; Cosenza, Carol; Jesdale, Bill; Lapane, Kate L (2023-12-19)
    Objectives: To explore experiences of U.S. (United States) nursing home leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic in their efforts to address resident loneliness and social isolation and to elicit stories about personal and professional impacts on themselves and staff. Design: Qualitative inquiry via three optional open-ended questions appended to a national self-administered survey of American nursing home leaders was employed. Textual data was analyzed using an iterative reflexive thematic approach. Setting and participants: A stratified sample frame defined by facility size (beds: 30-99, 100+) and quality ratings (1, 2-4, 5) was employed. Web survey links and paper surveys were sent to 1,676 nursing home directors of nursing between February and May 2022. Results: Open text responses were collected from 271 nursing homes. Broad themes included: 1) Addressing needs of residents & families; 2) Challenges; and 3) Personal experiences of nursing home leadership/staff. Respondents described trauma to residents, staff, and leadership. Resident loneliness was addressed using existing and newer technologies and innovative indoor and outdoor activities. Residents experienced fear, illness, loss, and sometimes death. Isolation from family and lack of touch were particularly difficult. Regulations were seen as punitive while ignoring emotional needs of residents. Staffing challenges and pressures to do more with less created additional stress. Leadership and staff made significant sacrifices resulting in physical, social, and emotional consequences. Beneficial outcomes included staff bonding, professional growth, and permanent implementation of new interventions. Conclusions and implications: New and creative interventions were successfully implemented to address social isolation and loneliness. Improved Wi-Fi and other nursing home infrastructure upgrades are needed to maintain them. Reimagining often conflicting overlapping federal, state, and local regulations, grounding them in good clinical judgement, and incentivizing performance improvement should be considered. Trauma experienced by staff needs to be addressed to deal with current and future workforce needs.
  • Frailty, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptoms in Chinese older adults: an eight-year multi-trajectory analysis

    Yuan, Yiyang; Peng, Changmin; Burr, Jeffrey A; Lapane, Kate L (2023-12-12)
    Background: Frailty, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptoms are closely interrelated conditions in the aging population. However, limited research has longitudinally analyzed the concurrent trajectories of these three prominent conditions in older adults in China. This study aimed to explore the eight-year trajectories of frailty, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptoms, and to identify individual-level and structural-level factors associated with the trajectories. Methods: Four waves of data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (2011-2018) were used to identify 6,106 eligible older adults. The main measures included frailty by the frailty index constructed using 30 indicators, cognitive impairment by the summary score of immediate and delayed word recall, figure drawing, serial subtraction, and orientation, and depressive symptoms by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Multi-trajectory models identified the trajectories of frailty, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptoms over time. Multinomial logistic regression was employed to estimate the associations between individual-level capital factors and one structural factor (hukou and geographic residency) with the identified trajectories, adjusting for demographic characteristics. Results: Four trajectories emerged: (1) worsening frailty, worsening cognitive impairment, depression (14.0%); (2) declining pre-frailty, declining cognition, borderline depression (20.0%); (3) pre-frailty, worsening cognitive impairment, no depression (29.3%); and (4) physically robust, declining cognition, no depression (36.7%). Using the "physically robust, declining cognition, no depression" as the reference, not working, no social activity participant, worse childhood family financial situation, and poorer adult health were most strongly associated with the "worsening frailty, worsening cognitive impairment, depression" trajectory; worse health during childhood had the highest association with the "declining pre-frailty, declining cognition, borderline depression" trajectory; less education, lower household consumption, and rural hukou had the greatest association with the increased likelihood of the "pre-frailty, worsening cognitive impairment, no depression" trajectory. Conclusions: Findings could inform the understanding of the interrelationship of frailty, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptoms in older adults in China and may help practitioners detect adults at risk for adverse trajectories to implement strategies for proper care.
  • Shift-and-persist strategies as a potential protective factor against symptoms of psychological distress among young adults in Puerto Rico

    López-Cepero, Andrea A; Spruill, Tanya; Suglia, Shakira F; Lewis, Tené T; Mazzitelli, Natalia; Pérez, Cynthia M; Rosal, Milagros C (2023-12-12)
    Objective: Residents of Puerto Rico are disproportionately exposed to social and environmental stressors (e.g., Hurricane María and the 2020 sequence of tremors) known to be associated with psychological distress. Shift-and-persist (SP), or the ability to adapt the self to stressors while preserving focus on the future, has been linked with lower psychological distress, but no study has evaluated this in Puerto Rico. This study examined the association between SP and psychological distress (including that from natural disasters) in a sample of young adults in Puerto Rico. Methods: Data from the Puerto Rico-OUTLOOK study (18-29 y) were used. Participants (n = 1497) completed assessments between September 2020 and September 2022. SP was measured with the Chen scale and categorized into quartiles (SPQ1-SPQ4). Psychological distress included symptoms of depression (CESD-10), anxiety (STAI-10), post-traumatic stress disorder (Civilian Abbreviated Scale PTSD checklist), and ataque de nervios (an idiom of distress used by Latinx groups). Outcomes were dichotomized according to clinical cutoffs when available, otherwise used sample-based cutoffs. Two additional items assessed the perceived mental health impact of Hurricane María and the 2020 sequence of tremors (categorized as no/little impact vs. some/a lot). Adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated. Results: The most commonly reported psychological distress outcome was PTSD (77%). In adjusted models, compared to SP Q1, persons in SP Q2-Q4 were less likely to have elevated symptoms of depression (PR Q2 = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.72-0.85; PR Q3 = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.58-0.73; and PR Q4 = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.35-0.48), PTSD (PR Q2 = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.87-0.98; PR Q3 = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.80-0.93; and PR Q4 = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.70-0.83), anxiety (PR Q2 = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.31-0.48; PR Q3 = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.20-0.37; and PR Q4 = 0.11, 95% CI = 0.07-0.17) and experiences of ataque de nervios (PR Q2 = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.76-0.94; PR Q3 = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.70-0.90; and PR Q4 = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.60-0.78). Compared to persons in SP Q1, persons in SP Q3-Q4 were less likely to report adverse mental health impacts from Hurricane María (PR Q3 = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.55-0.79; and PR Q4 = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.44-0.65) and the 2020 sequence of tremors (PR Q3 = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.61-0.98; and PR Q4 = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.59-0.94). Conclusion: SP was associated with lower psychological distress. Studies are needed to confirm our findings and evaluate potential mechanisms of action.
  • Global scientific trends in healthy aging in the early 21st century: A data-driven scientometric and visualized analysis

    Zhang, Ye; Gu, Zhengmin; Xu, Yingxin; He, Miao; Gerber, Ben S; Wang, Zhongqing; LIu, Feifan; Peng, Cheng (2023-12-09)
    Background: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging is the process of developing and maintaining the functional capacity for health in old age. A rapidly growing number of research studies on healthy aging have been conducted worldwide. The purpose of this research work is to explore global scientific landscape of healthy aging research over the last 22 years. Methods: Scientific publications on healthy aging from January 1, 2000 to October 11, 2022 were retrieved from the Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC) on October 11, 2022. A total of 6420 publications were included in the scientometric analysis. VOSviewer (1.6.18) was used to conduct scientometric and visualized analysis. Results: The publication growth rate was 35.68 from 2000 to 2021. The United States of America (USA) led in both productivity and citations. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was prominent in terms of both the highest citation count and the highest average citation count. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Evans, Michele K. were the most influential organization and author, respectively. Research hotspots in healthy aging were identified based on the co-occurrence analysis of keywords: (1) physical activity and mental health of older adults; (2) diseases impacting the health and lifespan of older adults; and (3) neuroscience. Our analysis indicates that gut microbiota, loneliness, frailty, mitochondria and resilience were the emerging themes in healthy aging research. Conclusions: The quantity of annual publications on healthy aging has rapidly increased over the past 22 years, especially during 2018-2021. This analysis identified the status, trends, hot topics, and frontiers of healthy aging research. These findings will help researchers quickly understand the global representation of healthy aging research, influence resource dissemination, promote international collaborations, guide policy formulation, and improve health services for older adults.
  • Prioritizing a research agenda on built environments and physical activity: a twin panel Delphi consensus process with researchers and knowledge users

    Prince, Stephanie A; Lang, Justin J; de Groh, Margaret; Badland, Hannah; Barnett, Anthony; Littlejohns, Lori Baugh; Brandon, Nicholas C; Butler, Gregory P; Casu, Géna; Cerin, Ester; et al. (2023-12-07)
    Background: The growth of urban dwelling populations globally has led to rapid increases of research and policy initiatives addressing associations between the built environment and physical activity (PA). Given this rapid proliferation, it is important to identify priority areas and research questions for moving the field forward. The objective of this study was to identify and compare research priorities on the built environment and PA among researchers and knowledge users (e.g., policy makers, practitioners). Methods: Between September 2022 and April 2023, a three-round, modified Delphi survey was conducted among two independent panels of international researchers (n = 38) and knowledge users (n = 23) to identify similarities and differences in perceived research priorities on the built environment and PA and generate twin 'top 10' lists of the most important research needs. Results: From a broad range of self-identified issues, both panels ranked in common the most pressing research priorities including stronger study designs such as natural experiments, research that examines inequalities and inequities, establishing the cost effectiveness of interventions, safety and injuries related to engagement in active transportation (AT), and considerations for climate change and climate adaptation. Additional priorities identified by researchers included: implementation science, research that incorporates Indigenous perspectives, land-use policies, built environments that support active aging, and participatory research. Additional priorities identified by knowledge users included: built environments and PA among people living with disabilities and a need for national data on trip chaining, multi-modal travel, and non-work or school-related AT. Conclusions: Five common research priorities between the two groups emerged, including (1) to better understand causality, (2) interactions with the natural environment, (3) economic evaluations, (4) social disparities, and (5) preventable AT-related injuries. The findings may help set directions for future research, interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations, and funding opportunities.
  • Sample average treatment effect on the treated (SATT) 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

    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. (2023-12-07)
    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 Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) and Propensity Score Matching (PSM) methods. 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.
  • Technology engagement is associated with higher perceived physical well-being in stroke patients prescribed smartwatches for atrial fibrillation detection

    Mensah Otabil, Edith; Dai, Qiying; Anzenberg, Paula; Filippaios, Andreas; Ding, Eric; Mehawej, Jordy; Mathew, Joanne E; Lessard, Darleen; Wang, Ziyue; Noorishirazi, Kamran; et al. (2023-12-06)
    Background: Increasing ownership of smartphones among Americans provides an opportunity to use these technologies to manage medical conditions. We examine the influence of baseline smartwatch ownership on changes in self-reported anxiety, patient engagement, and health-related quality of life when prescribed smartwatch for AF detection. Method: We performed a post-hoc secondary analysis of the Pulsewatch study (NCT03761394), a clinical trial in which 120 participants were randomized to receive a smartwatch-smartphone app dyad and ECG patch monitor compared to an ECG patch monitor alone to establish the accuracy of the smartwatch-smartphone app dyad for detection of AF. At baseline, 14 days, and 44 days, participants completed the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 survey, the Health Survey SF-12, and the Consumer Health Activation Index. Mixed-effects linear regression models using repeated measures with anxiety, patient activation, physical and mental health status as outcomes were used to examine their association with smartwatch ownership at baseline. Results: Ninety-six participants, primarily White with high income and tertiary education, were randomized to receive a study smartwatch-smartphone dyad. Twenty-four (25%) participants previously owned a smartwatch. Compared to those who did not previously own a smartwatch, smartwatch owners reported significant greater increase in their self-reported physical health (β = 5.07, P < 0.05), no differences in anxiety (β = 0.92, P = 0.33), mental health (β = -2.42, P = 0.16), or patient activation (β = 1.86, P = 0.54). Conclusions: Participants who own a smartwatch at baseline reported a greater positive change in self-reported physical health, but not in anxiety, patient activation, or self-reported mental health over the study period.

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