Author: Grace Morris

2020 Fisher Fellowship awarded to Matthew Sullivan

2020 Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship Awarded

Matthew Sullivan, MS
Matthew Sullivan, MS

We are happy to announce that Matthew Sullivan (Psychological Sciences) was awarded the Fisher Fellowship for his dissertation project titled “Stigma, coping, and HIV PrEP adherence and persistence in people with opioid use disorder in treatment: Patient and prescriber facilitators and barriers to HIV risk reduction”. Matt’s dissertation adviser is InCHIP Affiliate and faculty of Psychological Sciences, Dean Cruess. He completed four years as a T32 Training Fellow in the Social Processes of AIDS at InCHIP (funded by NIMH), working with fellowship mentors Seth Kalichman, PhD, and Lisa Eaton, PhD.The decision to award Matt the Fisher Fellowship was a unanimous decision among our faculty reviewers.

The Jeffrey D. Fisher Health Behavior Change Research Fellowship was created in 2019 to celebrate the career of Jeff Fisher, the founding Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP). During Dr. Fisher’s tenure as Director, InCHIP grew from a small group of HIV researchers in the Department of Psychological Sciences to a university-wide, interdisciplinary institute of faculty and graduate students focused on a broad array of health and health behavior research.

Congrats to Matt! And Good luck!

InCHIP Ideas Lab featured in Knowinnovation’s Blog

“Connecticut ranks 29th in population size in the U.S., but the state ranked 9th in opioid related deaths per capita in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Since then, overdose deaths nationwide have taken a slight dip, while Connecticut’s opioid-related death-rate has continued to climb.

“Opioid-related overdoses is a major public health challenge in the United States right now. It’s actually leading to a decrease in life expectancy,” says Amy Gorin, director of the University of Connecticut (UConn)’s Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP). “It’s a complex problem that needs some innovative solutions.””

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Funded InCHIP Rapid Response Proposals to Address COVID-19

Please note that this funding mechanism is now closed.

Funded Projects:

  • Keith Bellizzi (Human Development and Family Sciences). “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Management of Mental Health Conditions among UConn Undergraduate Students.”
  • Saraswathi Bellur (Communication), Rebecca Acabchuk (Psychological Sciences), and Emily Hennessy (Psychological Sciences). “Evaluating UConn Student Well-Being in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Stacey Brown and Toan Ha (Public Health Sciences). “Assessing the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Resulting Behavior Changes in Response to COVID-19 Among Connecticut Residents.”
  • Lisa Butler (InCHIP) and Phelgona Otieno (Kenya Medical Research Institute). “An Exploratory Study on the Effects of COVID-19 and Associated Social and Economic Changes on HIV-Affected Households in Western Kenya.”
  • Jeffrey Burke and Olivia Derella (Psychological Sciences). “Healthy Transmission of Coping During COVID-19: The Impact of Parents’ Emotional Characteristics on Caregiver and Child Pandemic Response.” In addition to InCHIP, this project is being funded by:
    APSSC Student Research Grant
    UConn Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
    UConn Julian B. Rotter Fellowship
  • Sandra Chafouleas and Emily Iovino (Educational Psychology). “Understanding Stress and Personal Well-Being Among Primary Caregivers of Children Aged 6 to 18 During COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Xiang Chen (Geography), Debarchana Ghosh (Geography), and Marlene Schwartz (Human Development and Family Sciences / Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity). “Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Procurement Behavior and Food Activity Space.”
  • Amanda Denes (Communication) and Talea Cornelius (Columbia University Irving Medical Center). “Exploring the Effects of Social Isolation, Relational Quality, and Communication on Couples’ Physical, Mental, and Relational Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Stephanie Gernant (Pharmacy Practice). “How Has the Most Accessible Healthcare Professional Responded to Social Distancing?”
  • Damion Grasso (Psychiatry). “Examining the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic in a Low-Income, Trauma-Exposed Cohort of Women with a High Rate of Posttraumatic Stress During Pregnancy.”
  • Blair T. Johnson (Psychological Sciences) and Mary Bernstein (Sociology). “Gun Violence, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Community Health.” In addition to InCHIP, this project is being funded by:
    2019 CLAS Interdisciplinary Pilot Grant Program (with Co-PI Kun Chen, Statistics)
    The Bennett Fund for Innovative Education in Health and Society
  • Kenneth Lachlan and Stephen Stifano (Communication). “Examining Attributions of Blame Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Eva Lefkowitz (Human Development and Family Sciences). “LGBTQ+ College Students’ Living Arrangements and Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Kevin Manning and David Steffens (Psychiatry). “Change in Older Adults’ Depression, Anxiety, and Social Support in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Carla Rash (Medicine; Calhoun Cardiology Center) and Jeremiah Weinstock (Saint Louis University: Psychology). “Changes in Gambling Behavior Due to COVID-19.”
  • Beth Russell (Human Development and Family Sciences), Crystal Park (Psychological Sciences), and Michael Fendrich (School of Social Work). “Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Young Adults’ Stress, Coping, and Substance Use Behavior.”
  • Natalie Shook (Nursing). “Predictors and Consequences of Preventative Health Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Sara Stifano, Katrina Webber, Shardé Davis, and Stephen Stifano (Communication). “Stayin’ Alive: Using the Health Belief Model to Understand Persons’ of Color Intentions to Wear Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Howard Tennen (Public Health Sciences) and Marcella Boynton (UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine). “Development and Testing of Effective Message Elements to Encourage Social Distancing Behaviors.”
  • Sarah Willen (Anthropology), Abigail Fisher Williamson (Trinity College: Political Science and Public Policy & Law), and Katherine Mason (Brown University: Anthropology). “Pandemic Journaling in the Era of COVID-19: Launching a Collaborative Archive + Health Intervention.” In addition to InCHIP, this project is being funded by:
    Global Affairs
    CLAS
    School of Fine Arts
    School of Social Work
    Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
    Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life
    Human Rights Institute
    Humanities Institute
    El Instituto
    Research Program on Global Health & Human Rights at HRI
    Department of Anthropology
    Department of History

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To learn more about the funding opportunity, please click on the button below:

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New Funding Opportunity: InCHIP Rapid Response Proposals to Address COVID-19

Description:

The Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) invites research proposals that address the social and behavioral implications of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). With no current vaccine available, institutions and governments have addressed the spread of disease through other modes, namely by encouraging or enforcing behavioral prevention strategies such as increased hygiene and social distancing. In many cases, significant measures have been undertaken including state-wide school closures, telecommuting, and changes in restaurant/business operations. While essential to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, these measures — coupled with the anxiety and uncertainty created by the global pandemic — have massive implications for the physical, mental, social, and financial well-being of millions.

To better understand the broader impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds, InCHIP plans to provide several research teams with rapid release funds to capture/analyze time-sensitive data.

Possible areas of study include, but are not limited to:

  • Hygiene, Behavior, and Transmission Prevention – How do cognitive, affective, and social-contextual factors influence individuals’ level of adherence to CDC/WHO and state recommendations and guidelines?
  • Social Media, Social Networks, and Mass Media – What has influenced the relative uptake of behavioral precautions such as social distancing? How has misinformation about the COVID-19 spread across social networks and what impact does it have on the spread of disease across various demographics? How can social media be used to increase the uptake of behavioral precautions and decrease misinformation?
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – What is the impact of social distancing and quarantine on mental health and substance use? What are the mental health impacts of quarantine and the pandemic on specific populations (e.g. elderly people, children, college students)? What strategies can be used to reduce stress and anxiety associated with COVID-19 (e.g., among college students)?
  • Implications for Immunocompromised Populations – How has the pandemic uniquely impacted people living with HIV, heart or lung disease, or diabetes?
  • Social Support and Infrastructure – What are the ongoing implications of the pandemic to social support systems, public health infrastructure, and institutions that support individuals living with limited resources (examples: schools/universities, public libraries, Veterans Affairs, homeless shelters, food pantries)?

Research areas not currently funded through this mechanism:

  • Vaccine Development
  • Viral Pathogenesis
  • Natural History of COVID-19
  • Immunology or Virology

Award Amount:

InCHIP will fund multiple projects with budgets up to $5,000. This funding is intended for costs associated with time sensitive data collection and analysis. Awards of larger amounts will be considered with prior approval of InCHIP Director Amy Gorin (contact directly at amy.gorin@uconn.edu). Our focus at this time is on supporting the collection of data in the immediate future. Additional funds may become available if longitudinal data collection is justified or study aims need to be expanded over time.

COVID-19 Guidance for the UConn Research Community

For the most up-to-date information about research activities at the University of Connecticut, please visit this webpage through the OVPR.

Learn More & Apply

Tackling the Opioid Crisis with a Warmer Touch

In the event of an opioid overdose, quick action from first responders can mean the difference between life and death. But oftentimes, survivors need much more than that first response to recover.
UConn researchers are working with the Waterbury Police Department (PD) and the Waterbury Department of Public Health on an innovative program to tackle the opioid epidemic by connecting overdose survivors to behavioral health clinicians immediately after overdose.
Click here to keep reading.

How to get a “K” Development Award? Twitter chat on 12/18/18 at 2PM EST

Interested in a “K” career development award? Then join us on Tuesday, December 18 at 2p ET for a Twitter chat covering everything you ever wanted to know and more about NIH Career Development “K” Awards. We will discuss how to decide whether an NIH K award is right for you, how to prepare one, common reviewer concerns, and advice on mentor teams and training plans. Guests will include current and former K awardees including Molly Waring (UConn), Charles Jonassaint (UPitt), Drs. Dani Arigo (Rowan University), and Matt Whited (East Carolina State University). The host will be Dr. Sherry Pagoto, UConn Professor of Allied Health Sciences and InCHIP investigator. She was recipient of a K23 from 2003-2008 and numerous NIH, CDC, and foundation grants, including an NIH K24 Midcareer Investigator Award. Please join us with your burning questions about K awards! The chat hashtag is #behavioralmedchat.

Co-sponsored by InCHIP and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

If you are unfamiliar with Twitter chats, please check out Twitter Chat 101 here

12/3 InCHIP Webinar: Grow your Seed Grant Projects into Large Externally Funded Research

InCHIP Webinar: Grow your Seed Grant Projects into Large Externally Funded Research

Description:

Drs. Sherry Pagoto and Molly Waring will lead a workshop on how to plan towards transforming pilot studies funded by internal seed grants into large externally funded research projects. This workshop is intended to inform your thinking as you write your InCHIP Seed Grant applications. It will be recorded and posted to YouTube.

When:

December 3rd, 2018 from 11AM-12PM

Sign Up

December Science Cafe: LGBTQ+ health, well-being, and experiences across the U.S.

Each month CICATS hosts a science cafe with the Kavli Foundation on a different scientific topic. Our science cafe series aims to bring science to members of the community in an engaging and informal way.
CICATS science Cafe LGBTQ+ Health
At this Science Cafe, Drs. Ryan Watson and Rebecca Puhl (Human Development and Family Studies and the Rudd Center) will share the preliminary findings from their 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey — a national study that sampled more than 17,000 young people from every state in the US. The survey included over 150 items that assessed health (such as substance use, eating behaviors, self-esteem, etc), school experiences, disclosure of sexual and gender identity, and more. Drs. Watson and Puhl will be accompanied by an expert panel (Dr. Paul Poteat of Boston College, Dr. Micki McElya of UConn, and Robin McHaelen of True Colors) to discuss the implications of the findings as they pertain to the next steps in scholarship, goals for policy, and practical applications for parents, children, and teachers. The panel will discuss and reflect on the findings from this large national survey with the ultimate goal of contributing to engaged scholarship and providing a foundation for future action.

There will be plenty of time for audience questions and participation, as our Science Cafes are geared towards creating discussion with attendees. This event is FREE and open to everyone interested in the topic.

  • Topic: LGBTQ+ health, well-being, and experiences across the U.S.
  • When: Wednesday, December 5th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: Nathan Hale Inn, 855 Bolton Rd,Storrs, CT 06269
  • RSVP: Please use this link to RSVP for this science cafe.
  • For questions please contact Noehren@uchc.edu.

Letter from InCHIP’s Director

As we head into the Thanksgiving break, I wanted to share some highlights from my first few months as Director of InCHIP. It has certainly b een a busy semester in the Ryan Building. We have hosted four lectures as part of our annual series, kicked off a new Lunch and Learn program, finalized our seed grant offerings for the year, launched a NIH K Award Writing Group, continued building the capacity of our Community-Engaged Health Research Core and Training and Development Core, held our Annual Meeting, and much more.

To continue reading click here

CICATS November Science Cafe: Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering and synthetic biology are relatively new fields that are gaining media attention and causing great amounts of debate – both from the scientific and ethical points of view. Attendees at this November cafe will hear background knowledge for rational, evidence-based discussion of the topic. Representatives from UConn iGem will speak about their work and Mark Mimee of the MIT Synthetic Biology Group will speak more about the topic. Cafes are intended to be interactive, so audience questions and participation is greatly encouraged.

The Cafe speakers believe expert driven education is crucial to furthering the field and for cultivating public trust in researchers. They aim to discuss what challenges face synthetic biology, ethical risks posed by developing technologies in the field, and what the expansion of such research could have in store. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, genetically modified crops (GMOs), the possibility of genetic modifications in humans, biosecurity, novel applications of genetic technologies, and the development of newer and cheaper methods.

Topic: Genetic Engineering

When: Friday, November 16th, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hilltop Restaurant, 39 Adamec Rd, Willington, CT 06279

Cost: FREE

RSVP: Please use this link to RSVP for this science cafe.

For questions please contact Noehren@uchc.edu.