“Innovations in Mobile Technology for Engaging Youth in Treatment and Prevention”
Lisa B. Hightow-Weidman, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Departments of Infectious Diseases and Health Behavior, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Hightow-Weidman completed her medical school training at the University of Virginia and became board certified in Internal Medicine in 2001 after completing residency training at Stanford University. She completed fellowship training in Infectious Diseases and earned a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Hightow-Weidman is an expert on mhealth, social media and utilization and evaluation of technology-based interventions to address the HIV Care Continuum for youth and young adults, particularly among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). She has published >90 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. She has developed technology-based interventions to address uptake and adherence to biomedical HIV prevention technologies, as well as intervening to increase HIV diagnosis, linkage and retention in care for YMSM. She is the PI of iTech, The UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology Across the Prevention and Care Continuum. This grant, part of the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV Interventions (ATN), seeks to develop a technology center to address the domestic epidemic of HIV among at risk and HIV-infected youth.
About the InCHIP Lecture Series
The InCHIP Lecture Series provides an invaluable forum for researchers – at InCHIP, throughout the UConn community and beyond – to learn about new work in development by leading figures in health behavior change. The InCHIP Lecture Series also provides a venue for researchers to share late-breaking findings and identify emerging trends in health behavior research. For the current semester schedule, visit the InCHIP 2018-2019 Lecture Page.
Thanks to all who attended the 2018 Annual Meeting!
InCHIP’s Annual Meeting was held on Friday, October 26, 2018. The meeting kicked off with new Director, Dr. Amy Gorin, who shared highlights from InCHIP’s grant portfolio, previewed upcoming events designed to spark interdisciplinary research collaborations, and announced new awards to recognize excellence in health-related research. InCHIP Associate Director Dr. Debbie Cornman shared information about exciting initiatives InCHIP is sponsoring to support interdisciplinary teams including several developments to promote equitable partnerships between UConn researchers and community partners. Dr. Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director of UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and Professor in Human Development and Family Studies gave a fantastic keynote address on her research entitled, “An Ecological Framework for Tackling Weight Stigma.”
InCHIP’s upcoming year is packed full with world class lectures, skill building workshops, and various interdisciplinary research opportunities for UConn faculty and trainees. Below are links to handouts describing upcoming InCHIP offerings:
Converting Research to Impact: Strategies and Resources for New Ventures
Mostafa Analoui, Ph.D. Executive Director of Venture Development and Technology Incubation Program (TIP) at UConn
Dr Analoui will present possible directions for researchers to engage in entrepreneurship and the commercialization of research ideas, apps, and other products. When: October 30th, 2018 at 12:30 PM. Lunch will be served.
InCHIP Colloquium Room (Room 14), J. Ray Ryan Building, UConn Storrs Campus. Directions to InCHIP
The second UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health Encore Conference will be held at the Hartford Public Library on Monday, September 24, 2018, from 4-6 p.m.
The CSCH Encore conference provides an opportunity for participants to learn about work related to school and/or child health that affiliates have presented previously at an external conference. The event will include an poster “encore” session (meaning presenters share work they have already presented in another setting) and active networking. There will be a special opportunity to participate in an on-the-spot seed grant competition. Winners at this stage will be invited to apply for seed grants for up to $8,000. Refreshments will be provided.
The event is open to all people that are CSCH affiliates (faculty, postdocs, students, community partners) by the time of the event.
Dear InCHIP Affiliates, Principal Investigators, and Staff:
This is a good-bye message from me as InCHIP Director, although I will have an office on the second floor of Ryan for the next few years. Starting July 1, Amy Gorin and her team will be running the show at InCHIP, and I will step down from my administrative role.
I’ve been privileged to be the founding Director of InCHIP and its predecessors, the UConn AIDS Risk Reduction Project (ARRP) and the UConn Center for Health, Intervention and Policy (CHIP). Due to all of you, its remarkable affiliates, PIs, staff, and Associate Directors, InCHIP and its predecessors have accomplished a tremendous amount. We started out with a small number of affiliates in just two disciplines (see photo below), and now have about 400, spanning almost every school and college at UConn, and more than 60 other institutions.
We’ve performed research that has improved the public health in important ways in the US and globally. In the process, since 2002, we obtained $160 million in external grant funding, and generated $40 million in indirect cost returns to UConn. We’ve worked to support the success of many fabulous UConn researchers and recruited remarkable faculty to join InCHIP from other institutions. We also recruited the Rudd Center to move to InCHIP from Yale, and the Center for mHealth and Social Media to move to InCHIP from U. Mass Medical Center.
It has been a wonderful opportunity for me, along with a cast of many extremely talented academics and administrative colleagues, to have had a role in our evolution. We have done things we never thought would be possible, and for that I am very proud. Being the founding Director of InCHIP has been one of the greatest privileges of my professional life. After I retire on September 1, I look forward to interacting with all of you in my new phase of life. I’ll continue my passion of studying vexing problems that occur when folks do not behave in the best interest of their health. I love understanding the dynamics of such behavior and designing theory-based interventions to help people change. I don’t think I could be happy without playing at least a bit in this fascinating sandbox. I’ll be writing some grants, helping UConn find global partners for health research, doing some mentoring, and consulting on how to build successful Centers and Institutes elsewhere. Consulting is very different from directing a Center or Institute day after day, year after year. It’s more like being a grandparent—you visit, enjoy, and leave after a few days!
I want to thank all the many folks who worked with me on my research over the years, beginning before we received NIH funding for ARRP– from 1975 to 1989. It was impossible to pay you, but you believed in what we were doing, and that was somehow enough. Many fabulous colleagues, graduate students, post-docs and professional employees worked with me from 1989-2014 on my NIH grants with Bill Fisher. You deserve great credit for our scientific accomplishments.
I deeply thank everyone within and outside of the Institute who made InCHIP and its predecessors possible. Outside of InCHIP, several Vice Presidents of Research, Provosts, and Vice Provosts have been extremely supportive. Skip Lowe and then Provost John Petersen worked closely with me to initially obtain UConn funding for the Center in 2002. Most relevant to the present context, I am grateful to all of those who worked with me to build InCHIP and its predecessors. Over the years there have been too many of you to mention individually, but I am extremely grateful to each of you. Deborah Cornman has been Associate Director since we began and contributed a great deal to our progress. Vasinee Long worked with us for many years, has passed away, and is fondly remembered. Melissa Stone has been with us from the start in many different critical roles. Steve Jagielo, AnnMarie White, Lynne Hendrickson, Grace Morris, Aaron Plotke, Melanie Skolnick and Josh Hardin contribute greatly to the finest administrative team anywhere. Because of these folks, our Associate Directors, and our affiliates and PIs, InCHIP is widely considered one of UConn’s crown jewels.
After sixteen years in an administrative role, it’s a pleasure to pass the administrative torch to Dr. Amy Gorin. I’m delighted that InCHIP will have a new Director with such vision and talent. I wish Amy every success in running this remarkable Institute which all of you helped to build. I’ve loved working with you and serving as founding InCHIP Director. I look forward to interacting with you after my retirement on September 1 in my new role as active InCHIP affiliate, health promotion researcher, consultant, extremely attentive parent and grandparent, and leisurely world traveler!
NIH Innovation Lab: Staying Power: Developing Lifestyle Interventions that Last
Innovation Lab methodology is designed to counteract the myriad forces that tend to favor monodisciplinary, incremental science. Innovation Labs move quickly but deliberately to scope the problem and gather data, and then to generate novel combinatorial solutions, “stretch ideas,” and to create and refine solutions/research proposals with real-time peer-review. The idea is to develop sketches of high-impact, novel proposals within five days. Throughout the process, we focus deliberately on creatively combining expertise, lateral thinking, paradigm disruption, and the amplifying trust and shared understanding among participants.
We are pleased to announce InCHIP’s HIV Research Interest Group Programming for 2018! Please check back frequently, additional events and programs may be forthcoming
Christopher Gordon, PhD Date: Monday, April 30, 2018 Time: 10:00am – 11:30am
“Spring Webinar to Discuss NIH Funding Priorities in HIV Prevention Science”
In this webinar, Christopher Gordon, Branch Chief of the Division of AIDS Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, will outline NIH’s funding priorities in HIV Prevention Science. This will include a review of current and future funding opportunities as well as identifying future trends in the world of HIV Research. The format will be composed of a 45-minute presentation with a 15-20 minute interactive Q&A session to follow.
William Darrow, PhD Date: Thursday, March 29, 2018 Time: 1:45pm – 3:15pm
“From Patient 0 to Getting to Zero — A Brief History of the AIDS Epidemic”
With the announcement of “highly active” anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in 1996, the focus of HIV prevention efforts and federal funding in the United States shifted from the promotion of “safer sex” and ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, and use a Condom) messaging for behavior change to programs predicated on conceptualizations of “treatment as prevention,” “high-impact [biomedical] interventions,” and “pre-” and “post-exposure prophylaxis.” Policies and programs turned away from the community mobilization model of a “new public health” as outlined in the Ottawa Charter (1986) and implemented through “community planning” by state and local health departments in the mid-1990s towards a narrowly defined but politically more practical—and palatable—biomedical model for the 21st century. This roundtable discussion is meant to be provocative by reviewing the post-HAART history of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, plausible explanations for the more recent turn of events, and the effectiveness of HIV-prevention programs.
David Fiellin, M.D. Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
“Is It Harder to Change Patient or Provider Behavior?: Lessons for Addiction and HIV Research from Implementation Science”
This talk will provide an overview and introduction to Implementation Science. This will be followed by a discussion of examples of ongoing Implementation Science research studies addressing substance use in HIV clinics and untreated opioid use disorder in Emergency Departments. Finally, the talk will discuss opportunities for training, partnership and research collaboration through the New England HIV Implementation Science Network.
Lisa Eaton, PhD Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018 Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm
“Roundtable Discussion: Ideas for Stigma Intervention Development”
Although it is acknowledged that stigma serves as a barrier to beneficial health outcomes, there are few developed and available interventions to address stigma. At this roundtable discussion, we will review different intervention points for stigma (e.g., individual, group, community, structural) and different intervention models for delivering stigma focused content.
A growing awareness of the prevalence of childhood exposure to trauma and an increased understanding of its corrosive, potentially lifelong impacts on health and behavior together are fueling a national movement to create trauma-informed schools, says InCHIP Principal Investigator (PI) Sandra Chafouleas. Such schools foster environments that are responsive to the needs of trauma-exposed students using systematic approaches and implementation of effective practices, the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology explains.
Chafouleas co-authored an introduction to a special issue of the journal School Mental Health devoted to the topic and also wrote an article for the issue offering a blueprint for trauma-informed schools in spring of 2016. Since then, UConn’s Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH), which Chafouleas co-directs, has been working to coalesce efforts to build a state model for trauma-informed schools in Connecticut. Steps taken include hosting a documentary screening and panel discussion, co-sponsoring a well-attended conference, helping to form a monthly working group comprised of relevant state and local stakeholders, and taking part in a series of professional development opportunities offered for educators across the state this fall.
Its initiative in this area is an example of CSCH doing precisely what it was formed to do two years ago. CSCH, which represents a partnership between the University’s Neag School of Education, Office of Public Engagement and InCHIP, brings researchers, policy makers, and practitioners together to promote the health, safety, and well-being of the whole child.
“We don’t always ask the right questions when we see a student struggling academically, missing school, or getting into trouble repeatedly,” Chafouleas said. “Once educators look at student behavior through a trauma-informed lens, it is easier to reframe their questions from blaming the child to asking what happened to the child and how can we help.”
In reframing, schools then can respond by teaching students needed coping and self-regulation skills instead of possibly re-traumatizing students with harsh discipline policies that don’t address the underlying problems, she said.
In the special journal issue, Chafouleas highlighted the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s four key assumptions underlying trauma-informed approaches: (1) a realization of the widespread prevalence and impact of trauma, (2) a recognition of the signs of traumatic exposure, and (3) a response grounded in evidence-based practices that (4) resists re–traumatization of individuals.
The blueprint she wrote with colleagues shared some of the best evidence-based interventions that schools could adopt, described using a familiar framework for multi-tiered service delivery within schools – the School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) framework developed by her Neag School of Education colleague, Professor George Sugai. That framework focuses on planning, implementation, and evaluation of services across different levels of student need.
Using a multi-tiered service delivery approach, a school system might adopt a curriculum for social-emotional learning to teach all students coping and resilience, provide a smaller portion of the student body exposed to traumatic events access to in-school counseling resources, and identify an even smaller group of students exhibiting negative effects of trauma exposure and assess whether they need a combination of in- and out-of-school services. For example, in New Haven, the Clifford Beers Clinic partnered with the New Haven Public Schools and other agencies to lead trauma-informed school services. Led by the Clifford Beers Clinic, all school personnel received what Chafouleas refers to as “Trauma 101” training, students with moderate need have been offered access to an evidence-based intervention delivered in schools, and care coordinators intervene with those students and families experiencing the most toxic effects of trauma.
“Schools form a great space for addressing childhood trauma and its lasting effects,” Chafouleas said. “The kids are already there. Prevalence research estimates that two out of three children will be exposed to trauma by the age of 17. We want to facilitate the early identification of children affected by trauma, and to create ease of access to the most appropriate services to facilitate child wellbeing.”
“There are a lot of people and groups around the state who are committed to this kind of work,” Chafouleas said. “The question at the outset was, how do we bring them together to do the work more efficiently and effectively?”
Last fall, CSCH hosted one of the first screenings of the documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope followed by a panel discussion with the film’s director James Redford; Alice Forrester, Clifford Beers Clinic Chief Executive Officer and CSCH Steering Committee Member; and Paul Diego-Holzer, Executive Director from Achieve Hartford!. The documentary chronicles the work of the researchers who discovered the long-term biological, psychological, and social effects of abuse and neglect in childhood, and highlights the efforts of pediatricians, therapists, and educators using the best evidence-based interventions to help children exposed to chronic stress. New Haven Public Schools and Clifford Beers Clinic are among those featured in the film.
Then, in the spring, CSCH co-sponsored a symposium on trauma-informed schools attended by more than 100 education, mental health, and community leaders, including an introduction by Connecticut Department of Education (CT DOE) Commissioner Dianna Wentzell. The Neag School of Education, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), CT DOE, Ana Grace Project, Clifford Beers Clinic and the Child Health Development Institute (CHDI) collaborated with CSCH on the conference.
Throughout this fall, Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) and Clifford Beers Clinic have sponsored five additional screenings of Resilience, coupled with panel discussions across the state, in response to educators’ overwhelming interest in learning about trauma-informed approaches. The professional development opportunities have been offered in Hampton, New London, Cheshire, Norwalk, and Torrington. Chafouleas and Forrester have each participated on many of the panels.
And a working group consisting of the symposium collaborators and additional organizations continues to meet monthly to discuss what a state model for trauma-informed schools should look like in Connecticut and to create an action plan for developing it. Chafouleas said the working group is using a multi-tiered service delivery framework such as the one presented in her blueprint as a guide, but each partner also brings its own experiences and expertise to the process.
Chafouleas said a number of CSCH’s partners have indicated they are pleased to have UConn at the table committed to working with them, from helping to identify the best-evidence based policies and practices to eventually guiding effective implementation of the model and evaluating how it is working.