Health Promotion and Policy Faculty Publication Series

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 17
  • Publication
    The Massachusetts public health data warehouse and the opioid epidemic: A qualitative study of perceived strengths and limitations for advancing research
    (2022-01-01) Evans, Elizabeth A.; Delorme, Elizabeth; Cyr, Karl D.; Geissler, Kimberly H.
    Due to the opioid overdose epidemic, Massachusetts created a Public Health Data Warehouse, encompassing individually-linked administrative data on most of the population as provided by more than 20 systems. As others seek to assemble and mine big data on opioid use, there is a need to consider its research utility. To identify perceived strengths and limitations of administrative big data, we collected qualitative data in 2019 from 39 stakeholders with knowledge of the Massachusetts Public Health Data Warehouse. Perceived strengths included the ability to: (1) detect new and clinically significant relationships; (2) observe treatments and services across institutional boundaries, broadening understanding of risk and protective factors, treatment outcomes, and intervention effectiveness; (3) use geographic-specific lenses for community-level health; (4) conduct rigorous “real-world” research; and (5) generate impactful findings that legitimize the scope and impacts of the opioid epidemic and answer urgent questions. Limitations included: (1) oversimplified information and imprecise measures; (2) data access and analysis challenges; (3) static records and substantial lag times; and (4) blind spots that bias or confound results, mask upstream or root causes, and contribute to incomplete understanding. Using administrative big data to conduct research on the opioid epidemic offers advantages but also has limitations which, if unrecognized, may undermine its utility. Findings can help researchers to capitalize on the advantages of big data, and avoid inappropriate uses, and aid states that are assembling big data to guide public health practice and policy.
  • Publication
    Family Support and Readiness to Consider Smoking Cessation among Chinese and Vietnamese American Male Smokers
    (2021-01-01) Daniel, Joan A.; Kim-Mozeleski, Jin E.; Poudel, Krishna C.; Sun, Angela; Burke, Nancy J.; Tsoh, Janice Y.
    Introduction. Smoking prevalence is disproportionately high among Asian American immigrant men with limited English proficiency. Understanding the role of family support may provide insights into culturally acceptable strategies to promote smoking cessation. Aims. This study examined how family support was associated with readiness to consider smoking cessation among Chinese and Vietnamese American male daily smokers. Methods. We analyzed baseline data (N = 340) from a cluster randomized trial of a family-based healthy lifestyle intervention. We assessed the frequency of receiving family support in various forms (encouraging use of cessation resources, praising efforts, checking in, and reminding of familial role). Multiple regression analysis was used to determine associations between family support areas and readiness to consider smoking cessation, controlling for covariates. Results/Findings. Reporting a higher frequency of receiving praise and encouragement for one’s efforts to quit was positively associated with readiness to consider cessation. Other areas of family support were not significant. Conclusions. These findings provide evidence to explore specific areas of family support in enhancing Asian American smokers’ readiness to consider cessation. As there is high interest from Asian American family members to support their smokers for quitting, culturally specific and acceptable strategies are needed to promote smoking cessation among Asian Americans.
  • Publication
    Pubertal development and risk of premenstrual disorders in young adulthood
    (2021-01-01) Lu, Donghao; Alenaviciute, Jurate; Bjarnason, Ragnar; Valdimarsdóttir, Unnur A.; Bertone-Johnson, Elizabeth R.
    STUDY QUESTION Is pubertal timing associated with risk of premenstrual disorders (PMDs) in young adulthood? SUMMARY ANSWER Late pubertal development is associated with decreased premenstrual symptom burden and risk of PMDs in young adulthood. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY PMDs, including premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, may begin during the teenage years. Few risk factors in early life have been identified for PMD development. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION A prospective cohort study of 6495 female participants during 1996–2013. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS We included participants from the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). Pubertal development was indicated by the timing of menarche, breast and pubic hair growth. Self-reported age at menarche was longitudinally assessed at enrollment (in 1996/2004 for GUTS I/II) and onwards, and classified as early (age ≤ mean − SD, 11.64 years), normative and late menarche (age ≥ mean + SD, 13.95 years). Timing of pubic hair and breast growth were assessed multiple times during follow-up via Tanner scales, and classified into early, normative and late development according to mean ± SD. Using a validated questionnaire based on the Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences, we assessed premenstrual symptoms and identified probable cases of PMDs in 2013. We examined the associations of timing of pubertal development with premenstrual symptom score and disorders using multivariable linear and logistic regressions, respectively. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE In 2013 (mean age = 26), 1001 (15.4%) individuals met criteria for a PMD. An inverse association was found between age at menarche and premenstrual symptom z-score (β −0.05 per year, 95% CI −0.07 to −0.03) and risk of PMDs (odds ratio (OR) 0.93 per year, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.99). Compared to individuals with normative menarche, individuals with late menarche had a lower risk of PMDs (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.91), while individuals with early menarche had comparable odds (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.18). Moreover, early growth of pubic hair was associated with increased premenstrual symptoms (z-score β 0.09 per year, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.17) and PMD risk (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.56), independent of age at menarche. No associations were noted for breast development. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION One major limitation is some misclassification of menarche due to recall. We, however, showed robust association among participants who were premenarcheal at baseline. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS Our findings suggest that pubertal timing, particularly timing of menarche, is inversely associated with the risk of developing premenstrual symptoms in young adulthood, and that women with later menarche have significantly lower risk of PMDs. Information on PMDs should be provided to teenage girls and their parents. If these findings are confirmed in independent populations, prevention strategies and early detection programs may be considered for women with early pubertal development. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) The work is supported by the National Institutes of Health and Swedish Research Council. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER N/A
  • Publication
    Incidence of Pediatric Cannabis Exposure Among Children and Teenagers Aged 0 to 19 Years Before and After Medical Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts
    (2019-01-01) Whitehill, Jennifer M.; Harrington, Calla; Lang, Cheryl J.; Chary, Michael; Bhutta, Waqaas A.; Burns, Michael D.
    Importance Pediatric health care contacts due to cannabis exposure increased in Colorado and Washington State after cannabis (marijuana) policies became more liberal, but evidence from other US states is limited. Objective To document the incidence of pediatric cannabis exposure cases reported to the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention (RPC) before and after medical marijuana legalization (MML) in Massachusetts. Design, Setting, and Participants Cross-sectional comparison of pediatric cannabis exposure cases 4 years before and after MML in Massachusetts. The exposure cases included those of 218 children and teenagers aged between 0 and 19 years, as reported to the RPC from 2009 to 2016. Census data were used to determine the incidence. Data analysis was performed from November 12, 2018, to July 20, 2019. Exposure Cannabis products. Main Outcomes and Measures Incidence of RPC-reported cannabis exposure cases, both single substance and polysubstance, for the age group of 0 to 19 years, and cannabis product type, coingestants, and clinical effects. Results During the 8-year study period (2009-2016), the RPC received 218 calls involving cannabis exposure (98 single substance, 120 polysubstance) in children and teenagers aged 0 to 19 years, representing 0.15% of all RPC calls in that age group for that period. Of the total exposure cases, males accounted for 132 (60.6%) and females 86 (39.4%). The incidence of single-substance cannabis calls increased from 0.4 per 100 000 population before MML to 1.1 per 100 000 population after (incidence rate ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-3.9), a 140% increase. The age group of 15 to 19 years had the highest frequency of RPC-reported cannabis exposures (178 calls [81.7%]). The proportion of all RPC calls due to single-substance cannabis exposure increased overall for all age groups from 29 before MML to 69 afterward. Exposure to edible products increased after MML for most age groups. Conclusions and Relevance Pediatric cannabis exposure cases increased in Massachusetts after medical marijuana was legalized in 2012, despite using childproof packaging and warning labels. This study provides additional evidence suggesting that MML may be associated with an increase in cannabis exposure cases among very young children, and extends prior work showing that teenagers are also experiencing increased cannabis-related health system contacts via the RPC. Additional efforts are needed to keep higher-potency edible products and concentrated extracts from children and teenagers, especially considering the MML and retail cannabis sales in an increasing number of US states.
  • Publication
    Shifting to Virtual CBPR Protocols in the Time of Corona Virus/COVID-19
    (2020-01-01) Valdez, Elizabeth Salerno; Gubrium, Aline
    COVID-19 has upended community based participatory research (CBPR) projects across the United States and globally. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts historically disenfranchised communities and communities of color, the very communities that CBPR is meant to engage, elevate, and support. In-person activities that help develop rapport and research protocols, build capacity, conduct collaborative data collection and analysis, disseminate findings to the community, and engage in sustainability planning are an impossible practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this article is to describe the challenges and facilitators of shifting to a virtual/online CBPR protocol with a Massachusetts community disproportionately affected by COVID19, as a means to keep them engaged in the research process and to elevate their experiences, perspectives, and voices during this critical time. We include insights about how to facilitate recruitment and compensate community members, form a community advisory board (CAB), hold CAB meetings, and transition participatory qualitative data collection, analysis, and dissemination to a virtual/online framework.