Winter 2019 Newsletter

BRP Program Director Anne Hartman applauds at the NCI Director’s Awards ceremony in November 2018. Find a list of BRP honorees in the “Recognitions” section below.

Funding Opportunities and News

Administrative Supplement for Research on Sex/Gender Influences
Administrative Supplement Clinical Trial Optional; PA-19-165
NCI contact: Crystal Wolfrey
Posted: January 17, 2019
Expires: February 21, 2019

NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award
F99/K00; RFA-CA-19-002
NCI contact: Michele McGuirl
Posted: September 14, 2018
Expires: February 23, 2019

Accelerating the Pace of Child Health Research Using Existing Data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study
R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed; PAR-19-162
R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed; PAR-19-163
BRP contact: Glen Morgan
Posted: January 9, 2019
Expires: September 8, 2021

Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Drug Abuse Research
R21 Clinical Trial Optional; PAR-19-064
BRP contact: Kelly Blake
Posted: November 9, 2018
Expires: November 9, 2021

Notice of NCI Participation in PAR-19-064 describes specific interests of NCI in this area of research (December 19, 2018)

Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health and Health Disparities
R01 Clinical Trial Optional; PAR-19-093
BRP contact: April Oh
Posted: November 28, 2018
Expires: March 5, 2021

Improving Outcomes for Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors
U01 Clinical Trial Required; RFA-CA-19-033
DCCPS contacts: Sandra Mitchell and Danielle Daee
Posted: January 11, 2019
Expires: January 4, 2020
Pre-application webinar

Nutrition and Alcohol-Related Health Outcomes
R01; PA-17-211
BRP contact: Tanya Agurs-Collins
Posted: March 9, 2017
Expires: May 8, 2020

Notice of Amendment of PA-17-211 describes specific interests of NCI in this area of research (November 20, 2018)

Notice of Interest in Long-term Maintenance of Behavior Change Research

Testing if and how behavior change is maintained often requires longer-term follow-up than what can be done within a single NIH grant timeframe. To encourage that research, a number of NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, including the National Cancer Institute, are interested in competitive renewal (type 2) applications that propose continued research with participants from a previously-funded behavioral intervention to study behavior change. To propose a project, contact the program director associated with the original grant. Learn more.

Request for Input on Revised Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) invites your input on a revised definition of behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). The field has evolved since the definition was created in 1996, and an updated definition will improve NIH's ability to describe, assess, and monitor NIH BSSR funding. Submit your input by February 22 exit disclaimer.

Peer review Q&A for NIH applicants

The NIH Center for Scientific Review recently compiled responses to the Top 10 questions they receive from NIH grant applicants. Learn about the biggest problems reviewers find in applications, what to do if you don’t like the review group your application was placed in, and answers to other queries. If you’re really curious, you can also read the Top 100 NIH Peer Review Q&As. Get the answers »

NCI Budget Fact Book

The recently released annual NCI Budget Fact Book provides a summary of the distribution of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget among the various NCI research programs and funding mechanisms. The NCI budget increased by 5% from Fiscal Year 2017, totaling $5.94 billion. There are also data for extramural programs, historical trends, and figures regarding the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Get more information »

Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) grant awarded to BRP/TCRB grantees

NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) recently announced nine institutions that were awarded Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) grants for FY2018-2022, and four of the U54 center grants are assigned to BRP’s Tobacco Control Research Branch. The four are: 1) University of Michigan (with Georgetown University), with PIs Rafael Meza and David Levy [also Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) PIs]; 2) University of Pennsylvania (with Rutgers University), with PIs Andrew Strasser and Cristine Delnevo; 3) University of Southern California, with PIs Mary Ann Pentz and Adam Leventhal; and 4) Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (with University of Rochester), with PIs Richard O’Connor and Maciej Goniewicz.


Election to National Academy of Medicine

BRP grantee Alex Krist was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine for “pioneering the discovery of active patient engagement informatics solutions, including the invention of MyPreventiveCare, expertise at translating evidence into practice and policy, and serving as a trusted adviser on several national committees and task forces.”

AJPM 2017 Article of the Year award

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) selected a paper from a BRP-funded study by BRP grantee Brian Primack and colleagues for the AJPM 2017 Article of the Year award exit disclaimer, which is given to recognize outstanding contributions to the fields of preventive medicine and public health. Findings from the article, “Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S.”, were covered by National Public Radio (NPR) exit disclaimer, CNN exit disclaimer, Forbes exit disclaimer, and numerous other media platforms. The analysis was based on data collected as part of a study of waterpipe tobacco use among U.S. adolescents and young adults.

SRNT John Slade Award

BRP grantee Geoffrey Fong is set to receive the 2019 John Slade Award from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) exit disclaimer in February. The award honors SRNT members “who have made outstanding contributions to public health and tobacco control through science-based public policy and policy advocacy.”

NCI Director’s Awards

Several BRP staff and collaborators were recognized at the November 2018 NCI Director’s Awards ceremony:

In the News

Biological aging, cognitive performance linked in breast cancer survivors

A study on breast cancer, aging, and cognitive function whose team included BRP grantees Julienne Bower, Michael Irwin, and Patricia Ganz received coverage from Fortune exit disclaimer in November. The researchers surveyed breast cancer survivors who had completed treatment including chemotherapy and/or radiation, examining their DNA damage and telomerase activity and comparing the results with their cognitive function. “The results … suggest a significant association between measures of biological aging and objective measures of cognitive performance in survivors of breast cancer,” they wrote in their paper, “Cognitive performance in survivors of breast cancer and markers of biological aging,” which was published by Cancer in November.

Scientific Advances

Odds of cigarette use higher among gay and lesbian young adults in study

BRP grantee Carla Berg co-authored a study examining the prevalence of cigarette and alternative tobacco product use among U.S. young adults. The study used data from Project DECOY (Documenting Experiences with Cigarettes and Other Tobacco in Young Adults), a two-year longitudinal study of seven colleges and universities in Georgia. In the study, 34.7% of the men reported use of any tobacco product in the past 30 days (18.6% cigarettes, 12.3% little cigars/cigarillos [LCCs], 16.8% e-cigarettes, and 14.7% hookah), and 25.3% of the women did (10.4% cigarettes, 10.6% LCCs, 7.6% e-cigarettes, and 10.8% hookah). After controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, gay or lesbian sexual orientation was significantly associated with higher odds (OR = 1.62 and 1.61, respectively) of cigarette use.

Reference: Li, J., Haardörfer, R., Vu, M., Windle, M., Berg, C.J. Sex and sexual orientation in relation to tobacco use among young adult college students in the US: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health (2018).

Use of a clinical decision support tool to reduce child tobacco smoke exposure

BRP grantee Melinda Mahabee-Gittens led a study that examined the feasibility of having nurses use a clinical decision support system in an urgent care setting to advise, assess, and assist child caregivers to quit smoking. Of the 149 caregivers included in the study, study nurses advised 35.2% to quit, assessed 35.9% for readiness to quit, and assisted 32.4% who wished to quit with follow-up and cessation resources. At 3-month follow-up (86.6% retention), 58.9% reported quit attempts, and 7.8% had a self-reported quit. Overall, there was a significant decrease in nicotine dependence among caregivers and a significant increase in motivation to quit.

Reference: Mahabee-Gittens, E.M., Merianos, A.L., Dexheimer, J.W., Meyers, G.T., Stone, L., Tabangin, M., Khoury, J.C., Gordon, J.S. Utilization of a clinical decision support tool to reduce child tobacco smoke exposure in the urgent care setting. Pediatr Emerg Care (2018).

Tobacco cessation program addresses key cancer care gap, leaders write

DCCPS Director Robert Croyle, BRP Program Director Glen Morgan, and BRP grantee Michael Fiore wrote about NCI’s Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I) in a recent Perspective piece for the New England Journal of Medicine. C3I, a Cancer Moonshot℠ effort led by Dr. Morgan, provides funding to more than 40 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers to help them build and implement effective smoking cessation programs for cancer patients. (Find a map and list of all the funded C3I centers here.) In their article, the three highlight the lack of clinical and comprehensive cancer centers that offer such programs, note that cessation increases the success of cancer treatment and rates of recovery, and explain how C3I was launched in a nationwide effort to address that cancer care gap. Read more about their article in MedPage Today exit disclaimer, and learn more about C3I in a new NCI video in which the initiative’s leaders and representatives from funded cancer centers talk about their mission and how they are implementing tobacco cessation treatment in practice.

Reference: Croyle, R.T., Morgan, G.D., Fiore, M.C. Addressing a Core Gap in Cancer Care — The NCI Moonshot Program to Help Oncology Patients Stop Smoking. N Engl J Med (2019).

BRP staff, grantee work featured in journal’s special issue on eye-tracking

BRP Program Director Annette Kaufman was the lead author of the introduction, “A Vision for Eye-tracking Research in Tobacco Regulatory Science,” for Tobacco Regulatory Science journal’s special issue on eye tracking exit disclaimer. The purpose of the seven-article compilation of eye-tracking research is to heighten awareness of its application in tobacco regulatory science and to advance knowledge of consumer understanding of the diversity of advertising, marketing, and other communications about tobacco products. NIH-funded Tobacco Regulatory Science grantees are also featured throughout the issue.

Reference: Kaufman, A., Klein, E.G., Koblitz, A., Price, S. A Vision for Eye-tracking Research in Tobacco Regulatory Science exit disclaimer. Tob Regul Sci (2018)

Early first-time tobacco users see greater nicotine cravings, increased odds of current use

BRP Program Director Carolyn Reyes-Guzman and collaborators combined 2014-2016 data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a national representative cross-sectional survey of U.S. students in grades 6-12, and found that among ever tobacco users, the weighted median age for first-time tobacco use was 12.6 years for cigarettes, 13.8 years for cigars, 13.4 years for smokeless tobacco, 14.1 years for hookah, and 14.1 years for e-cigarettes. Overall, youth who initiated tobacco use at age 13 or younger experienced greater nicotine cravings and had an increased odds of current use for the respective tobacco product than those who initiated tobacco use after age 13.

Reference: Sharapova, S., Reyes-Guzman, C., Singh, T., Phillips, E., Marynak, K.L., Agaku, I. Age of tobacco use initiation and association with current use and nicotine dependence among US middle and high school students, 2014–2016. Tob Control (2018).

In study of sub-Saharan African countries, being HIV-positive associated with greater odds of smoking cigarettes

BRP Program Director Mark Parascandola, former BRP fellow Jack Murphy, and DCCPS colleague Benmei Liu used cross-sectional data from the Demographic and Health Surveys and AIDS Indicator Surveys from 25 sub-Saharan African countries to analyze the association between cigarette and smokeless tobacco use and HIV status. They found that, when controlling for other demographic and risk factors, being HIV-positive was associated with a 1.12 times greater odds of smoking cigarettes and 1.34 times greater odds of using smokeless tobacco as compared to those who were HIV-negative. The study also found that cigarette smoking prevalence was higher among populations with lower income, those with less education, and manual and agricultural laborers.

Reference: Murphy, J.D., Liu, B., Parascandola, M. Smoking and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: A 25-Country Analysis of the Demographic Health Surveys. Nicotine Tob Res (2018).

Food environment, weight loss just weakly associated in VA’s MOVE! program

In a BRP-funded study, Elizabeth Tarlov (lead author), Shannon Zenk, Lisa Powell, and collaborators estimated the effect of the VA’s MOVE! behavioral weight management program on body mass index after 6 months to determine whether the food environment had an impact on the program’s effectiveness. They found just a weak association between the food environment and participants’ weight loss, with differences between men and women.

Tarlov, E., Wing, C., Gordon, H.S., Matthews, S.A., Jones, K.K., Powell, L.M, Zenk, S.N. Does Effectiveness of Weight Management Programs Depend on the Food Environment? Health Serv Res (2018).

Pediatric Obesity highlights Healthy Communities Study (HCS)

Pediatric Obesity recently published a special issue on the Healthy Communities Study (HCS), a six-year NHLBI-led, NCI-co-funded study that aimed to understand how characteristics of community programs and policies relate to children's eating, physical activity behaviors, and health. The issue included work co-authored by BRP Deputy Associate Director Linda Nebeling and Program Director David Berrigan.

2018 Special Issue Supplement on the Healthy Communities Study (HCS). Pediatr Obes (2018).

Study designs, methods evaluated for stronger behavioral intervention research

In 2014, NIH sponsored a 2-day, cross-institute workshop to evaluate and disseminate study designs and analytic strategies for use in behavioral intervention research. A new article from BRP Branch Chief Susan Czajkowski and co-authors summarizes the methods discussed there and offers recommendations on how to use them to make such research more impactful and cost-effective. It includes updated references to illustrate their continued relevance.

Naar, S., Czajkowski, S.M., Spring, B. Innovative study designs and methods for optimizing and implementing behavioral interventions to improve health. Health Psychol (2018).

Prostate cancer survivors’ self-reported measures overestimate physical activity

In a study funded in part by BRP, Graham Colditz and collaborators tracked and compared self-reported and objectively-measured physical activity in prostate cancer patients before and after treatment. They found that the self-reported measures greatly overestimated moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and wrote that their findings “may imply that intensities of physical activity below moderate, such as light intensity, still have health benefits.”

Smith, L., Ae Lee, J., Mun, J., Pakpahan, R., Imm, K.R., Izadi, S., Kibel, A.S., Colditz, G.A., Grubb, R.L., Wolin, K.Y., Sutcliffe, S., Yang, L. Levels and patterns of self-reported and objectively-measured free-living physical activity among prostate cancer survivors: A prospective cohort study. Cancer (2018).

Literature on CGT testing communication lacks research on process, diverse populations

BRP Fellows Emily Peterson and Melinda (Mindy) Krakow, collaborator Anna Gaysynsky, Associate Director William Klein and Program Director Sylvia Chou and co-authors conducted a comprehensive scoping review of recent published research on communication of cancer-related genetic and genomic testing (CGT) information. Among other findings, they identified research gaps including a need for studies on the process of CGT communication, inclusion of diverse populations, and examination of behavioral, decision-making, and communication outcomes.

Kaphingst, K.A., Peterson, E., Zhao, J., Gaysynsky, A., Elrick, A.H., Hong, S.J., Krakow, M., Pokharel, M., Ratcliff, C.L., Klein, W.M.P., Khoury, M.J., Chou, W.S. Cancer communication research in the era of genomics and precision medicine: A scoping review. Genet Med (2018).

Research team writes about their experience in NCI’s SPRINT program

SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions (SPRINT) is a program that offers eligible NCI grantees real-world, hands-on training on how to successfully transform cancer control innovations into market-ready products. In a new paper, SPRINT participants Laundette Laundette Jones, Jimmie Slade, Felicia Davenport, Sherie Lou Santos, and Cheryl Knott report on their experiences in the program and how the insights they gained through SPRINT customer discovery interviews changed their plans for scale-up and dissemination. Their evidence-based intervention, Project HEAL, works through African-American faith-based organizations to increase cancer awareness and cancer screening behaviors.

Jones, L.P., Slade, J.L, Davenport, F., Santos, S.L.Z., Knott, C.L. Planning for Community Scale-Up of Project HEAL: Insights from the SPRINT Initiative. Health Promot Pract (2019).

Viewpoint suggests roadmap for addressing health-related misinformation on social media

Health-related misinformation on social media requires a proactive approach to understanding its prevalence and potential influence. In a Viewpoint piece for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), BRP Program Directors April Oh and Sylvia Chou and Associate Director William Klein outlined priorities in research, public health, and clinical practice, such as research on how to help clinicians respond to patients’ false beliefs or misperceptions and evaluation of potential links between exposure to misinformation and health behaviors and outcomes.

Chou, W.S., Oh, A., Klein, W.M.P. Addressing Health-Related Misinformation on Social Media. JAMA (2018).

Stories about harms of HPV vaccination may influence behavior more

Noel Brewer, who is part of an NCI-CDC Special Interest Project (SIP) focused on the development of multilevel health communication strategies to promote HPV vaccination in underserved or high-risk populations, worked with collaborators to examine parents’ exposure to stories about HPV vaccination in media and social interactions and the association between that exposure and vaccination behavior. Their findings suggest that stories of people who were harmed by the HPV vaccine may be associated more strongly with vaccination behavior than stories of people who got diseases the HPV vaccine could have prevented. “Communication campaigns should consider strategies to elevate stories of preventable diseases in social and traditional media,” they wrote.

Margolis, M.A., Brewer, N.T., Shah, P.D., Calo, W.A., Gilkey, M.B. Stories about HPV vaccine in social media, traditional media, and conversations. Prev Med (2019).

Career and Training Opportunities

FELLOWSHIP: Statistical Analysis, Measurement, and Informatics

The program invites applications from candidates with a master’s or Ph.D. to work in areas such as statistical methodology; novel data merges and linkages; innovative development and use of scientific measures; and promoting data system interoperability. Read the position description »

FELLOWSHIP: Communications

The program invites applications from candidates with expertise in communication, journalism, public health, behavioral science, or public administration to support four research branches. Read the position description »

Predoctoral Training in Advanced Data Analytics for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and participating NIH Institutes, including NCI, have launched a new training program to enhance quantitative training in behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). The vision for this program is to support the development of a cohort of specialized predoctoral candidates who will possess advanced competencies in data science analytics to apply to an increasingly complex landscape of behavioral and social health-related big data. To support networking opportunities for this new cohort of specialized predoctoral candidates, OBSSR intends to convene and facilitate cross-site exchanges among the investigators and trainees at the awarded sites. Read more about this new training grant program announcement »

NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research

NIH summer programs provide an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to the biomedical sciences, including behavioral and social sciences. High school through post-graduate students are eligible to apply. The application for the 2019 summer program is available now. Apply by March 1 »


New HINTS public-use data, video tutorials and briefs available now

HINTS 5, Cycle 2 (2018) is now available for download. This public-use data set includes new items such as communication needs around caregiving and palliative care and social support. In addition, a series of five new videos demonstrates how to merge data from HINTS for statistical analysis, and two new HINTS Briefs focus on Americans’ perceptions of cancer screening tests and U.S. adults’ beliefs about nicotine and low nicotine cigarettes. Learn more about the new HINTS tools »

Tobacco Use & Lung Cancer Map Story

The Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences recently released the Tobacco Use & Lung Cancer map story, the latest in its series of cancer topics presented in a visually engaging way. The map story uses interactive maps and graphs to illustrate incidence, mortality, survival, and cigarette use trends. It also offers evidence-based strategies for reducing tobacco consumption.

New SmokefreeVET Tool

The team has launched a new interactive tool to help veterans who get health care through the Veterans Health Administration (VA) become tobacco-free. The Quit for Good with Nicotine Replacement Therapy page distills the complex considerations involved in choosing and using nicotine replacement therapies (NRT). It offers a video with guidance on combining types of NRT, as well as a series of NRT facts and dosing information based on type of tobacco product and daily usage.

Resources for Researchers search tool

Resources for Researchers is an online directory of NCI-supported cancer research tools and services that consolidates access to resources from across NCI. The tool, which offers a progressive filtering search function, currently features more than 230 resources that were developed and maintained by NCI scientists or were created with grant funding. The tool will be formally launched at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in the spring, but researchers are encouraged to use the tool now and offer feedback.

NIH Rigor and Reproducibility web page

If you’re confused about NIH’s current rigor language, especially when addressing weaknesses in your grant applications, this resource is for you. The NIH Office of Extramural Research has updated its Rigor and Reproducibility web page with four distinct sub-pages that address relevant guidance, resources for preparing your application, training materials, and a timeline of NIH communications on rigor through Guide Notices, blog posts, and references. An NIH All About Grants podcast series also is available to help researchers better understand NIH’s Rigor and Transparency policy by describing how to address the key policy elements in an application, how they are considered during peer review, and annual progress reporting following award.

New HHS Physical Activity Guidelines and Move Your Way campaign

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Second Edition.

The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is based on the latest scientific evidence that shows that physical activity conveys even more health benefits than previously known. The guidelines include new guidance for preschool-aged children, new evidence about the immediate and longer-term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep, and additional health benefits related to brain health, prevention of eight types of cancer, and fall-related injuries. To accompany the updated Guidelines, the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created the Move Your Way campaign, with tools to help health professionals, communities, and stakeholders communicate with consumers about the latest recommendations.


TCRB presenting at the SRNT Pre-Conference Workshops

TCRB staff members Carolyn Reyes-Guzman, Gordon Willis, and Anne Hartman, among others, will be presenting at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Pre-Conference Workshops exit disclaimer on February 20 in San Francisco. Their presentation, “Understanding Tobacco Use Trends: Leveraging Harmonized Data from the U.S. Tobacco Use Supplement – Current Population Survey, 1992-2015,” will provide information on the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS)’s background, the harmonization process, and how investigators can access and analyze the data. See the full schedule of TCRB staff and fellows at SRNT »

March 6-9 – Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting

Many BRP staff and fellows will be attending and presenting at SBM’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., participating in symposia, seminars, roundtable discussions, oral and poster presentations, meetings of special interest groups, and more. Find a full schedule of their events »

May 15-17 – NIH Regional Grants Seminar

An NIH Regional Seminar will be held in May in Baltimore, Maryland. The 2-day seminar and optional workshops are for people who are new to working with the NIH grants process, such as administrators, early-stage investigators, researchers, and graduate students. Topics include budget basics, the peer review process, grant writing, and much more. It is an excellent opportunity to make direct contact with NIH policy officials, grants management, and program and review staff. In addition, attendees can participate in 15-minute “Meet the Expert” chats to get more specific questions answered by NIH & HHS experts. 

*Rescheduled!* May 22-23 – HINTS Data Users Conference

After being canceled in September 2018 because of Hurricane Florence, the fifth HINTS Data Users Conference is back on and set to be held May 22-23 in Bethesda, Maryland. The meeting is an opportunity to present and discuss research using Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) data and to highlight the role of HINTS research in public health and clinical care. Learn more and register by May 17 »

Visit the archive page to view other Scientific News from the Behavioral Research Program newsletters.

Last Updated
July 14, 2022