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The mission of The Methodology Center is to advance public health by improving experimental design and data analysis in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. 

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Susan Murphy, 2013 MacArthur Fellow

Susan Murphy 2013 MacArthur Fellow


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Recent News

July 23, 2014

Linda Collins TEDx Talk on Behavioral Interventions

Behaviors such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, and risky sex lead to illnesses that cost millions of lives and billions of dollars worldwide every year. Interventions designed to reduce these behaviors have tremendous potential to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve public health, but currently they are not reaching their full potential.

 
Methodology Center Director Linda Collins believes we can do better. In an eleven-minute talk at TEDxPSU in March, “Reducing smoking deaths: Is it rocket science?” Linda proposes using engineering methods to build more potent, efficient, and scalable behavioral interventions. She illustrates how this can be done by comparing our national effort to reduce smoking to our national effort to put a person on the moon. Though the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), an engineering-inspired approach to development, optimization, and evaluation of behavioral interventions developed by Dr. Collins and other Center scientists, is not explicitly discussed, the talk lays out its rationale.
 

June 2, 2014

David Conroy

In our latest podcast, host Aaron Wagner interviews David Conroy, professor of kinesiology and human development and family studies at Penn State, and investigator at The Methodology Center. The discussion focuses on David’s research on physical activity and sedentary behavior, how physical activity impacts our lives, and the technological opportunities and methodological challenges of this research. David’s multiple, fascinating projects with other Methodology Center investigators are also discussed.

Download Podcast 18

May 22, 2014

Stephanie LanzaMegan PiperSaul ShiffmanA recently published special issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research explores the use of ecological momentary assessments (EMA) in smoking research. The issue, “New Methods for Advancing Research on Tobacco Dependence Using Ecological Momentary Assessments,” was edited by Stephanie Lanza, scientific director of The Methodology Center, Megan Piper, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin department of  medicine and lead researcher at the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, and Saul Shiffman, professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

 

In their editorial, Elizabeth Ginexi, William Riley, Audie Atienza, and Patricia L. Mabry of the National Institutes of Health discuss the promise that these methods hold for behavioral health research outside of smoking research. The specific methods featured in the issue include time-varying effect models (TVEMs), multilevel models and their extension to predict intra-individual variability, and dynamical systems models. The special issue also includes studies that rely on data integration, specifically to integrate functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) data and global positioning system (GPS) data with EMA. If you work with or want to learn more about EMA data, this issue has something to offer.

 

The issue was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The article was generated due to the strong response to a preconference workshop at the 2012 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Annual Meeting. Presentations from the workshop can be found on The Methodology Center website.  A link to the table of contents of the special issue can be found below. 

 

Open the special issue.

Stephanie LanzaDonna CoffmanLinda Collins

April 23, 2014

Several Methodology Center principal investigators are being recognized this spring.  At the 2014 Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting, Methodology Center Director Linda Collins was named a Fellow of SBM for her contributions to behavioral medicine. The Society for Prevention Research (SPR) has awarded Donna Coffman the Early Career Award for her outstanding research contributions to prevention science. SPR also recognized Scientific Director Stephanie Lanza with the Friend of Early Career Prevention Network (ECPN) award, which is presented for “promoting training, funding, or early career involvement in prevention efforts; or encouraging early career preventionists in their work”. Congratulations to all three!

 

Read more about Linda’s work on optimizing behavioral interventions, Donna’s work on causal inference, or Stephanie’s work on latent class analysis.


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