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1.  Influence of a National Cancer Institute transdisciplinary research and training initiative on trainees' transdisciplinary research competencies and scholarly productivity 
ABSTRACT
Over the past several decades, there has been burgeoning interest and investment in large transdisciplinary (TD) team science initiatives that aim to address complex societal problems. Despite this trend, TD training opportunities in the health sciences remain limited, and evaluations of these opportunities are even more uncommon due to funding constraints. We had the unique opportunity to conduct an exploratory study to examine the potential outcomes and impacts of TD training in a National Cancer Institute-supported initiative for TD research and training—the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer I (TREC I) initiative. This study used a retrospective mixed-methods approach leveraging secondary analysis of existing data sources to learn about TREC trainees' experiences with TREC training, TD research competencies, changes in scholarly productivity, and the associations among these domains. Results indicated that, on average, TREC trainees were satisfied with their TREC mentoring experiences and believed that TREC training processes were effective, in general. Participation in TREC training was associated with TD research competencies, including TD research orientation, positive general attitude toward TD training, development of scientific skills for TD research, and intrapersonal/interpersonal competencies for collaboration. There was also a significant increase in trainees' scholarly productivity from before to after starting in TREC training, as indicated by average annual number of publications and presentations and average number of coauthors per publication. Perceived effectiveness of TREC training was positively correlated with change in average annual number of research presentations from before to after starting in TREC training (r = 0.65, p < 0.05, N = 12), as well as TD research orientation (r = 0.36, p < 0.05), general attitude toward TD training (0.39, p < 0.05), scientific skills for TD research (r = 0.45–0.48, p < 0.05), and perceived collaborative productivity at one's TREC center (r = 0.47, p < 0.01). Finally, a significant positive correlation was observed between multi-mentoring experiences and both TD research orientation (r = 0.58, p < 0.05) and perceived collaborative productivity at one's TREC center (r = 0.44, p < 0.05). This exploratory study had methodological constraints including the absence of a comparison group and cross-sectional rather than longitudinal data related to TD research competencies. Despite these limitations, the study provided an opportunity to use existing data sources to explore potential outcomes and impacts of TD training and inform development of future rigorous evaluations of TD training. Overall, findings suggest that TD training in the context of a TD research initiative can provide satisfying training opportunities that support the development of TD research competencies and promote scholarly productivity.
doi:10.1007/s13142-012-0173-0
PMCID: PMC3717930  PMID: 24073146
Transdisciplinary; Interdisciplinary; Education; Training; Multi-mentoring
2.  Association Between Perceived Food Environment and Self-Efficacy for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among US Adults, 2007 
Consumption of diets high in fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases, and self-efficacy and the food environment influence consumption of fruits and vegetables. We analyzed data from 3,021 non-Hispanic white (n = 2,187) and non-Hispanic black (n = 834) US adults who responded to National Cancer Institute's 2007 Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey to assesss self-efficacy and perception of the food environment. Adults who perceived that it was easy to obtain fruits and vegetables when they ate out reported greater self-efficacy to consume fruits and vegetables than did participants who did not have this perception (odds ratio [OR] = 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-1.97). However, adults who perceived that fruits were not available at restaurants where they ate out (OR = 0.65, 95% CI, 0.50-0.86) or that other (ie, non–fast food) restaurants offered enough choices of fruits and vegetables on their menus (OR = 0.76, 95% CI, 0.61-0.97) reported lower self-efficacy to consume fruits and vegetables than did participants who did not have these perceptions. Findings suggest that perceptions about availability of fruits and vegetables in restaurants are important to promote self-efficacy for consuming fruits and vegetables among adults.
PMCID: PMC3277397  PMID: 22172177
3.  Neighborhood Characteristics, Adherence to Walking, and Depressive Symptoms in Midlife African American Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(8):1201-1210.
Abstract
Background
African American women have more symptoms of depressed mood than white women. Adverse neighborhood conditions may contribute to these symptoms. Although reductions in depressive symptoms with physical activity have been demonstrated in white adults, little research has examined the mental health benefits of physical activity in African American women. Further, it is unknown whether physical activity can offset the effects of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods on depressive symptoms. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among neighborhood characteristics, adherence to a physical activity intervention, and change over time in depressive symptoms in midlife African American women.
Methods
Two hundred seventy-eight women participated in a home-based, 24-week moderate-intensity walking intervention. Either a minimal treatment (MT) or enhanced treatment (ET) version of the intervention was randomly assigned to one of the two community health centers. Walking adherence was measured as the percentage of prescribed walks completed. Objective and perceived measures of neighborhood deterioration and crime were included.
Results
Adjusting for demographics, body mass index (BMI), and depressive symptoms at baseline, walking adherence and objective neighborhood deterioration were associated with significantly lower depressive symptoms, whereas perceived neighborhood deterioration was associated with significantly higher depressive symptoms at 24 weeks.
Conclusions
Adherence to walking as well as aspects of the environment may influence depressive symptoms in African American women. In addition to supporting active lifestyles, improving neighborhood conditions may also promote mental health among African American women.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1168
PMCID: PMC2825683  PMID: 19630546
4.  Neighborhood Environment and Adherence to a Walking Intervention in African-American Women 
This secondary analysis examined relationships between the environment and adherence to a walking intervention among 252 urban and suburban midlife African-American women. Participants received an enhanced or minimal behavioral intervention. Walking adherence was measured as the percentage of prescribed walks completed. Objective measures of the women’s neighborhoods included: walkability (land use mix, street intersection density, housing unit density, public transit stop density), aesthetics (physical deterioration, industrial land use), availability of outdoor (recreational open space) and indoor (recreation centers, shopping malls) walking facilities/spaces, and safety (violent crime incidents). Ordinary least squares regression estimated relationships. We found presence of one and especially both types of indoor walking facilities were associated with greater adherence. No associations were found between adherence and the other environmental variables. The effect of the enhanced intervention on adherence did not differ by environmental characteristics. Aspects of the environment may influence African-American women who want to be more active.
doi:10.1177/1090198108321249
PMCID: PMC2726823  PMID: 18669878
African Americans; Neighborhood; Walking
5.  A Weight Loss Intervention for African American Breast Cancer Survivors, 2006 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2008;6(1):A22.
Introduction
Breast cancer survival rates are lower for African American women than for white women. Obesity, high-fat diets, and lack of regular physical activity increase risk for breast cancer recurrence, comorbid conditions, and premature death. Eighty-two percent of African American women are overweight or obese, partly because of unhealthy eating and exercise patterns. Although successful weight loss and lifestyle interventions for breast cancer survivors are documented, none has considered the needs of African American breast cancer survivors. This study assessed the feasibility and impact of Moving Forward, a culturally tailored weight loss program for African American breast cancer survivors.
Methods
The study used a pre-post design with a convenience sample of 23 African American breast cancer survivors. The 6-month intervention was theory-based and incorporated qualitative data from focus groups with the targeted community, urban African American breast cancer survivors. Data on weight, body mass index (BMI), diet, physical activity, social support, and quality of life were collected at baseline and at 6 months.
Results
After the intervention, we noted significant differences in weight, BMI, dietary fat intake, vegetable consumption, vigorous physical activity, and social support.
Conclusion
This is the first published report of Moving Forward, a weight loss intervention designed for African American breast cancer survivors. Although a randomized trial is needed to establish efficacy, the positive results of this intervention suggest that this weight loss intervention may be feasible for African American breast cancer survivors. Lifestyle interventions may reduce the disparities in breast cancer mortality rates.
PMCID: PMC2644600  PMID: 19080028

Results 1-5 (5)