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1.  Recruiting and motivating black subjects to complete a lengthy survey in a large cohort study: an exploration of different strategies 
The effectiveness of multiple innovative recruitment strategies for enrolling Black/African American participants to the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) is described. The study’s focus is diet and breast, prostate and colon cancer.
Promotions centered on trust, relationship building and incentives for increasing enrollment and questionnaire return rate. Of the sub-studies described, one had a randomized control group, and the others, informal controls. The subjects are from all states of the U.S. and some provinces of Canada. The offer of a Black art piece, follow-up calls, a competitive tournament as well as other strategies accounted for nearly 3,000 additional returns even though they were often used in small subsets.
Flexibility and multiple strategies proved advantageous in gaining the cooperation of Blacks, who are usually reluctant to participate in research studies.
Lessons learned during initial enrollment should help us retain our final Black cohort of 26,000, and obtain new information when required.
PMCID: PMC3992147  PMID: 24708740
Black; African American; Enrollment; Recruitment; Promotion; Re-promotion; Revisit; Multiple strategies; Incentives; Sub-studies
2.  Risk Factor Profiles among Intravenous Drug Using Young Adults: A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) Approach 
Addictive behaviors  2012;38(3):1804-1811.
Using data from a cross-sectional study that examined health risk behaviors among urban intravenous drug-using (IDU) adolescents and young adults, this study investigated risk profiles among a high-risk sample (n=274). Risk profiles were empirically derived through latent class analysis based on indicators of engagement in health-risking behaviors, experience of abuse and violence as well as individual and family risk factors. The best fitting model was a 3-class model. Class 1 (n=95) captured participants with the lowest risk across all indicators. Compared to Class 1, Class 2 (n=128) and Class 3 (n=51) had elevated rates of engagement in health-risking behaviors as well as individual and family risk factors; however, Class 3 had the highest rate of engagement in sexual risk behavior, and backgrounds of substantial abuse and violence as well as familial psychopathology. Class 2 was the group most socioeconomically disadvantaged, with the highest percentage of participants coming from poor backgrounds, spending the longest time homeless and working the fewest months. Identifying subgroups of IDU has the potential to guide the development of more targeted and effective strategies for prevention and treatment of this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC3628814  PMID: 23254231
intra-venous drug use; young adults; latent class analysis; risk factor profiles
3.  En Balance 
The Diabetes educator  2012;38(5):10.1177/0145721712457249.
This study was designed to assess the feasibility of culturally and language-sensitive diabetes education as a way to increase physical activity and to improve health/diabetes management in a group of Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the Inland Empire region of Southern California.
En Balance is a culturally sensitive diabetes education program designed for Spanish-speaking Hispanic adults. The 3-month educational intervention assessed 16 males and 23 females living in Riverside and San Bernardino counties of Southern California. Baseline and 3-month evaluations of physical activity were assessed using the validated Arizona Activity Frequency Questionnaire.
After 3 months on the En Balance program, there was a significant increase in moderate intensity physical activity energy expenditure (M = 368 ± 894 kcal/day, P < 0.01) and high intensity physical activity energy expenditure (M = 405 ± 2569 kcal/day, P = 0.05) compared to baseline and significant reductions in A1C (−0.90%, P = 0.01), total cholesterol (−13.44 mg/dl, P = 0.01), LDL cholesterol (−10.28 mg/dl, P = 0.03), and waist circumference (−1.52 cm, P = 0.04).
En Balance program resulted in significant mean increases in both moderate and high intensity physical activity energy expenditure among this group of Hispanic diabetic participants, indicating that despite a general pattern of low physical activity in this group, an intervention that stresses both nutrition and exercise in culturally sensitive ways can positively impact participant’s physical activity levels as well as impact nutritional changes.
PMCID: PMC3885415  PMID: 22968219
Hispanic; diabetes; education; physical activity; glucose control
4.  Practices, Attitudes, and Beliefs associated with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use among Cancer Patients 
Integrative cancer therapies  2012;11(3):10.1177/1534735411433832.
The high prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among cancer patients (40 – 83%) receiving conventional treatment and the complex relationship between the psychosocial factors that may contribute to or result from CAM use requires further understanding. We conducted a descriptive mixed-methods pilot study to understand CAM practices, attitudes and beliefs among cancer patients at the Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC).
This was the qualitative phase of the study and no hypotheses were set. Twenty-three face-to-face interviews were conducted and thematic coding was used to analyze 22 interview transcriptions. There were fourteen CAM users (64%) and eight non-users (36%).
The themes present among those who used CAM were: physicians viewed as one aspect of health care options, a holistic view on wellbeing, satisfaction with CAM use, and three key coping methods (confrontive, supportive, and optimistic) to confront cancer. Themes were not independent of each other. Two themes were present among nonusers; nonusers trusted their physician and were more likely to express evasive coping methods.
Perceptions and behavioral patterns are complex predictors of CAM use. A better understanding of CAM, medical pluralism, and the perceptions of patients would help health care providers deliver a better quality of care. The promotion of integrative care may help health care providers better identify medical pluralism and would shift focus to patient-centered care.
PMCID: PMC3873860  PMID: 22313741
CAM; medical pluralism; integrative medicine; perceptions among cancer patients; coping methods; thematic coding
5.  Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Youth in the Child Welfare System 
Children and youth services review  2009;31(9):990-1000.
This study uses data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to provide estimates of sexual risk behaviors for 877 youth, age 11–14 at baseline, in the child welfare system. It examines the association between baseline psychosocial risk and protective factors on engagement in sexual risk behaviors after 36 months. It further compares rates of sexual risk behaviors between youth placed in out-of-home care and those who remained with their biological family. Key findings include a high rate of pregnancy, a high percentage of youth who initiated sexual activity at or before age 13 as well as a limited role of protective factors in moderating sexual risk behaviors. A history of placement into out-of-home care is not significantly associated with greater engagement in sexual risk behaviors. Implications for intervention development and child welfare policy for this population are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3628813  PMID: 23606780
6.  Validation of nutrient intake using an FFQ and repeated 24 h recalls in black and white subjects of the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) 
Public health nutrition  2009;13(6):812-819.
To validate a 204-item quantitative FFQ for measurement of nutrient intake in the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2).
Calibration study participants were randomly selected from the AHS-2 cohort by church, and then subject-within-church. Each participant provided two sets of three weighted 24 h dietary recalls and a 204-item FFQ. Race-specific correlation coefficients (r), corrected for attenuation from within-person variation in the recalls, were calculated for selected energy-adjusted macro- and micronutrients.
Adult members of the AHS-2 cohort geographically spread throughout the USA and Canada.
Calibration study participants included 461 blacks of American and Caribbean origin and 550 whites.
Calibration study subjects represented the total cohort very well with respect to demographic variables. Approximately 33 % were males. Whites were older, had higher education and lower BMI compared with blacks. Across fifty-one variables, average deattenuated energy-adjusted validity correlations were 0·60 in whites and 0·52 in blacks. Individual components of protein had validity ranging from 0·40 to 0·68 in blacks and from 0·63 to 0·85 in whites; for total fat and fatty acids, validity ranged from 0·43 to 0·75 in blacks and from 0·46 to 0·77 in whites. Of the eighteen micronutrients assessed, sixteen in blacks and sixteen in whites had deattenuated energy-adjusted correlations ≥0·4, averaging 0·60 and 0·53 in whites and blacks, respectively.
With few exceptions validity coefficients were moderate to high for macronutrients, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre. We expect to successfully use these data for measurement error correction in analyses of diet and disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3417357  PMID: 19968897
Epidemiological methods; Ethnic groups; Questionnaires; Validation studies
7.  Effect of Consumption of Dried California Mission Figs on Lipid Concentrations 
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism  2011;58(3):232-238.
Figs are a rich source of soluble fiber. We evaluated the effect of consuming dried California Mission figs on serum lipids in hyperlipidemic adults.
In a crossover trial men and women aged 30–75 years with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (100–189 mg/dl) were randomized to add dried California Mission figs (120 g/day) to their usual diet for 5 weeks or eat their usual diet for 5 weeks, then crossed over to the other condition for another 5 weeks. Six 24-hour dietary recalls were obtained.
Low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations did not differ between usual and figs-added diets (Bonferroni-corrected p > 0.017), while total cholesterol tended to increase with fig consumption (p = 0.02). Total cholesterol increased in participants (n = 41) randomized to usual followed by figs-added diet (p = 0.01), but remained unchanged in subjects (n = 42) who started with figs-added followed by usual diet (p = 0.4). During the figs-added diet, soluble fiber intake was 12.6 ± 3.7 versus 8.2 ± 4.1 g/day in the usual diet (p < 0.0001). Sugar intake increased from 23.4 ± 6.5 to 32.2 ± 6.3% of kcal in the figs-added diet (p < 0.0001). Body weight did not change (p = 0.08).
Daily consumption of figs did not reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Triglyceride concentrations were not significantly changed despite an increase in sugar intake.
PMCID: PMC3169356  PMID: 21811062
Figs; Dietary fiber; Hypercholesterolemia; Dietary intake; Lipids
8.  Waterpipe smoking and nicotine exposure: A review of the current evidence 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2007;9(10):987-994.
The waterpipe, also known as shisha, hookah, narghile, goza, and hubble bubble, has long been used for tobacco consumption in the Middle East, India, and parts of Asia, and more recently has been introduced into the smokeless tobacco market in western nations. We reviewed the published literature on waterpipe use to estimate daily nicotine exposure among adult waterpipe smokers. We identified six recent studies that measured the nicotine or cotinine levels associated with waterpipe smoking in four countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, and India). Four of these studies directly measured nicotine or cotinine levels in human subjects. The remaining two studies used smoking machines to measure the nicotine yield in smoking condensate produced by the waterpipe. Meta-analysis of the human data indicated that daily use of the waterpipe produced a 24-hr urinary cotinine level of 0.785 μg/ml (95% CI = 0.578–0.991 μg/ml), a nicotine absorption rate equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes/day (95% CI = 7–13 cigarettes/day). Even among subjects who were not daily waterpipe smokers, a single session of waterpipe use produced a urinary cotinine level that was equivalent to smoking two cigarettes in one day. Estimates of the nicotine produced by waterpipe use can vary because of burn temperature, type of tobacco, waterpipe design, individual smoking pattern, and duration of the waterpipe smoking habit. Our quantitative synthesis of the limited human data from four nations indicates that daily use of waterpipes produces nicotine absorption of a magnitude similar to that produced by daily cigarette use.
PMCID: PMC3276363  PMID: 17943617
9.  Recruiting Black Americans in a Large Cohort Study: The Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) Design, Methods and Participant Characteristics 
Ethnicity & disease  2010;20(4):437-443.
The goal of the prospective Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) was to examine the relationship between diet and risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers in Black and White participants. This paper describes the study design, recruitment methods, response rates, and characteristics of Blacks in the AHS-2, thus providing insights about effective strategies to recruit Blacks to participate in research studies.
We designed a church-based recruitment model and trained local recruiters who used various strategies to recruit participants in their churches. Participants completed a 50-page self-administered dietary and lifestyle questionnaire.
Participants are Black Seventh-day Adventists, aged 30–109 years, and members of 1,209 Black churches throughout the United States and Canada.
Approximately 48,328 Blacks from an estimated target group of over 90,000 signed up for the study and 25,087 completed the questionnaire, comprising about 26% of the larger 97,000 AHS-2-member cohort. Participants were diverse in age, geographic location, education, and income. Seventy percent were female with a median age of 59 years.
In spite of many recruitment challenges and barriers, we successfully recruited a large cohort whose data should provide some answers as to why Blacks have poorer health outcomes than several other ethnic groups, and help explain existing health disparities.
PMCID: PMC3172000  PMID: 21305834
Blacks; African Americans; Cohort Study; Cancer; Recruitment; Adventists
Research has shown that ingestion of a single high-fat (HF) meal causes postprandial lipemia and produces a reduced brachial artery blood flow response to vascular occlusion in Caucasians. However, the forearm BF response to occlusion in Caucasian and Asian populations after a single HF meal has not been compared. Eleven healthy male Asians, mean age 26.4 (±4.2) years, height 174.2 (±7.4) cm, and weight 73.8 (±5.7) kg and eight Caucasians, mean age 26.8 (±4.6) years, height 182.9 (±5.9) cm, and weight 82.8 (±4.8) kg were studied. A randomized cross-over study design was used with a HF (50.1 g total fat) or low-fat (LF) (5.1 g total fat) test meal 1 week apart. Forearm blood flow was measured over a 2-minute period following a 4-minute occlusion (FBFO) at 2 and 4 hours following ingestion of a test meal. This study found that FBFO was significantly attenuated in Asians (19.3%; p=0.09) compared to Caucasians after the ingestion of a HF meal. When comparing LF vs HF meals in Asians, the FBFO were 336.9 ml/100 ml tissue/minute and 240.8 ml/100 ml tissue/minute, respectively (p=0.02), whereas in Caucasians, the FBFO were 344.8 ml/100 ml tissue/minute and 287.4 ml/100 ml tissue/minute, respectively. It appears Asians have a more sensitive response to a single HF meal which may be explained, in part, by genotypic variation. These findings suggest that a single HF meal may contribute to the detrimental effects on vascular health in Asian males and raises speculation regarding the cumulative impact of a chronic HF diet in this population.
PMCID: PMC3170142  PMID: 20578534
high-fat meal; forearm blood flow; ethnicity
11.  A Secondary Analysis of Race/Ethnicity and other Maternal Factors Affecting Adverse Birth Outcomes in San Bernardino County 
Maternal and child health journal  2007;12(4):435-441.
Though it is the largest county in the lower United States, minimal attention has been given to the elevated rates of poor perinatal outcomes and infant mortality in San Bernardino County. This study sought to analyze adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, and infant mortality as an outcome of specific proxy maternal sociodemographic factors.
Data from the California Department of Health Services Office of Vital Statistics birth cohort of mothers delivering between 1999 and 2001 (N = 1,590,876 participants) were analyzed. Of those, 5.5% (n = 86,736) were births in San Bernardino County. Low birth weight, very low birth weight, death in infants less than one year of age, and other maternal sociodemographic factors were explored. All events of low birth weight and deaths among infants less than one year of age were used as significant variables in statistical models.
Black mothers experienced more than twice the rate of very low birth weight (3.89) than their White counterparts (1.39). The most significant contributors to adverse birth outcomes among Black women were length of gestation and maternal education, whereas the most significant predictor of infant mortality was birth weight.
This study demonstrates that traditional risk factors such as length of gestation and maternal age only partially explain adverse birth outcomes. These findings highlight the need to advocate for the systematic collection of data on maternal education and length gestation and for the promotion of public health initiatives that address these inequities in our most vulnerable of populations.
PMCID: PMC3166822  PMID: 17690961
Moderately low birth weight; Very low birth weight; Low birth weight; Infant mortality; Birth outcomes; Health disparities; San Bernardino County
12.  Comparing Self-reported Disease Outcomes, Diet, and Lifestyles in a National Cohort of Black and White Seventh-day Adventists 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2007;4(3):A62.
Few epidemiologic cohort studies on the etiology of chronic disease are powerful enough to distinguish racial and ethnic determinants from socioeconomic determinants of health behaviors and observed disease patterns. The Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), with its large number of respondents and the variation in lifestyles of its target populations, promises to shed light on these issues. This paper focuses on some preliminary baseline analyses of responses from the first group of participants recruited for AHS-2.
We administered a validated and pilot-tested questionnaire on various lifestyle practices and health outcomes to 56,754 respondents to AHS-2, comprising 14,376 non-Hispanic blacks and 42,378 non-Hispanic whites. We analyzed cross-sectional baseline data adjusted for age and sex and performed logistic regressions to test differences between responses from the two racial groups.
In this Seventh-day Adventist (Adventist) cohort, blacks were less likely than whites to be lifelong vegetarians and more likely to be overweight or obese. Exercise levels were lower for blacks than for whites, but blacks were as likely as whites not to currently smoke or drink. Blacks reported higher rates of hypertension and diabetes than did whites but lower rates of high serum cholesterol, myocardial infarction, emphysema, and all cancers. After we eliminated skin cancer from the analysis, the age-adjusted prevalence of cancer remained significantly lower for black than for white women. The prevalence of prostate cancer was 47% higher for black men than for white men.
The profile of health habits for black Adventists is better than that for blacks nationally. Given the intractable nature of many other contributors to health disparities, including racism, housing segregation, employment discrimination, limited educational opportunity, and poorer health care, the relative advantage for blacks of the Adventist lifestyle may hold promise for helping to close the gap in health status between blacks and whites nationally.
PMCID: PMC1955428  PMID: 17572966
14.  Social ecological predictors of prostate-specific antigen blood test and digital rectal examination in black American men. 
BACKGROUND: Black American men continue to suffer disproportionately from epidemically higher rates of prostate cancer. We hypothesize that complex reasons for persistently higher death rates of prostate cancer in this group are steeped in social factors associated with health access. METHODS: We utilized data from the It's All About U prostate cancer prevention study among black men to investigate: 1) what social ecological factors were predictive of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal examinations (DRE); 2) if black men were aware of prostate cancer screening and, if screening was available, would they take the PSA and DRE? Quantitative cross-sectional data from a cohort of 276 black men with no diagnosis of prostate cancer were analyzed to identify characteristics, beliefs, practices and attitudes of this group toward prostate cancer screening. We created a social ecological model to examine which social factors (i.e., environmental, personal, person/environment interplay, black culture and institutional policy) were predictive of PSA and DRE, PSA only and DRE only. To reduce data and identify data patterns, factor analyses (tested for reliability by calculating Cronbach alpha scores) were performed. Variables were standardized with Z scores and analyzed with predictive analytic software technology (SPSS, version 12). A multivariate binary logistic regression was conducted to identify predictors of PSA and DRE. RESULTS: A significant predictor of both PSA and DRE was the physician's direct prostate cancer communication message (P<0.010). Significant correlations exist in PSA and DRE outcomes with a physician's engaging communication style (P<0.012), encouragement to screen (P<0.001) and sharing prostate cancer information (P<0.001); as was men understanding the serious risk of prostate cancer (P<0.001), culture (P<0.004), positive interaction with healthcare staff, significant other(s) and providers (P<0.001), and environmental dimensions (P<0.006). A profile of four major self-reported barriers to screening were identified (i.e., fear, internal locus of health, comfort level and external locus of health). Lastly, men who utilized health systems with a prostate cancer screening policy had high percentages of PSA and DRE (63.3%), PSA only (70.9%) and DRE only (81.7%). CONCLUSION: A physician's aggressive, positive engagement in shared decision-making, tailored social influences promoting prostate cancer prevention among black men, as well as institutional screening policy, has the potential to increase early detection and reduce morbidity among this group.
PMCID: PMC2569227  PMID: 16623061

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