Researcher – Brown, Alpert Medical School
Medical Marijuana and Driving Outcomes
The long-range goal of this work is to improve our understanding of the consequences of medical marijuana use in later life. A study that examines older adults pre-exposure to medical marijuana and systematically tracks medical marijuana initiation, dosage, and psychomotor functioning is needed. Thus, the current study will test medical marijuana use as the exposure variable in adults age 50 and older and simulated driving performance (i.e. errors in response time, attention, and executive functioning tasks that predict on-road performance) as the primary outcome. Medical marijuana use is increasing among adults 50 and older. Both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) have identified the need to understand how habitual use of medical marijuana affects psychomotor functioning in real world tasks such as driving. The current proposal will address this question by examining medical marijuana use in the context of driving performance among adults 50 and older.
Cannabis Assessment Poject (C.A.P.)
With the emergence of increasing legalization of medical cannabis across the United States, researchers have been invested in distinguishing between cannabis use for medical and for non-medical purposes, prevalence of use for each of these motivations, and potentially differentiating characteristics of medical and non-medical cannabis users. The goals of this project are to examine cannabis use patterns among medical and recreational users aged 18 to 85, characterize participants' cannabis use history and habits, their motivations for marijuana use, and other related factors.
5-year study funded by the National Cancer Institute conducted through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Opioid Abuse among NFL Vets
Examining the association between psychological pain dimensions and opioid use, depressive symptoms, and HRQOL.
Project R.E.A.C.H. (Recover, Empower, Adapt, Cope and Heal) is a mHealth intervention study that aims to improve health outcomes by educating underserved women who are fighting breast cancer.
Examining the role of social support, affective states and health behaviors among African Americans 50 and older living with HIV.
STUDY Although screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a proven technique that has been shown in some health care settings to reduce substance there is limited data available for it effectiveness among HIV care settings. HIV+ individuals have high rates of substance abuse but access to intervention is limited. Substance abuse increases the risk for poor treatment adherence and is a recognized contributor to the spread of HIV. There is a need to develop treatments specifically for HIV+ individuals. We aim to implement SBIRT in HIV care settings to optimize health outcomes. This protocol describes an assessment of SBIRT feasibility and acceptability in the UF Health Infectious Disease-Medical Specialties Clinic at the University of Florida. One hundred participants will be recruited from the Clinic. The intervention group will receive a brief intervention, referral to treatment, and peer navigator support. The control group will receive screening and standard referral to treatment as seen in high-quality usual care. The primary study outcomes are feasibility and acceptability of the SBIRT model. Secondary outcomes include engagement in substance use treatment and reduction in alcohol and drug use.
FLEX Housing Project
The overall goal of the current demonstration project is to develop and implement holistic navigation services for youth ages 15-29 through the Florida Department of Health’s Ryan White Part B and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs. Through the use of peer navigation and tailored motivational interviewing, including ongoing monitoring and follow-up, youth living with HIV and AIDS are able to connect with services in a variety of domains including housing, healthcare, substance use treatment, education, job placement, and legal assistance, as needed.
Opioid Use in the NFL
STUDY With over 60% of former NFL athletes reporting moderate to severe pain intensity in retirement, individuals in this population are at risk of reporting greater depressive symptoms, opioid use, and lower HRQOL compared to the general population. Though previous studies have examined the influence of pain on depressive symptoms and opioid use among NFL retirees, these investigations have been limited by examining the physical aspects of pain (i.e., intensity) and have not accounted for the psychological dimensions of pain perception. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to examine the association between psychological pain dimensions and opioid use, depressive symptoms, and HRQOL. Delineating between the unique effects of different aspects of pain (i.e., intensity, catastrophizing, interference, or acceptance) on opioid use, depressive symptoms, and HRQOL may help to inform effective interventions among NFL retirees. Consequently, the current study may improve the quality of life in NFL retirees by elucidating salient, treatable correlates of these factors.
STUDY Project R.E.A.C.H. (Recover, Empower, Adapt, Cope and Heal) is an mHealth intervention study that aims to understand the best way to disseminate health information to underserved women coping with breast cancer. We recently created this intervention which combines support and health information into a digital format for broader reach. The purpose of Project R.E.A.C.H. is to test the acceptability of this this mHealth intervention and measure its influence on health related quality of life. We use 10 short, highly engaging, films to deliver valuable breast cancer health information content and structured support consistently delivered over a ten week period to engage patients in self-management of their treatment process. Successful completion of Project R.E.A.C.H. will provide pilot data needed to examine clinical outcomes in this population. The expected result of this work is the creation of an effective mHealth intervention with broad national reach that will improve mortality in low income Black women diagnosed with breast cancer.
STUDY Project SUPPORT examines the role of social support, affective states and health behaviors among African Americans 50 and older living with HIV. In partnership with the UF CARES (Center for AIDS Research Education and Service) Jacksonville, we recruited 96 HIV+ men and women age 50 and older who identify as Black. The investigators will use data obtained from Project Support to enhance our understanding of the psychosocial and behavioral influences impacting people aging with HIV in order to develop effective interventions that promote positive health outcomes in this population. The intervention Research Advancing Care Equality (iRACE) laboratory -Nicole Ennis, PI- in conjunction with the University of Florida / SHARC will serve as the analysis unit for the study.
STUDY Project C.A.R.E. is a 5-year study funded by the National Cancer Institute conducted through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study was a randomized clinical trial comparing a cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention to an enhanced breast cancer education condition on psychosocial adjustment, endocrine and immune functioning among black breast cancer survivors. Both the CBSM and psychoeducation condition were adapted to be culturally sensitive to breast cancer survivors who self-identify as African-American or Black. Patients showed improvement in multiple indicators of psychosocial adaptation (fewer intrusive thoughts, lower anxiety, lower depressive symptoms, and greater satisfaction with care). This study was completed in conjunction with Suzanne Lechner, PhD and her research team at the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
STUDY Lack of physical activity is an independent risk factor for various health conditions including cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity, and select cancers. Lack of physical activity has also been implicated in a multitude of negative psychological outcomes including depression, anxiety and decreased quality of life. Despite the noted benefits of physical activity, engagement among minorities and women; particularly Black women remains low. Although rates of inactivity for Black women are problematic across the lifespan, rates of inactivity begin to increase during young adulthood. In response to the lower rates of physical activity among Black women, there has been an increase in intervention studies promoting physical activity. However, inadequate attention to the potential influence of culture on physical activity among Black women may contribute to the mixed success of current interventions. Further, lack of theoretical models that adequately account for the complexity of culture in relation to physical activity limit the understanding of the mechanisms influencing physical activity. The project will examine the influence of culture on physical activity attitudes and behaviors among Black female college students using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TBP) and PEN-3 model grounded in an ecological approach. The objectives of the proposed study are to: (a) examine the relationship between TPB constructs and physical activity engagement among Black female college students, (b) examine the influence of PEN-3 factors on physical activity engagement among Black female college students, and (c) evaluate the relative contributions of TPB and PEN-3 constructs on physical activity engagement among Black female college students. This study extends the health disparities literature by applying theoretical models to investigate leisure time physical activity behaviors of Black female college students. This research is situated to inform the future development and implementation of physical activity interventions for Black women.
Condom Use Norms
STUDY The Association of Adolescent Perceived Peer Condom Use Norms and Sexual Health in Adult Men is a secondary data analysis utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). This investigation uses longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of men in the United States. The primary aim of the study is to determine if perceived peer norms measured during adolescence are associated with self-reported condom use behavior during adulthood. The investigations will also examine the association between perceived norms and sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, the project will explore the role of sexual identity in the association between perceived norms and both condom use and sexually transmitted infections. This project will address significant gaps in the literature related to health dipartites among MSM populations while simultaneously examining a potential target for intervention among this group.
Meet our awesome team
Staff Psychologist – Martinez VA (Martinez, CA)
Staff Psychologist at Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH)
Student – FSU College of Medicine (Tallahassee, FL)
Interning – Yale, School of Medicine