Work in the HEART Lab (https://heartlab.psych.utah.edu/) focuses on the critical role individuals' close relationships play in their health. Lifestyle intervention focused on increasing physical activity and improving nutrition is recommended for type 2 diabetes prevention. Despite being disproportionately impacted by type 2 diabetes, Hispanic/Latine individuals have not been effectively engaged in the largest type 2 diabetes prevention lifestyle intervention, the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP). Adapting the program to include family members and be more culturally relevant may lead to improved engagement and outcomes among Hispanic/Latinx participants. The ADIOS T2D project was designed to evaluate this.
This is a Community-Based Participatory Research project, the proposal for which the HEART Lab wrote in collaboration with partners at a local non-profit (Alliance Community Services) and other University of Utah researchers. The 3-year project (7/2022-6/2025) aims to: (1) adapt the CDC National DPP curriculum for delivery to Hispanic/Latine adults and their family members, and (2) conduct a pilot trial to evaluate the adapted curriculum. The academic-community research team works closely with a community advisory board to plan each step of the project. We are in the process of adapting the curriculum (Aim 1), and anticipate beginning data collection for Aim 2 in July 2024. We will recruit 10-12 Hispanic/Latine adults, along with an adult family member (20-24 total participants), to receive the adapted family-based curriculum across two group classes, each taught by a team of Community Health Workers (CHWs).
The SPUR trainee will contribute to: (1) preparing assessment measures (e.g., formatting questionnaires, initializing ActiGraph activity monitors for objective assessment of MVPA), (2) finalizing data collection procedures, (3) data collection (i.e., Pre questionnaires & Pre 7-day objective assessment of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; Weekly questionnaires during the intervention), and (4) data pre-processing (e.g., review, entry, cleaning, editing). There is also the potential for observation of CHW delivery of the family-based lifestyle intervention classes and the community advisory board. The trainee will also be invited to identify other aspects of the project that they would like involvement with (e.g., data analysis, presentation skills). The trainee will work closely with Dr. Baucom, other trainees in the HEART Lab, community partners at Alliance Community Services, and other University of Utah researchers.
Spanish fluency is not required but would allow for more hands-on involvement in the project.
Student Learning Outcomes and Benefits
Given the partnership with a community-based organization, involvement with this project will provide a unique experience conducting research in a community setting and in collaboration with community members who do not necessarily have backgrounds in research. This SPUR experience also has a number of research-related benefits, including development and enhancement of transferable skills related to the research process (e.g., potentially interacting with participants; data collection and management). There may be opportunities for involvement with presentations/publications related to the project if that is of interest to the trainee. There may also be the opportunity for continued involvement with the project (several hours/week) in a paid capacity.
This hands-on experience and the skills gained would also increase the competitiveness of the SPUR student's application to graduate school. HEART Lab alumni have gone on to research and applied graduate programs (e.g., Ph.D. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, MD, Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master's in Social Work, Physician's Assistant, and other programs), paid research positions, and jobs in psychology-relevant fields. This intensive research experience can help SPUR participant(s) determine their long-term career goals or move a step closer to them through the development of higher-level skills and more hands-on activities than a typical student develops through coursework and less intensive research assistant opportunities.
THE HEART LAB
HEalth & Adaptation in Relationships Team
Opportunities for Students
Graduate Student opportunities
I am NOT reviewing Clinical area PhD student applications this admissions cycle (i.e., to begin Fall 2024). More information on the program is available here.
RAs in the HEART Lab are involved with several studies related to relationships and health. Course credit is available for interested U students, but not required. More information is available on my lab website (see "Want to become a Research Assistant at the HEART Lab?").