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Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, is the featured guest editor for a special supplement to Medical Decision Making's September/October 2010 issue, highlighting the DECISIONS study, a nationwide survey of adults in the US regarding common medical decisions.  Lead author on the main paper of the supplement, Zikmund-Fisher and co-authors (including CBSSM faculty Angela Fagerlin, PhD and Mick Couper, PhD) describe the DECISIONS study, a telephone interview of a nationally representative sample of 3010 adults age 40 and over faced with making a medical decision in the past two years.  Researchers defined medical decisions as the patient having initiated medications, been screened, or had surgery within the past 2 years or having discussed these actions with a health care provider during the same interval.  Key findings from the study:

Although patients frequently receive information about the benefits of a procedure or medication, they don't always learn about the disadvantages.

Healthcare providers don't always ask patients what they want to do.

Most patients don't use the Internet to help them make common medical decisions; healthcare professionals remain the most important source of information.

Patients often don't know as much as they think they do.  Many patients feel well informed even when they don't know key facts that would help them make a better decision.

African-Americans and Hispanics were less knowledgeable than other patients about medications to treat high cholesterol.  In addition, they were more likely to say their doctor made decisions about cholesterol medications for them.

Most patients think they are more likely to get cancer than they really are, and tend to view cancer screenings as more accurate than they are.

Men and women think about cancer risks differently.  Women are more active participants in cancer screening decisions regardless of their perception of risk, whereas men tended to get involved only if they felt at higher risk.

Funded by National Institutes of Health

Funding Years: 2015-2020

Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users are nearly seven times more likely to have inadequate health literacy when compared with their hearing peers. This population is the non-English speaking minority group at greatest risk for miscommunication in health care settings. Health literacy mechanisms for deaf individuals remain poorly understood, thereby limiting interventions to address health literacy disparities and their impact on health care. It is unclear how differences in attitudes, knowledge, and skills related to health information affect health literacy in deaf populations and how they may contribute to ongoing health inequities. The two primary objectives of this proposal are: 1) to elucidate the role of information marginalization on health literacy in Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users and 2) to better understand the mechanisms of health literacy in this population so as to identify viable targets for future health literacy intervention development. This proposal is responsive to PAR-10-133's request for studies that assess mechanisms underlying health literacy, including roles of cognition, culture, language fluency, and information-seeking and interpretation ability in the deaf population and, how these may differ from the hearing population. To meet the study objectives, we will employ an explanatory sequential mixed methods design using extensive quantitative data collection procedures, namely, cross-sectional surveys and measures that will identify predictors and moderators of health literacy with 450 deaf and 450 hearing subjects across three geographically diverse sites. These results will inform the subsequent qualitative assessment that will help explain the quantitative results, and elucidate how and why deaf individuals access and understand health information. We will incorporate cutting edge technology to assess health information-seeking and interpretation patterns in this population, in addition to using a variety of validated and ASL-accessible instruments to assess health literacy and other constructs related to health literacy. The diverse team, consisting of both leading deaf and hearing researchers, provides a unique insight into how health information is distributed and disseminated visually. This approach has the potential to generate rich data on how to formulate health information and health literacy interventions for individuals with hearing loss.

PI(s): Michael McKee

Co-I(s): Lorraine Buis, Michael Fetters, Ananda Sen

Funded by: NIH

Funding Years: 2016-2020

In the past 30 years, the Incidence of thyroid cancer has tripled. The majority of the rise in thyroid cancer incidence is attributed to an increase in low-risk, well-differentiated thyroid cancer, a disease that has a 10-year mortality close to zero. Our previous work suggests that patients with low-risk thyroid cancer are at risk for overtreatment, defined as the use of Surgical and medical interventions in the absence of a clear survival benefit. The overtreatment of thyroid cancer has inherent costs, both to patient health and to society. The reason for the intensive management and potential overtreatment of low-risk thyroid cancer remains unclear. By using SEER-linked patient and physician Surveys, we plan to understand the Treatment decision making in low-risk thyroid cancer. We hypothesize that knowledge and attitudes influence decision making. Specifically, we anticipate that lack of knowledge of risks of death, recurrence and Treatment complications is associated with Treatment that is more intensive. in addition, we postulate that a general preference for active treatment will also be associated with more intensive cancer Treatment. Although both patient and physician perceptions of Treatment need (i.e., knowledge and attitudes) likely contribute to Treatment intensity, we anticipate that the primary driver will be physicians, even after controlling for their patients' perceptions. This study will serve as the foundation for future Intervention studies. By identifying the specific role of physician and patient knowledge and attitudes toward thyroid cancer Treatment, we will be able to create tailored educational interventions to personalize Surgical and medical care for thyroid cancer patients, thus minimizing overtreatment and its inherent risks and costs. As the rising Incidence, low mortality, and pattern of intensive Treatment make thyroid cancer arguably the best cancer model for overtreatment, this proposed study will also serve as a model to understand overtreatment in other malignancies.

PI: Megan Haymart

CO(s): Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD & Sarah Hawley, PhD. MPH

Bioethics Grand Rounds

Wed, January 25, 2017, 12:00pm
Location: 
UH Ford Amphitheater & Lobby

Meredith Walton presents "Opting In or Opting Out: The Ethical Principles Underlying Two Methods of Organ Donation."

Abstract: Recent legislation in France adopting an opt-out system of organ donation has again brought the issue of presumed consent in organ donation to the forefront of ethical discussion.  Proponents of the legislation have used the idea of ‘normative consent’ to justify it, as well as the expected increase in donation rates. But those opposed have argued that it strips the individual of their autonomy and does not in fact increase donation rates.This presentation seeks to define opt-in and opt-out systems of organ donation, explore principles of autonomy and consent surrounding the issue and reflect on whether adopting an opt-out system will truly increase the rate of organ donation

Tue, January 03, 2017

Reshma Jagsi was lead author on a recent study that found many patients with breast cancer unnecessarily choose double mastectomy. This study found that many patients consider contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), but their knowledge about the procedure is low and discussions with surgeons appear to be incomplete. CPM use is substantial among patients without clinical indications but is lower when patients report that their surgeon recommended against it. The study authors stress that more effective physician-patient communication about CPM is needed to reduce potential overtreatment.

CBSSM faculty, Sarah Hawley, was a co-author on this study.

Wed, February 01, 2017

Sarah Hawley and Reshma Jagsi are co-authors on two studies of the impact of doctor-patient communication on patients' perceptions of their breast cancer recurrence risk. They found that breast cancer patients commonly overestimate their risk of recurrence, which was a negative impact on their quality of life. The two studies were highlighted in a MHealth Lab Report. Brian Zikmund-Fisher was also co-author on one of these studies.

Bioethics Grand Rounds

Wed, February 22, 2017, 12:00pm
Location: 
UH Ford Amphitheater & Lobby

Devan Stahl, Assistant Professor, Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

Title –  Responding to Hopes for a Miracle

Abstract: How should clinicians respond to patient’s or family’s hope for a “miracle”? What if the family wants to continue aggressive care that clinicians believe is non-beneficial in the hopes that a miracle will occur? The presentation will frame the discussion of miracle language and offer practical guidance on working with patients and families who invoke miracle language during a patient’s hospital stay.

At the end of this presentation participants will be able to:

1. Classify and distinguish between the most common ways patients/families use miracle language
2. Describe the ethical tensions that emerge when families request that clinicians continue non-beneficial care in the hopes a miracle will occur
3. Identify a set of strategies for productively engaging with patients/families who expect miracles

Jacquelyn Miller, MA

Research Associate

Jackie re-joined CBSSM in spring of 2017. She currently works with Drs. Lesly Dossett and Tom Valley on projects related to the worries and concerns of those with loved ones in the ICU, feedback and disclosure of errors that have occurred in other hospital systems, and opioid prescribing after cancer surgery. She has a BS in Environmental Policy and Developing Country Studies (University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment) and a MA in Sociology, specializing in environmental justice, feminist sociology, and science and technology studies (Michigan State University).

Last Name: 
Miller

Teach-Out Course: Reach Out and RELATE: Communicating and Understanding Scientific Research

Fri, May 05, 2017, 8:00am
Location: 
Online

About this course
Everyone - non-scientists and scientists alike - has some form of expertise, but communicating across a gap in knowledge or experience is challenging. In this Teach-Out, we address this challenge by helping participants to develop core communication skills and more effectively communicate with one another. For more information or to enroll, click here.

What you'll learn

  • Understand why science communication is both important and challenging
  • Develop strategies to effectively bridge communications between public audiences and scientific researchers
  • Understand expert perspectives on different areas of public engagement with science
  • Shape a compelling, message-focused STEM narrative for a specific audience
  • Discuss important issues in science communication with others


Meet the instructors

Elyse L. Aurbach PhD
Co-Founder and Co-Director of RELATE

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher PhD
Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education

Brandon Patterson MS
Co-Director of RELATE

Katherine E. Prater PhD
Co-Founder and Co-Director of RELATE
 

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