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Funded by National Science Foundation.

Funding Years: 2015-2017.


When thinking about infectious diseases and making decisions about how to protect themselves, people often overreact to infectious diseases with low risk of infection, such as Ebola, and at other times fail to respond to infectious diseases with higher risk of infection, such as the flu. Both types of responses can lead to negative outcomes such as stress and anxiety, less productivity at work, and inefficient use of healthcare resources (either using too much or too little depending on the disease). We think that one reason that people may exhibit these responses to infectious diseases is that there may be a conflict between their beliefs about their risk and their feelings about their risk. This research will examine areas of misinformation and emotional responses to three infectious diseases: Ebola, the flu, and MERS. After identifying key areas of misinformation and excessive or subdued emotional responses to these three diseases, the research team develops and tests a number of communication strategies that best correct misinformation and resolve conflicts between beliefs and feelings of risk to motivate more appropriate responses to infectious diseases. After determining which strategies are better at doing those things than others, the research team creates a website to display "best-practices" in communicating about infectious diseases.

This research involves conducting a number of web studies to investigate when and for whom cognitive- and affective-based communication strategies work best at modifying cognitions, affect, and behavioral intentions towards pandemic risks. The research uses the theory of "risk-as-feelings". These studies will advance our understanding of risk-as-feelings in a number of ways. First, the research team examines the frequency of simultaneous contradictory responses (SCRs) - when beliefs and feelings of risk conflict - at least with these three infectious diseases. Second, the research team tests for the existence of simultaneous contradictory affective responses. Third, the team then assesses the relative influence of cognitive and affective sources of information on cognitions, affective reactions, and behavioral intentions, as well as in the possible resolution of SCRs. Fourth, the application of risk-as-feelings to determine optimal communication strategies about these infectious diseases should serve as a test-case for the utility of incorporating risk-as-feelings into public health theories of health behavior and communication. Fifth, due to its foundation in the theory of risk-as-feelings, insights gleaned from the current studies should help shape the way information is communicated about other public health issues beyond these disease. And finally, the research tests whether resolving SCRs is key to inducing appropriate responses to pandemic risks or whether improving knowledge, acknowledging fears, and/or improving feelings of efficacy, is sufficient to improve responses, as would be predicted by standard health behavior theories from public health.

PI(s): Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Funded by Bristol Meyers Squibb/Pfizer

Funding years; 2014-2015


Co-PI: Geoffrey Barnes

Funded by Christiana Care Health System

Funding Years: 2013-2015


The purpose of this study is to assess in a pilot randomized controlled trial the following PICOT question: In parents facing extreme premature delivery, does the use of an existing validated visual decision aid as compared to standard counseling, reduce the primary outcome of parental decisional conflict? Furthermore, is such a decision aid understood and applicable across differing populations of different ethnic backgrounds and social classes?

PI(s): Naomi Laventhal

Funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Funding Years: 2015-2016

The researchers will examine the extent to which consumers who are in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) engage in behaviors that help them optimize value. Employing a nationally representative survey, the researchers will explore: (1) how often and in what situations consumers engage in key value-promoting behaviors such as budgeting for health services, choosing settings of care based on price and/or quality, engaging in shared decision-making with providers that considers cost, and negotiating prices for services; (2) which consumers are most likely to engage in these behaviors; (3) which behaviors consumers find most beneficial in maximizing the value of their out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures; (4) what are the facilitators of and barriers to consumers’ engagement in value-promoting behaviors; and (5) what are consumers’ attitudes and intentions towards engaging in value-promoting consumer behaviors in specific clinical situations. The goal of this project is to inform policymakers, payers, health systems, providers and consumers about the frequency and perceived effects of value-promoting consumer behaviors in HDHPs.

PI(s): Jeffrey Kullgren

Co-I(s): Angela Fagerlin, Helen Levy, A. Mark Fendrick

The article, "The DECISIONS Study: A Nationwide Survey of United States Adults Regarding 9 Common Medical Decisions," authored by Brian Zikmund-Fisher et al. in Medical Decision Making (September-October 2010) was recently identified as the most downloaded article in the journal of all articles published in 2009 and 2010. 

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CBSSM acts at the premier intellectual gathering place of clinicians, social scientists, bioethicists, and all others interested in improving individual and societal health through scholarship and service.

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2015 CBSSM Research Colloquium and Bishop Lecture (Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., LL.D Hon.)

Tue, March 17, 2015, 8:30am to 4:00pm
Location: 
Alumni Center, 200 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor, MI

The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) Research Colloquium was held Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at the Founders Room, Alumni Center, 200 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor, MI.

The CBSSM Research Colloquium featured the Bishop Lecture in Bioethics as the keynote address.  Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., LL.D (Hon.) presented the Bishop Lecture with a talk entitled: "Law, Ethics, and Public Health in the Vaccination Debates: Politics of the Measles Outbreak."

Lawrence Gostin is University Professor, Georgetown University’s highest academic rank conferred by the University President. Prof. Gostin directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and is the Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law. He is Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Professor of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University, and Director of the Center for Law & the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. Prof. Gostin is also the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights.

The 2015 Research Colloquium Presentation Schedule:

  • 8:30 AM -- Check in & refreshments
  • 9:00 AM -- Welcome
  • 9:15 AM -- Aaron Scherer, PhD, CBSSM Postdoctoral Fellow: "Elephants, Donkeys, and Medicine: Political Differences in Health Risk Perceptions and Adherence to Medical Recommendations"
  • 9:45 AM -- Natalie Bartnik, MPH, Research Associate, HBHE Genetics Research Group, UM School of Public Health: "Why, how and when oncologists disclose genome sequencing results in clinical practice"
  • 10:15 AM -- Michele Gornick, PhD, MICHR PTSP Postdoctoral Fellow, VA HSRD Fellow & CBSSM Research Investigator: "Information and deliberation make a difference: The public’s preferences for the return of secondary genomic findings"
  • 10:45 AM -- Break
  • 11:00 AM -- Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, LLD (Hon.), 2015 Bishop Lecture in Bioethics: "Law, Ethics, and Public Health in the Vaccination Debates: Politics of the Measles Outbreak"
  • 12:30 PM -- Lunch
  • 1:30 PM -- Stephanie Kukora, MD and Nathan Gollehon, MD, Fellows, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UM Mott Children’s Hospital: "Epidemiology of outpatient prenatal consultation: implications for decision-making and perinatal outcomes"
  • 2:00 PM -- Minnie Bluhm, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences, Eastern Michigan University: "Oncologists' decisions about administering late chemotherapy: What makes it so difficult?"
  • 2:30 PM -- Break
  • 2:45 PM -- Danielle Czarnecki, PhD Candidate, UM Department of Sociology: "Moral Women, Immoral Technologies: How Devout Women Negotiate Maternal Desires, Religion, and Assisted Reproductive Technologies"
  • 3:15 PM -- Uchenna Ezeibe, MD, Resident Physician, UMHS Department of Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases: "Pediatric Ethics Consultation Service at a Tertiary Hospital: A Retrospective Review"
Tue, March 10, 2015

Beth Tarini MS, MD shared the findings of her research in a news article on the UMHS website. The research explores parents' perspectives on genomic sequencing for themselves and their children. "Particularly fascinating was that parents’ interest for having predictive genetic testing done for themselves reflected their interest in testing their children too – it appears to be a global decision for the family," Tarini explained. The study will be published in this month's issue of Public Health Genomics.

Research Topics: 

CBSSM Seminar: Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, MSc

Fri, June 09, 2017, 3:00pm
Location: 
NCRC, Building 10, G065

Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, MSc
Executive Director, National Center for Ethics in Health Care
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

"Moral Distress in Health Care: The Role of Courage and Culture"

Patients’ Attitudes toward Considering Cost When Making Medical Decisions (Oct-13)

Imagine that for the last three months, you have had a very bad headache – the worst in your life – that won’t go away, even when you take aspirin. In addition to the headache you have also been feeling dizzy. Your doctor tells you that you need to get a brain scan to test whether the headache is being caused by something serious. There are two possible scans you can get: a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a Computerized Axial Tomography (CT) scan.  The MRI provides a slightly more detailed picture and might find something that the CT misses, such as an extremely uncommon blood vessel problem, but nearly all problems serious enough to need treatment would be seen on either the MRI or the CT.

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