Dr. Firn has a BS from Michigan State University, MSW from the University of Michigan, and PhD from Lancaster University (UK). Janice is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS), Division of Professional Education. Before DLHS, Janice worked in oncology and palliative care at Michigan Medicine. She is also part of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM), and serves as a Clinical Ethicist for the Clinical Ethics Service.
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Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, is the senior author on a study led by Donna M. Zulman, MD, that reveals about a third of doctors and their patients with diabetes do not agree on which of the patient's health conditions is most important. In the study, 38% of physicians (compared to 18% of patients) ranked hypertension as the most important condition. Patients were more likely to prioritize symptoms such as pain and depression. Read the article, in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, here. Read a press release about the article here.
CBSSM is soliciting applications from qualified individuals for 1-2 postdoctoral research fellow positions for the 2018-2019 academic year.
The mission of CBSSM is to be the premier intellectual gathering place of clinicians, social scientists, bioethicists, and all others interested in improving individual and societal health through scholarship and service.
Bioethics Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Active projects in bioethics at CBSSM currently include the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic medicine, human subjects research ethics, empirical research with relevance to clinical ethics, global bioethics, gender equity, reproductive justice, deliberative democratic methods in bioethics, resource allocation, ethical issues associated with learning health systems, and the sociology of medical ethics/bioethics, among others. Candidates' area of focus must be in bioethics, although their backgrounds may be in social or natural sciences, humanities, medicine, or law.
Decision Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
This fellowship focuses on understanding and improving the health care communication and decisions made by both patients and providers. Past postdoctoral fellows have included scholars whose research in health care communication and decision making has been approached using theories drawn from social cognition, motivation and emotion, risk communication, human factors, ethics, and economics.
Postdoctoral fellows are expected to collaborate on established projects and are encouraged to conduct independent research with an emphasis on study inception, manuscript writing, and applying for grants. CBSSM’s resources and collaborative support enable fellows to build their own research programs.
Please see: http://cbssm.med.umich.edu/training-mentoring/post-doctoral-fellowship for more details about these fellowship opportunities.
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.
CBSSM was again well-represented at the annual American Society for Bioethics & Humanities (ASBH) and the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) meetings.
At ASBH, Raymond De Vries and Naomi Laventhal presented, and CBSSM alumna, Erica Sutton presented for Michele Gornick.
At SMDM, Angela Fagerlin, Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Aaron Scherer, Mas Jimbo, and Darin Zahuranec presented.
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 the Alzheimer's Association
Active Year(s): 2008-2011
The goal of the MCI Risk Communication Study is to develop and evaluate a risk communication protocol to convey diagnostic and risk information to MCI patients and family members. A multi-step protocol will be created, taking into account principles of health risk communication, patient and provider preferences, and ethical issues involved in working with cognitively impaired populations. The protocol will be delivered by health care professionals with risk communication experience and tested on 10 patient/care-partner dyads recruited from Alzheimer’s Disease Centers at the University of Michigan and Boston University. The results of this pilot study will help inform the fourth trial of REVEAL.
PI: J. Scott Roberts, PhD