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Growing Up in an Obesogenic World

featured / health research / public health / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and as such there has been a lot of press lately about what to do about the obesity epidemic. In fact I recently saw an ad for the documentary, Fed Up, which alleges the obesity epidemic all boils down to the consumption of sugar and provides insight on the role that the food industry and our own government plays in the epidemic. I haven’t seen the documentary yet, but as a social and behavioral scientist, it got me thinking about the synergy between policy intervention and personal efforts to lose weight, and the importance of recognizing the limits of individual agency, especially for children.

While obesity rates in the United States have soared among all age groups in... more


Looking Back on ADWKDC 2014

featured / advertising research / arlington dc / conferences

It’s been just over one week since ADWKDC wrapped up and I’m still thinking about all of the great panel discussion and presentations I saw. Sarah Evans and I joined a few hundred of the Washington, DC area’s advertisers and marketer’s for the 11th annual event hosted by the DC Ad Club and came back with plenty to share with the office. Just like our time at the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media in Atlanta a month ago ( see Sarah’s blog post here), storytelling was a big theme. Here are a few tidbits everyone can apply to storytelling that stuck with us:

  1. Make it personal. &pizza co-founder and President Michael Lastoria... more

How To Make Your Data Get Along – Data Harmonization

featured / survey research / quantitative / blog

A good researcher seeks multiple sources of data to answer a research question. These data may be results from clinical trials, financial transactions, or even survey data. Often, these do not all stem from a single source, and possess small or large differences in research methods. How does one make sense of these disparate pieces of information and bring them together for better research? In an effort to integrate disparate data and provide better analyses, researchers often rely on a process called data harmonization.

What is data harmonization and why is it important?

Data harmonization is the process by which data from heterogeneous sources are combined into a unified, cohesive data product. It is inherently a research activity and success depends on an understanding of... more


Focus Group of One - Nationals On-field Experience Provides Unique Perspective on Smokeless Tobacco

featured / health research / public health / tobacco / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

Don’t talk about work. This was the only advice my husband gave me before I headed down to the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals game Monday night against the Braves (holy smokes, did that really happen?). He knew it’d be hard to resist. I’ve posted a time or two (or five) about smokeless tobacco in Major League Baseball for instance, click here. It’s the perfect storm for me. Health, behavior change, baseball. So many of my passions intersecting.

Nationals Baseball

Enter Steven Souza (International League MVP and Rookie of the Year, no big deal), who will catch for me. He opens with the classic DC “I... more


CVS Quits for Good

featured / health research / public health / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

CVS is telling consumers to keep walking if they’re looking to get a nicotine fix with a new pack of cigarettes or a can of dip. CVS announced in February that they would stop selling all tobacco products by October 1, 2014 as part of a larger initiative to focus on health and well-being. Yesterday, CVS unveiled their full initiative and announced that their tobacco products sale ban was effective that day, September 3—almost a month ahead of schedule.

CVS Quits for Good

As highlighted in the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, over 20 million American deaths have been attributed to smoking since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report (which first reported the impact of smoking on health). Smoking... more


Focus Group Best Practices: Writing Protocols

qualitative / focus group / blog

At the center of every qualitative project is the protocol, sometimes also called the moderator's guide, the discussion guide, or the script. This document establishes the structure of the group or interview, details the specific questions you will ask participants, and ultimately determines the kind of data you will be able to collect. It is also the guide that everyone working on the project will be using as they make their decisions-your clients will base their approval on the protocol content, the IRB will review it, and the moderator or interviewer will use it to guide the data collection process. The protocol is key to the success of your project, and keeping a few things in mind as you're writing it will help ensure... more