December 03, 2010

Stimulus Money to Establish Campus Behavior Science Resource Lab

Shirley Moore

“Where can I find a behavioral specialist when I need one?” It’s a plea heard across campus by researchers who are increasingly required to understand how behavior relates to health issues.

Within the next year, a new one-stop, campuswide Behavioral Science Measurement Resource Laboratory will open to all Case Western Reserve University researchers to help them incorporate behavior as part of understanding health, social or psychological issues in their studies.

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, in collaboration with the School of Medicine, received a one-year, $647,000 grant from National Institutes of Health, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to establish the new lab.

“This project will result in a full-service, high-profile lab that will accelerate the speed of scientific advances. It will provide researchers with quicker and easier access to a comprehensive set of services, state-of-the-art equipment and approaches to measure behavior and its effect on health outcomes,” said Shirley Moore, the associate dean for research at the nursing school.

Moore will lead the project and work closely with Elaine Borawski, co-director of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods and associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and Sue Flocke, associate professor of medicine, who oversees behavior labs at the School of Medicine.

The new center merges three unique, but overlapping, behavior labs scattered throughout the university:  the FIND Lab (Full Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Research), the Survey Development Lab and the Behavioral Measurement Core Facility.

Four to six employees, who offer a range of talents from designers to clinical psychologists skilled at interpreting psychological tests, will staff it.

Researchers can go to the lab for assistance in designing research projects, devising surveys, finding technology needed like PDAs and iPads to conduct research, and measuring and interpreting behavior data. Assistance also is provided in adapting research approaches for special populations, such as persons with disabilities and people who do not speak English. Demonstration equipment on how to design research for people who cannot see, hear or have mobility problems will be housed at the new center and bring in community partners and experts from the Cleveland Sight Center and the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center. 

The center also will house focus group rooms where research information can be collected.

About 80 percent of the time, equipment purchased for research often sits on shelves in departments across campus, Moore said.  With the new center, these resources can be consolidated and reduce research costs.

Almost half of the grant, $300,000, will be used to construct the physical lab on campus.

“Currently we are scouting a site on campus where it will be convenient for researchers and study participants to access and park,” said Moore, the Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor of Nursing.

Posted by: David Wilson, December 3, 2010 11:04 AM | News Topics:

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