Resisters, Relapsers, and Rebels - Puff City II: Strategies and Preliminary Results

The latest national figures continue to show African American and Hispanic teenagers 15-9 as having higher death rates than Caucasian and younger children. Urban teenagers represent an age group that has been difficult to reach, in terms of both connecting and convincing. Consequently, there are few asthma management programs targeting urban, high school students with asthma. We have developed a unique, multimedia, web-based program to motivate teens to change negative behaviors related to asthma management. Puff City software uses "tailoring" in conjunction with theoretical models of behavior change, to personalize health messages according to the beliefs, attitudes, and barriers of students with asthma. From 2001-2006, a randomized trial of Puff City was conducted in 6 Detroit high schools and demonstrated reduced asthma-related morbidity in treatment students compared to controls. As with any research trial, not all students improved, some relapsed, and a substantial number did not participate. To maximize effectiveness of the program, we developed a booster session delivered 6 months post-baseline as well as a strategy to increase the likelihood of change through more intense tailoring delivered to students identified as "resistant" at baseline. Partners in this program include Detroit Public Schools, Henry Ford Health System and University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research. Dr. Joseph will discuss the development of this new version and will share preliminary results.

About the Speaker

Christine L. M. Joseph, PhD, MPH

Christine Joseph, PhD, MPH, is Senior Epidemiologist, Henry Ford Health System, Division of Biostatistics & Research Epidemiology and Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, University of Michigan Joint Appointment: Department of Epidemiology, and Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Dr. Joseph's research has focused on asthma and allergy in urban populations, racial disparities in asthma risk factors and outcomes, and racial/ethnic health disparities.