resources for researchers

Planet MassCONECT homepage

The Planet MassCONECT project trains and supports members of community- and faith-based organizations as they plan, adapt, and implement evidence-based programs for health promotion.

The role of yoga and other mindfulness practices in treating depression and other mental health conditions has been studied for decades, and evidence is increasing that yoga may be helpful for some people with mood disorders. But symptoms of depression, such as a profound lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness, and difficulty taking action, can make it difficult to get to classes.

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Many researchers come to us with a particular website challenge: They have spent the time and money to develop a website for their project, study, or lab, but over time, find themselves unable to update it.

An outdated site can reflect poorly on the site’s owner, particularly when it is a researcher who is trying to communicate about the cutting-edge research occurring in their lab or center. An outdated site can also cause study participants to question a study’s importance and possibly their own participation.

The longer a study collects data, the richer its findings become. Keeping participants engaged throughout their lifetimes is critical, but challenging.

The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (known as the Long-Term Follow-Up Study [LTFU] to its participants) is working with the Health Communication Core (HCC) to maximize the engagement of its nearly 25,000 participants.

More than 2,600 women and 600 children from areas of Louisiana most severely affected by the largest marine oil spill in history participate in the WaTCH (Women and Their Children’s Health) Study. Dr. Edward Trapido, associate dean for research at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center is the principal investigator.

The health effects of secondhand smoke are well-documented and, 10 years ago, a Surgeon General’s report confirmed that building ventilation systems do not prevent smoke from moving between units.

Eliminating smoking in enclosed spaces is the only way to completely protect people from exposure, but, although smoke-free workplaces, restaurants, and bars are legally mandated, neither local, state, or federal laws address residential settings.

The Health Communication Core (HCC) produces low-cost outreach materials to meet the needs of researchers attending scientific conferences and other events that offer the opportunity to:

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Scientists and academics are increasingly adopting social media to increase the visibility of their work, stay up-to-date in their fields, and connect with other experts. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) now uses Google Hangout, Twitter chats, a YouTube channel, Facebook pages in English and Spanish, an Instagram account for posting cancer-related images, and LinkedIn groups to facilitate research. To encourage the use of social media as a research tool, NCI publishes guides for investigators.

“We’re worried our brochure may be too high-lit and hard for people to understand.” This is a common concern we hear from researchers about their study communications, whether they are for recruiting or retaining participants, or for providing useful information.

Among the services the Health Communication Core offers are writing and editing to ensure materials are clear, understandable to the target audience, and meet the material’s communication goal.

"The EMBRACE newsletter is one way in which we hope to give something back to participants--study news, a sense of the study community, relevant resources, updates on new metastatic cancer research, and information about clinical trials.”
Nancy Lin, MD, EMBRACE Study PI