Evidence-based health and well-being for entire populations.

Pro-Change receives SBIR Grant to Develop Pain Self-Management App for Veterans

Pro-Change was recently awarded a Phase II SBIR by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)1 to develop a mobile app to promote the adoption of self-management strategies for chronic pain. The app will provide tailored behavior change guidance based on each Veteran’s readiness to self-manage pain and his or her preference for pain self-management strategies. In addition, it will address stress management and healthy sleep habits. The development process will involve input from several stakeholders and a number of end users to maximize usability. A 12-month randomized controlled trial will then be conducted to examine the effectiveness of the app.

Pro-Change’s work in this area began with Phase I funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences2. The promising results of that preliminary work were recently published in The Journal for Medical Informatics.

“There has never been a more important time to be promoting self-management of chronic pain” notes Dr. Johnson. “We are very grateful to NCCIH for their support and are honored to be working to address a critical need for our nation’s Veterans.”

1 9R44AT009675-02

Pro-Change Updates User Experience

Exciting changes are underway! Pro-Change recently undertook a rigorous user-centered approach to the redesign of our NCQA-certified Health Risk Intervention (HRI). The result is an updated HRI with a responsive design that embodies simplicity, minimalism, and ease of use. And we didn’t stop there. We infused the same UI design principles into the NCQA-certified LifeStyle Management Suite.

With a focus on improving the user-interface of the NCQA-certified Health Risk Intervention (HRI) and the LifeStyle Management Suite, a team at Pro-Change conducted extensive usability testing using validated measures of user experience; refined design options; and conducted A/B testing to inform design choices.

The new improvements include a change of font and colors. However, the most noteworthy improvements are the use of text animation, automated question and screen transitions, and content changes to increase readability and usability.

“The team took the same approach to this redesign that Pro-Change uses in all our products,” stated Kerry E. Evers, Ph.D., co-President and CEO. “We tested the designs, gathered user input and allowed the data to inform our decisions. The resulting user interface is one that not only looks more streamlined, but also allows a much more enjoyable experience for the user.”

Pro-Change will continue to gather feedback on the newly released redesign of the HRI and LifeStyle Management Suite, which is available now for licensing.

Experience it for yourself with a free demo!

Pro-Change Awarded NCQA WHP Certification

Pro-Change is proud to announce that we have once again been awarded NCQA Wellness and Health Promotion (WHP) Certification for our Health Risk Intervention (a Health Risk Assessment plus Intervention) and Self-Management Tools (Exercise, Healthy Eating, Weight Management, Smoking Cessation, Stress Management, Depression Prevention, and Responsible Drinking). The Health Risk Intervention (HRI) and Self-Management Tools continue to be a central part of Pro-Change’s award-winning LifeStyle Management Suite.

NCQA’s WHP Certification process is a quality assurance program to aid employers in selecting wellness providers. NCQA certification identifies solutions that are most likely to deliver on employers’ priorities, such as improving workforce health, increasing productivity, and reducing absenteeism.

Pro-Change’s programs, including the HRI, use validated questions to assess readiness to change leading health risks and provide immediate evidenced-based, individually tailored feedback about the strategies individuals can use to make progress on reducing their specific risk behaviors. Pro-Change’s programs continue to optimize individual well-being, reduce health care costs, and increase productivity.

WHP certification is an acknowledgement that Pro-Change’s HRI helps individuals manage their health. In addition to the individual-level feedback and personalized text messages that users receive, the HRI has the ability to provide high level results to employers through a sophisticated aggregate reporting function. Pro-Change continues to ardently protect the users of its programs, with the HRI clearly disclosing how any information from the HRI may be used and how we protect their privacy.

NCQA certification for Pro-Change’s Self-Management Tools guarantees that we continue to provide evidence-based self-management tools to help individuals manage their health. The NCQA standards address important health topics; call for periodic testing to make sure tools are usable and understandable; require review and update of tools to reflect changes in evidence; and require Pro-Change to make tools available in different formats.

“Receiving NCQA certification again for our Health Risk Intervention and Self-Management Tools is a reflection of Pro-Change’s ongoing commitment to disseminating effective evidence-based behavior change solutions,” stated Sara S. Johnson, PhD, co-President and CEO of Pro-Change.

For more information about Pro-Change’s HRI and LifeStyle Management Suite, please contact Pro-Change at info@prochange.com or (401)360-2980.

Lifestyle modification is the foundation of the new hypertension guidelines—Pro-Change has the solution.

Official Release:

This month, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology updated clinical guidelines for diagnosing and treating hypertension. These are the new categories for blood pressure:

  • Elevated Blood Pressure is a reading of 120-129 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic. For adults with elevated blood pressure, healthy lifestyle changes and re-assessment in 3-6 months are recommended.
  • High Blood Pressure/Stage 1 is systolic pressure between 130-139 OR diastolic pressure between 80-89. Depending on an individual’s heart and stroke risk, lifestyle changes or lifestyle changes plus medication are recommended.
  • High Blood Pressure/Stage 2 is systolic pressure of 140 or higher OR diastolic pressure of 90 or higher. Lifestyle changes and medication are recommended.

Pro-Change’s newly revised Managing Blood Pressure program is the optimal population health solution for the estimated 46% of Americans who now meet the criteria for high blood pressure. For individuals with elevated blood pressure, the mobile-optimized behavior change program focuses on lifestyle changes including weight loss if needed, dietary changes based on the DASH Diet, regular exercise, moderate drinking, and smoking cessation. For individuals with High Blood Pressure Stage 1 or Stage 2 who have been prescribed medication, the program focuses on medication adherence as well as lifestyle changes.

The Managing High Blood Pressure program fits seamlessly into existing health and well-being initiatives and can provide an essential adjunct to clinical care. The program, available in English and in Spanish, includes a computer tailored intervention with individually tailored questions and feedback; a personal activity center with dynamic games, quizzes, and guidance matched to the individual’s readiness to change each behavior; and tailored text messages. Learn More about how the Managing Blood Pressure Program provides tailored behavior change guidance to adults with elevated or high blood pressure.

Pro-Change Honored to Join the True Health Initiative

True Health Initiative

Pro-Change is proud to announce our membership in the True Health Initiative. With the support of members, such as the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and American College of Preventive Medicine, the True Health Initiative envisions a world with less chronic disease and supports individuals and communities in directing their resources toward that goal.

Pro-Change and the True Health Initiative are part of a burgeoning group of national and international experts devoted to preventing and managing chronic disease with lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine seeks to promote the six core principles of healthy living: healthy eating, physical activity, healthy sleep habits; being tobacco-free; managing stress; and social support.

Membership in the True Health Initiative aligns with Pro-Change’s mission to create evidence-based behavior change solutions that optimize population health and well-being. In every aspect of our work, Pro-Change shares and wholeheartedly supports the core beliefs and principles of the True Health Initiative. As an organizational member of True Health, Pro-Change has the opportunity to help shape their agenda, as well as to be involved in True Health campaign activities, initiatives, and committees.

We look forward to fulfilling our mission by doing the work we love with many of the experts who have inspired our efforts to date. Here’s to good health!

Wayne F. Velicer, Ph.D.

Mentor, colleague, friend

Wayne Velicer, an early principle of Pro-Change and one of the principal developers of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, passed away on October 15. Wayne was Co-Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center (CPRC), Professor of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island and a world-renowned expert in health psychology and behavioral statistics. We attribute much of the success of the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM) and TTM-based interventions to Wayne’s focus on high-quality measurement and research. Wayne was a formal and informal consultant for many Pro-Change grants and projects, but most importantly a friend to many of us at Pro-Change.

Wayne was a daily part of our lives when Pro-Change was housed in the CPRC. All of Pro-Change’s Ph.Ds trained under Wayne. Not only did he teach us about statistics, study design, and measure development, he also taught us about wine, music, the pleasures of travel, and how to live a good life.
We will miss Wayne and send our deepest sympathies to his wife Anna, sons Scott and Clayton, and the rest of his family, all of whom he cherished.

In Memory of Julie Padula

Our treasured friend and colleague Julie Padula passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on August 23, 2017. Julie was our Senior Manager of Operations and had been with Pro-Change since 1999. She took a brief hiatus to share her talents with University of Connecticut Office of Research Compliance as they developed conflict of interest and export control policies. While she enjoyed her time at UCONN, we were very fortunate to have her re-join our team in February of 2016. To say that she had unparalleled organizational skills, an unwavering commitment to excellence, and a true dedication to learning only begins to scratch the surface of Julie’s professional strengths. She was always the first person you thought of when a new initiative arose because of her willingness to accept daunting challenges to advance our organization. She was an exceptional team player who made us all more accountable.

But what we will remember forever is her sparkling and exuberant personality. We loved Julie because she had a great sense of humor and mischief—and a giggle that no one will ever forget. She had a big heart that she gave freely to her friends and loved ones. Julie had a very large and tight knit family whom she adored and shared with us—through her stories about them, coopting them to participate in Pro-Change projects, and recruiting them for internships. Having grown up in Rhode Island, Julie maintained her life-long friendships with friends from high school, college, and her first job at the University of Rhode Island’s Cancer Prevention Research Center. These friendships were woven into the fabric of Pro-Change…we can easily play 3 degrees of separation from Julie Padula. In recent years, she shared her love for her fiancé Ken to all on Facebook and shared her wedding and honeymoon plans with us during lunch. We all shared her joy, reveling in the fact that she was the happiest she has ever been.

For all of these reasons, and many more too numerous to mention, Julie’s memory will live on at Pro-Change. Our lives were enriched by having known and worked with her. We will honor her legacy by, as her father said at her memorial service, living with love, joy, and generosity. We invite you to join us in thinking fondly of Julie each time you see a sunflower.

May she rest in peace.

Sara Johnson Interviewed as Industry Expert on “Redesigning Wellness” Podcast


Pro-Change is pleased to announce Sara Johnson’s podcast interview with Redesigning Wellness founder Jennifer Arnold. Jennifer founded the company to help HR and wellness professionals implement effective worksite wellness programs, and to talk about what works and doesn’t work with traditional worksite wellness programming. Redesigning Wellness podcasts give listeners the opportunity to learn about wellness from the best in the industry. You can access the podcast @ https://redesigningwellness.com/category/podcast/.

In the interview, Sara describes Pro-Change products and collaborations. She also talks about her new role as co-editor of The Art of Health Promotion section of the American Journal of Health Promotion, which is a great resource for health and wellness professionals that provides useful insights and practical guidance.

Sara also imparts advice for moving the wellness industry forward. Overall, she feels it’s a great time to be engaged in the wellness industry. “Worksite wellness programs can be empowering, motivating, and a great employer benefit BUT most of them aren’t….”

Pro-Change Behavior Systems Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. is proud to announce that they are celebrating 20 years of dedication to the implementation of best practices in behavior change.

Pro-Change Behavior Systems develops and disseminates award-winning, unique, and innovative behavior solutions that are tailored to the individual, scaled to populations, and driven by technology. With interfaces for end users, health coaches, and clinicians, our solutions are appropriate for entire populations, yet are uniquely tailored to each individual. We employ rigorous behavior change science, theory, and data analytics to individualize behavior change guidance that helps participants—ready to change or not—take steps to enhance their health, well-being, and productivity.  

“So much has changed in the well-being industry over the past 20 years. It’s amazing how so many of Pro-Change’s core values still apply today. But also how seamlessly we have changed along with the industry. Our commitment to science and well-being remains at the forefront while we continue to lead the field in innovative ways to implement evidence-based practices and technologies.”

–Kerry E. Evers, Ph.D., co-President and CEO

Pro-Change is proud to partner with well-being solution providers, onsite clinic providers, integrated delivery systems, employers, health care centers, insurers, universities, continuing medical education providers, sport and fitness companies, publishers, and schools. Without the mutual trust and support of strong partners, Pro-Change would not be where it is today.  The entire organization is continually energized by Pro-Change’s ever expanding circle of partners.

“I’m honored to be a part of this amazing team of incredibly passionate, fun-loving, and collaborative people who are totally committed to implementing best practices in behavior change. We want to thank them and all of our partners who share our relentless drive to innovate in the pursuit of optimal well-being. Here’s to the next 20 years!”

–Sara S. Johnson, Ph.D., co-President and CEO

Pro-Change was founded by Drs. Janice and James Prochaska and is now co-owned and led by Dr. Kerry E. Evers and Dr. Sara S. Johnson.  Kerry and Sara lead with encouragement, respect, and trust to enable Pro-Change’s multidisciplinary team of 19 to do and be their best.

“Pro-Change truly is magic. It’s this small little company where everyone believes so strongly in the mission. We don’t only do great things, but the people here are brilliant thought leaders in the field, hard-working, collaborative, and best of all…fun – and funny. The first 20 years were just the beginning!”

–Lynne Broderick, MPH (Lynne is a 9-year Pro-Change Veteran and a Senior Manager of Research & Development)

Pro-Change is planning a series of special events to commemorate this anniversary year.

Thank you for being by our side during this incredible journey and as we look forward to an exciting 20th year ahead!

Pro-Change Adds Text Messaging to Our Health Risk Intervention

Pro-Change is pleased to announce an innovative new feature added to Health Risk Intervention (HRI). Since 2014, Pro-Change has had NCQA Certification for our HRI which includes typical health risk assessment questions. But unlike others, it also assesses readiness to change leading health risk behaviors and provides immediate evidence-based, stage-matched feedback about the single most important strategy individuals can take to make progress on each behavior. Each time the HRI is taken, feedback is updated to reflect change. New recommendations are provided to promote the use of the behavior change strategies most likely to improve health and well-being.

Now users can opt to receive text messages that inspire and encourage them to make small changes throughout the year, between HRIs sessions. Text messages are based on the same rigorous behavior change science and statistically-derived decision rules embedded in the HRI. Informed by decades of research, the text messages are not merely one-size-fits-all nudges.

Part of the secret to the success of the tailored text messages is the proactive, ongoing delivery. Historically, health assessments have been a once-yearly event. Text messaging enables brief, evidence-based messages to continue to engage participants in the behavior change process. The texts essentially provide ongoing doses of behavior change medicine, elevating the HRI to the next level.

The text messages in similar Pro-Change programs have been met with rave reviews from end users.

I liked that whoever created this seems to care about my well-being.

Early on, the text messages were the only thing that made me think twice and not give up. With time, I was confident enough to manage this on my own!

Click here to read more about our HRI.