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

Pro-Change Receives NIDA SBIR Contract

South Kingstown, RI. (August 13, 2014)


Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. has received its first Small Business Innovation Research Contract from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Phase I contract was awarded for the topic “Technological Tools to Facilitate Implementation of Evidence-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Interventions among the Military.” The project aims not only to identify the best practices for evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs, but also to develop and test a tool to implement those practices for military personnel. A functional prototype intervention will be developed using a participatory design approach and tested in a small pilot.

“While many effective, evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs exist in the general population, not all meet the unique needs of military personnel. And even fewer of those programs take advantage of the military’s advanced use of innovative technologies,” stated Kerry E. Evers, PhD., Senior Vice President at Pro-Change and the project lead. The behavioral focus of the project includes tobacco, alcohol, and other substances (including prescription drug abuse). The project will extend its focus to other behaviors that impact on substance abuse and are included in the Total Force Fitness (TFF) paradigm (such as stress management, sleep management, and depression prevention). Through the use of cutting edge science in multiple behavior change, the prototype will address many of those behaviors.

The team will begin the project by conducting an extensive literature search on existing evidence-based prevention interventions and will conduct interviews with expert consultants. This will inform the development of a prototype technological tool which will be tested for feasibility and acceptability in a pilot study. A team of military personnel will be engaged throughout the course of the project to offer their insights on the usability, acceptability, and qualitative reviews of the prototype.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN271201400023C.

Dr. Sara Johnson Talks About Coaction, Culture, and Behavior Change


South Kingstown, RI. (July 9, 2014) – In the July/August 2014 issue of the Health Promotion Practitioner, Sara Johnson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President at Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. is interviewed by Paul Terry, Ph.D., EVP and Chief Science Officer at StayWell Health Management.

Dr. Terry writes that one of the most transformative research areas for health promotion relates to “coaction” – that is, those who are successful changing one habit area appear more effective at improving in other areas. When leaders in health promotion deal with organizations, we need to explore the potential for “coaction” between behavior change interventions and cultures. The following are some of Dr. Johnson’s quotes on coaction, organizational work culture, and behavior change.

“If we analyzed culture elements alongside the behavior change factors we usually measure, we could show how improvements in an organization’s culture of health relate to improvements in the behavioral areas and vice versa. We would expect some synergistic organizational-level efforts (like policy changes) and individual behavior change efforts (like smoking cessation and healthy eating). The strength of that coaction may depend on the stage of change distribution for individual behaviors being targeted because folks in earlier stages of change are more resistant to policy changes. The converse is, unfortunately, also likely to be true. That is, if you have a perfect, supportive culture of wellness but fail to provide tailored behavior change programs that respect where individuals are regarding readiness to change, you’re bound to have less impact.

We need to standardize some way of measuring culture more comprehensively to reflect well-being, not just wellness. And we absolutely need to tackle culture and behavior change simultaneously to determine whether we get the synergies we would predict.”

Pro-Change is currently exploring opportunities with partners to investigate synergies between cultural and behavior change interventions.

Pro-Change’s Tailored Text Messaging Program Enhancement Receives Rave Reviews

South Kingstown, RI. (June 12, 2014) – As part of a larger trial, U. S. Veterans who received the full Pro-Change Smoking Cessation Program, plus the new text messaging enhancement, were asked

What they liked most about the program

Word cloud of actual user feedback and testimonials of the LifeStyle Management Suite

The overwhelming majority indicated that the text messaging they received was one of the program’s highlights; with 72% indicating that the texts helped move them forward toward quitting and over 79% indicating that the texts reinforced what they had done online in the computer tailored program.

The Pro-Change texting enhancement goes beyond the standard use of SMS for reminders and segmented messaging. Rather, our software has been designed to implement best practices of Transtheoretical Model tailoring. That results in a fully tailored text message for each individual that aims to reinforce the tailored experience they have online. In addition, each time a participant interacts with the computer tailored program, the text messages are re-tailored to the individual’s current behavior change status.

Results of the clinical trial, led at Pro-Change by Senior Vice President Kerry Evers, Ph.D., comparing the standard online program to the enhanced program including the text messages, are forthcoming. However, evaluation and qualitative feedback indicate that participants found the new messaging component very useful. One participant stated, “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.” This unique texting program is now being implemented as an enhancement in all Pro-Change LifeStyle Management programs.

This research was conducted with the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute which awarded a subcontract to Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. through funding from the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), an office of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC).

Pro-Change Partners with VAL Health Rewards to Make Care New England “Healthy Together”

a Healthy Together family

South Kingstown, RI. (June 2, 2014) – On May 19th, Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. and VAL Health Rewards launched the Healthy Together program at Care New England Health System (CNE). Healthy Together is designed to help entire families adopt regular exercise and healthy eating habits.

Employees of CNE and their families will have access to Pro-Change’s award-winning digital coaching programs for up to one year. Benefit-eligible employees and spouses/partners will have access to either the Exercise and Healthy Eating programs or to the Weight Management program. Tween and teen dependents (ages 10-18) will have access to Pro-Change’s Health in Motion program.

Health in Motion has been proven to help tweens and teens exercise regularly, eat healthy, and limit screen time. In addition to the digital coaching program for tweens and teens, Health in Motion comes with a family guide designed to help parents support and encourage their children along the way. Dependents using Health in Motion are eligible for rewards through VAL Health Rewards. During the first six months of the program, tweens and teens can earn up to $145 in iTunes gift card rewards.

The Healthy Together programs, based on the Transtheoretical Model, can be used on computers, tablets, or mobile devices, and have been demonstrated effective in randomized clinical trials. Participants are helped wherever they are – ready, getting ready, or not ready to change their exercise and eating behaviors.

Consistent with their continued commitment to community outreach, CNE is also providing the Healthy Together Program to patients of Thundermist Health Centers of Rhode Island.

“We are very excited to be working with Pro-Change and VAL Health on the Healthy Together program. After our first highly successful smoking cessation program, we wanted to apply the research and model to areas of high interest for our employees. Promoting healthy eating habits and regular exercise is crucial for the health of our employees and their families. Involving both adolescents and parents in this initiative, and incorporating innovative incentives has the potential to increase the impact of these already very effective programs,” said Domenic Delmonico, Senior Vice President and executive sponsor of the program for CNE.

Sara Johnson, Senior Vice President of Research & Development at Pro-Change said, “Pro-Change is very pleased to team up with VAL Health Rewards again to bring innovative wellness solutions to CNE and Thundermist.”

About VAL Health
VAL Health is a leading behavioral economics consulting firm. Its health related incentive solutions are derived from team members’ rigorous scientific studies that demonstrate that how one offers health incentives is often more important than the size of the incentive. VAL Health applies behavioral economic science into practice to develop high impact wellness programs for employers and health plans, and customized incentive programs for health-related technology companies to increase participation and engagement. For more information, please visit www.valhealth.com.

About Care New England
Care New England Health System is positioned to transition into the new era of health care delivery with a high quality continuum of care. Its strengths are based on complementary programs and distinctive competencies of partner hospitals and agencies including Kent, Butler, Memorial, and Women and Infants Hospitals, the VNA, and the Care New England Wellness Center. For more information, please visit www.carenewengland.org

Pro-Change Programs are Part of a Collaborative Grant for Alaska Native Men and Women

an alaskan landscape with mountains in the background

South Kingstown, RI. (May 21, 2014) – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year research project grant (R01) to study the effect of disease prevention counseling delivered via telemedicine within rural villages in the Bristol Bay Area of Alaska. Participants will be Alaska Native men and women who smoke cigarettes and have at least one additional cardiovascular disease risk factor (e.g., inactivity, overweight status, hypertension, high cholesterol) or established vascular disease. The study aims to meet Alaska Native health needs and values. It targets 5 of the American Heart Association’s 7 Strategic Impact Goals for 2020. The primary outcomes are increased tobacco abstinence and physical activity. An active comparison group targets control of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia through medication adherence and dietary change.

The health counseling is guided utilizing Pro-Change’s award-winning computer tailored interventions, which will be customized and hosted for the Alaska Native population. Stage-matched print manuals will also be used as behavior change tools.

The grant is informed by fieldwork over the past six years in rural Alaska, continued community partnerships with the tribes, and ethnographic research. The grant combines technology, pharmacology, behavioral science, and health economics for advancing the health of Alaska Native people who face significant health disparities with limited access to interventions given their isolated geographics.

The grant is a collaboration with Stanford University, the Alaska Native Medical Center, the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc.

Pro-Change’s Kerry Evers Invited Speaker at The HxRefactored Conference

HXRefactored Conference - Brooklyn, NY - May 13 & 14, 2014
South Kingstown, RI. (May 7, 2014) – Kerry Evers, PhD, Senior Vice President at Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc., has been invited to present at the HxRefactored Conference in Brooklyn, NY, on how the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM) theory can be incorporated into the latest technology. The theme of the May 13-14, 2014 Conference is HxRefactored: Bringing Designers and Developers together to improve the Health Experience and will feature talks on designing for behavior change. “We are very pleased that HxRefactored is featuring Dr. Evers to teach and demonstrate how the TTM can be incorporated into tailored print, interactive programs, SMS text messaging, and mobile communications,” stated Janice M. Prochaska, PhD, President and CEO.

HxRefactored is a revolutionary design and technology conference that will gather over 600 designers, developers, and leaders in health for two days of thought provoking talks, workshops, and discussions on how to improve the quality of the health experience. The conference fuses the technical and creative elements of Health 2.0’s Health: Refactored and Mad*Pow’s Healthcare Experience Design Conference.

Pro-Change Chairing Symposium on the Use of Mobile Health with Special Populations at The Society of Behavioral Medicine

South Kingstown, RI. (April 17, 2014) -Drs. Leanne Mauriello and Kerry Evers will be presenting as part of a Symposium, “The Use of mHealth with Special Populations: Theory, Research and Practice” at the 35th annual meeting and scientific sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 25th. Dr.Mauriello’s presentation, “Using mHealth to Deliver Behavior Change Interventions within Prenatal Care at Community Health Centers,” will focus on the outcomes of Pro-Change’s multiple behavior and multiple language iPad delivered prenatal health behavior intervention. Dr. Evers’ presentation, “Review of Recent Development and Evaluation of Transtheoretical Model based mHealth interventions for Veterans,” will describe the development and evaluation of Pro-Change’s tailored text messaging for smoking cessation for Veterans, as well as the customization of the stress management and depression prevention programs for Veterans. Dr. Wendy Nilsen from the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health, will also speak on, “mHealth in Traditionally Underserved Populations: A View from the National Institutes of Health.” Dr. Kevin Patrick, University of California, San Diego, will serve as a discussant of the session. This Symposium is of special interest given the importance of facilitating greater incorporation of theory and strong methodology with mHealth initiatives.

About the Society of Behavioral Medicine
The Society of Behavioral Medicine is a multidisciplinary organization of clinicians, educators, and scientists dedicated to promoting the study of interactions of behavior with biology and the environment, and the application of that knowledge to improve the health and well being of individuals, families, communities, and populations. Their vision is Better Health through Behavior Change. For more information, please visit sbm.org.


Five Pro-Changers Present at The Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference

South Kingstown, RI. (March 20, 2014) – From March 24 – 28, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, five Pro-Changers will present an Intensive Training Seminar and Concurrent Sessions on the Conference theme, “What Works Best in Health Promotion? Perspectives of the Top Program Managers and Scientists.”

James O. Prochaska, PhD and Janice M. Prochaska, PhD will lead a two-day intensive training institute on “Changing to Thrive: Latest Breakthroughs in Applying the Transtheoretical Model.” Kerry E. Evers, PhD will present on “Next Practices: The Integration of Best Practices in Health Behavior Change Interventions”; Sara S. Johnson, PhD will present on “Promoting Financial Well-Being: Why and how?”; James O. Prochaska, PhD will present on “High Impact Programs to Enhance Health and Well-Being”; and Carol O. Cummins, MLIS, MEd will present on “What Works Best in Health Promotion for College Students?” At a time in which critical questions are being raised about whether wellness works, it is important that we gather to share what works best in health promotion.

About The Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference   

The annual Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference brings together the leaders in health promotion who represent some of the largest and most successful programs in workplace, clinical, educational, and community settings. For more information, please visit www.healthpromotionconference.com.

Pro-Change’s Health Appraisal Receives NCQA Certification


HIP Cert- Health Appraisals.300dpi.color
Pro-Change’s Health Risk Intervention (a Health Risk Assessment plus Intervention) was awarded Health Information Products (HIP) Certification for Health Appraisals by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Pro-Change’s Health Risk Intervention (HRI) uses validated questions to assess readiness to change leading health risks and provides immediate evidenced-based, stage-matched feedback about the single most important strategies individuals can use to make progress on reducing specific risk behaviors. Our HRI also conforms to the “Framework for Patient-Centered Health Risk Assessments: Providing Health Promotion and Disease Preventions Service to Medicare Beneficiaries” developed by the CDC. It can be used by clinicians to help meet the health assessment requirements of the Medicare Annual Wellness visit.

NCQA’s HIP Certification process is a quality assurance program that health plans can use to assess organizations that develop and provide content, tools, and services. It evaluates an organization’s management of various aspects of its data collection and systems operation, and the process it uses to continuously improve the services it provides. It includes rigorous evaluations by a team of health care professionals. A national oversight committee of physicians analyzes the team’s findings and determines certification based on the organization’s compliance with NCQA standards.

“We are very proud to have our HRI certified by NCQA. It is especially gratifying to have our evidence-based work receiving such recognition,” stated Janice M. Prochaska, PhD, President and CEO of Pro-Change.

About NCQA

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers, and researchers. For more information, please go to www.ncqa.org.

Pro-Change Featured in Care Continuum Alliance’s Webinar Series

South Kingstown, RI., (February 5, 2014) – Leanne Mauriello, PhD, Vice President of Research and Product Development at Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc., will present in the Care Continuum Alliance’s Employer Webinar Series on  February 10th from 12-1:30 p.m. (EST) in a webinar titled, Impacting Employer Sponsored Health Management Programs Through Successful Behavior Change and Smart Health Advocacy. Dr. Mauriello will focus on selecting and implementing successful behavior change programs for employees. She will outline best practices in achieving behavior change: how to critically evaluate employer-based programs on quality and impact; and how to identify benchmarks for evaluating effectiveness. Next, Michael Manocchia, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at Cigna Analytics, will present on finding optimal segments for health advocacy programs and using those findings to impact health campaigns and clinical operations. The webinar is based on a pre-conference workshop, included in the Employers Training Institute, at the Care Continuum Alliance’s Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona last October. There will be time for Q&A at the end of the webinar. Registration is free but is required. Read more and register now at (https://ccaorg.webex.com/mw0401l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=ccaorg&service=6)

About Care Continuum Alliance 

Care Continuum Alliance aligns stakeholders in the continuum of care toward the goal of improving the health of populations. The care continuum includes wellness and health promotion, prevention, care coordination and patient advocacy, condition management, and complex case management. Care Continuum Alliance promotes the role of these and other strategies in raising care quality, improving health outcomes, and reducing preventable health care costs for individuals with or at risk of chronic disease. Care Continuum Alliance accomplishes this through advocacy, research, and promotion of best practices. For more information please visit www.carecontinuumalliance.org.