February 2020: EARLY BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION DEVELOPMENT: How a Focus on Clinical Significance, Feasibility, and Pilot Studies Can Enhance the Likelihood of Successful Funding

Dr. Lynda Powell, PhD

Dr. Kenneth E. Freedland, PhD


1. Develop skills in the progressive process of intervention development.

2. Learn about non-traditional designs that are well suited to early-phase intervention research, such as proof of concept, feasibility, and pilot studies.

3. Develop skills in publication of, and receipt of funding for, early phase intervention development studies.

December 2020: Using Objective Indices of Dyadic Interactions to Inform Intervention Development 

Dr. Laura Porter, PhD
Dr. Donald Baucom, PhD
Overall Objectives:
  1. Introduce the value of evaluating dyadic interactions for informing targets of intervention.
  2. Demonstrate behavioral observational coding for assessing important aspects of dyadic functioning such as social support.
  3. Demonstrate the utility of non-verbal aspects of dyadic interactions such as voice pitch as a measure of emotional arousal.
  4. Discussion between workshop leaders and participants regarding application of the above concepts to each participant’s research.

Access the recording HERE

October 2020: Developing Theory-Based Interventions

Dr. Timothy J. Strauman, PhD
Dr. Katherine Ramos, PhD
Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Gaither, PhD
Dr. Ann Brewster, PhD
Overall Objectives:
  1. Introduce the value of incorporating behavioral science theory into the process of behavioral intervention development for enhancing health outcomes.
  2. Demonstrate a process for identifying, translating, and incorporating a relevant theory into a new or adapted behavioral intervention.
  3. Identify some widely-used theories that have guided existing behavioral interventions for health.
  4. Collaborate with workshop leaders and other participants to share ideas and suggestions for each participant’s new intervention.
Workshop Overview:

The Duke Roybal Center will be hosting a virtual workshop ‘Developing Theory-Based Interventions’ on Friday, October 30 from 3-5pm.  The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Timothy Strauman, Dr. Katherine Ramos, Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Gaither and Dr. Ann Brewster and will focus on the value of theory in developing effective behavioral health interventions.

While anyone is welcome to attend, Strauman says the workshop will be especially valuable for new and junior investigators who are involved in medical settings but may lack a strong background in behavioral science theory. This may include physicians, exercise physiologists and nurses — anyone that wants to improve health outcomes for a target population with a disease or health condition.

“There are a lot of people who work in medical settings, who work with patient populations, that see the need for new interventions to facilitate behavior change…,” says Strauman.  “I think this workshop will be helpful for people who are working with people with challenging medical problems where behavior change would be really helpful, but behavioral science is just not their background.”

Medication compliance, exercise, smoking and diet are all behaviors targetable by interventions that could greatly improve outcomes of complicated health problems.  A theory-based framework can help an investigator conceptualize a problem and offers a starting point for translating existing knowledge into new and more effective interventions.

Dr. Strauman is a clinical psychologist whose research at Duke focuses on depression and treatment development. His work relies on translational research, or using behavioral theories and findings and translating them into health interventions. Currently, he is involved with one of the pilot projects funded by the Roybal Center, which has modified a depression therapy developed by Strauman for patients with stage IV lung cancer. The therapy encourages cancer patients to re-evaluate themselves, allowing them to identify what goals and priorities they want to have going forward, and to feel like their lives remain meaningful.

Drs. Brewster, Gaither, and Ramos will provide essential expertise in behavioral science and intervention science, and will share their own experiences with theory selection and intervention development. The workshop leaders believes behavioral interventions of this nature are essential in health contexts. They hope that the workshop will attract those who see the need for better health outcomes and want to develop interventions that target their population of interest.

Throughout the workshop, participants will be in breakout sessions for consultations and collaboration.  Investigators will provide some background information about their particular interests in advance, and the facilitators will be available to provide feedback both during the workshop and for follow-ups.

March 2020: Using Qualitative Methods to Inform Intervention Development 

Dr. Karen E. Steinhauser, PhD
Dr. Heather A. King, PhD
Overall Objective:

Identify key methodological considerations from qualitative methodologies that influence intervention development.

Specific Aims:
  1. Contextualize the process of intervention development to incorporate both theory-based and empirically-based qualitative inquiry.
  2. Understand and discriminate between sampling strategies and approaches to data collection.
  3. Design and critique interview guides and protocols.
  4. Place these aims within the context of the NIH Stage Model for intervention development.