University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center Special Interest Projects

Limited competition supplements, or Special Interest Projects (SIPs), are available through the PRC Network.  These projects are awarded annually through the CDC and cover a variety of research topics. The SIPs funded from 2014 - 2019 are described below. 

Healthy Brain Initiative Network Collaborating Center

Reducing UV Exposure to Prevent Skin Cancer: Message Development and Testing

Integrating Self-Management Education with Cancer Survivorship Care

Economic Impact of Clinical Trials Among Children Diagnosed with Cancer

Building Local Community Health Leadership

Culturally Relevant Messages and Strategies to Promote Awareness about Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease


The Healthy Brain Initiative Network Collaborating Center (SIP 14-002) 


This center works with the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative Network to establish a research agenda to develop and disseminate messages that educate and empower the nation about cognitive health and other Road Map priorities, as well as train the next generation of leaders in public health and cognitive aging. 

PROJECT LEADS: Jason Karlawish and Amy Jordan

FUNDING CYCLE: 2014-2019


Stites S, Largent E, Johnson R, Harkins K, Karlawish J. Effects of Self-Identification as a Caregiver on Expectations of Public Stigma of Alzheimer's Disease. J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2021 Jan 16;5(1):31-39.

Balbim GH, Ashley Maldonado, Early A, Steinman L, Harkins K, Marquez D. Evaluation of Public Health Messages Promoting Early Detection of Dementia Among Adult Latinos With a Living Older Adult Parental Figure. Hisp Health Care Int. 2020 Sep;18(3):163-173.

Zhong R, Sisti D, Karlawish J. A pragmatist's guide to the assessment of decision-making capacity. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 21;214(4):183-185. 

Largent E, Karlawish J, Grill J. Study partners: essential collaborators in discovering treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 10, 101 (2018). 

Hailu T, Cannuscio C, Dupuis R, Karlawish J. A Typical Day With Mild Cognitive Impairment. American Journal of Public Health. 2017 Jun 1; 107:6, pp. 927-928.


Learn more here

Reducing UV Exposure to Prevent Skin Cancer: Message Development and Testing (SIP 14-018) 


This 3-year study uses a mixed-methods strategy to assess knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of adults; develop effective messages; and test communication strategies for two categories of skin cancer risk behaviors among adults ages 18 to 49 years: indoor tanning and outdoor sun exposure. 

PROJECT LEADS: Karen Glanz and Amy Jordan

FUNDING CYCLE: 2014-2019


Jordan A, Bleakley A, Alber J, Lazovich D, Glanz K.  Developing and testing message strategies to reduce indoor tanning.  American Journal of Health Behavior, 2020 May 1;44(3):292-301.

Bleakley A, Jordan A, Strasser A, Lazovich D, Glanz K. Testing General Versus Specific Behavioral Focus in Messaging for the Promotion of Sun Protection Behaviors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Oct 2019, 54(2):108-118

Calderón TA, Bleakley A, Jordan AB, Lazovich D, Glanz K. Correlates of sun protection behaviors in racially and ethnically diverse U.S. adults. Prevention Medicine Reports, Mar 2019; 13:346-353

Bleakley A, Lazovich D, Jordan A, Glanz K. Compensation Behaviors and Skin Cancer Prevention, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dec 2018, 55(6): 848-855

Bleakley A, Jordan A, Ellithorpe M, Lazovich D, Grossman S, Glanz K, A national survey of young women’s beliefs about quitting indoor tanning: implications for health communication messages, Translational Behavioral Medicine, Dec 2018, 8(6):898–906.

Glanz K, Jordan A, Lazovich D, Bleakley A. Frequent Indoor Tanners’ Beliefs About Indoor Tanning and Cessation. American Journal of Health Promotion, July 2018; 33(2), 293–299.


Integrating Self-Management Education with Cancer Survivorship Care (SIP 15-001) 


This project is working with adolescent and young adult (AYA) survivors of childhood cancer and involves testing the impact of AYA STEPS (Self-management via Texting, Education and Plans for Survivorship).  AYA STEPS is an innovative, technology-based intervention that provides customized care plans and a tailored mobile health application to enhance survivorship self-management.

PROJECT LEADS: Christine Hill-Kayser and Lisa Schwartz 

FUNDING CYCLE: 2015-2018


Darabos K, Barakat L, Schapira M, Hill-Kayser C, Schwartz L. Association of Demographic and Cancer-Specific Factors on Health Behavior Recommendations Specific to Cancer Prevention and Control Among Adolescent and Young Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2020 Nov 18. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2020.0130. Online ahead of print.

Schwartz L, Psihogios A, Henry-Moss D, Daniel LC, Ver Hoeve E,  Velazquez-Martin B, Butler E, Hobbie W, Buchanan Lunsford N, Sabatino S, Barakat L, Ginsberg J, Fleisher L, Deatrick J, Jacobs L, O’Hagan B, Anderson L, Fredericks E, Amaral S, Houston K, Vachani C, Hampshire M, Metz J, Hill-Kayser C, Szalda D. Iterative development of a tailored mHealth intervention for adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood Cancer. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, Mar 2019; 7(1): 31-43.



Economic Impact of Clinical Trials Among Children Diagnosed with Cancer (SIP 15-002) - funded 2015-2017


This study is comparing the economic impact and health-related quality of life outcomes among children with cancer who were treated on Phase III clinical trials to those who receive non-trial standard treatment. Outcomes evaluated include survival, direct and indirect costs, and health-related quality of life. Findings will inform decision-making for children with cancer and their families who are considering taking part in therapeutic clinical trials.

PROJECT LEAD: Marilyn Schapira

FUNDING CYCLE: 2015-2017


Schapira MM, Barakat LP, Silber JH: Reply to Assessing clinical trial effects on outcomes among pediatric and adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer. Cancer. Oct 2020.

Schapira MM, Stevens EM, Sharpe JE, Hochman L, Reiter JG, Calhoun SR, Shah SA, Bailey LC, Bagatell R, Silber JH, Tai E, Barakat LP. Outcomes among pediatric patients with cancer who are treated on trial versus off trial: A matched cohort study. Cancer. 2020 Aug 1;126(15):3471-3482. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32947. Epub 2020 May 26. PMID: 32453441.


Building Local Community Health Leadership (SIP 15-006)


This project involves developing, implementing, and evaluating a mentored experience (Philadelphia Health Leadership Institute - PHLI) to train community leaders in the Philadelphia Promise Zone to assess, intervene and evaluate a project addressing a chronic health problem. 

PROJECT LEADS: Fran Barg and Heather Klusaritz 

FUNDING CYCLE: 2015-2019


Culturally Relevant Messages and Strategies to Promote Awareness about Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease (SIP 14-003)


This 2-year project developed and disseminated an evidence base of culturally relevant messages and strategies to promote awareness about cognitive impairment to public health networks to increase detection and adoption of strategies to preserve cognitive health. 

PROJECT LEADS: Jason Karlawish and Amy Jordan

FUNDING CYCLE: 2014-2016


Jordan A, Bleakley A, Harkins K, Hailu T, Cassidy K, Hachey S, Karlawish J, “Together Make a Visit; Together Make a Plan:” Messaging to Adult Children with Concerns about a Parent’s Memory Loss, Health Communication, Feb 2019; 1-12.

Stites S, Harkins K, Rubright J, Karlawish J. Relationships Between Cognitive Complaints and Quality of Life in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment, Mild Alzheimer Disease Dementia, and Normal Cognition. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. Oct-Dec 2018; 32(4):276–283.

Stites S, Milne R, Karlawish J. Advances in Alzheimer’s imaging are changing the experience of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring. Jan 2018, 10: 285-300

Hailu T, Cannuscio C, Dupuis R , Karlawish J. A Typical Day with Cognitive Impairment. American Journal of Public Health, 2017, 107: 927-928.




For more information, please visit the UPenn PRC website.


Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  All SIPs are supplements to the UPenn PRC (Grant Number: U48DP005053).


Established in 2009, the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Behavior Research is an institution-wide collaborative effort, dedicated to conducting health behavior research, fostering advances in measurement of health behaviors, advancing the use of health behavior theory, and promoting collaboration among faculty, fellows and students. 




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