Susan E. Morgan

Susan E. Morgan

Purdue University

I am working on three projects. The first project focuses on the types of radio PSAs that are most effective in motivating non-donors to register as potential organ donors. The data indicate that PSAs that evoke negative emotions (such as sadness) are more effective than
those that evoke happiness. Thus, it is more productive for the organ donation community to feature the stories of people who are on the transplant waiting list than to feature the stories of people who have already received transplants.

I am currently writing a grant proposal on the impact of providing a survivorship care program for prostate cancer survivors and their caregivers. The survivorship care program will combine the provision of a treatment summary (TS), survivorship care plan (SCP), and the services of a patient navigator. The project is grounded in the health belief model and will measure both short-term and long-term cognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes as well an evaluation of costs and health care utilization.

Finally, I am currently developing a pilot project to explore communication best practices for clinical trial recruitment. Professional recruiters will be recorded interacting with standardized patients as they recruit for several ongoing studies. Both verbal and nonverbal communication strategies will be assessed through qualitative coding procedures. Standardized patients will also provide a subjective, quantitative evaluation of the recruiters’ performance. Problematic integration theory forms the theoretical foundation of this study, along with social exchange theories.

key words to describe research

Mixed-methods, campaigns, cancer communication, clinical trial accrual, cancer survivorship

Work in relation to symposium keywords

The words that relate most to my work are theory and dissemination.

The foundations of the most useful interventions that improve health behaviors (not counting public policy changes) are grounded in theory. Theory provides a blueprint for the development of interventions. These interventions can be further improved upon when researchers identify which “variables” have been inadequately attended to (as evidenced by outcome evaluation data). Fully developed and evaluated interventions that are deemed successful can (and should) be disseminated to the communities that would benefit from them. Health communication, as it is currently practiced, is an inherently applied field, so without dissemination of the successful programs we develop, we are stopping short of our potential.

Participation Questions

• How do you explain/define what you do to medical personnel and/or other stakeholders in the research process or to the public?
I tell people that I try to figure out the best way to help a community or a population to make a shift to healthier behaviors, but that I first have to figure out why people haven’t already adopted the behavior in question.

• What other keywords would you add to the list above (connections, dissemination, ethics, methods, and theory) and why? (no more than three additions)
Community partners—because we often have to work with them to do our best, most useful work, and because they are frequently very difficult for academics to work with.
Culture—because so much of our work is relevant only to the extent that it resonates with the cultural values of the populations we are working with.

•What research challenges have you experienced and how did you solve them? Choose to focus on one or two specific examples that can help the group develop strategies for overcoming these types of challenges.

Coding nonverbal communication behaviors in the clinical trial recruitment process will be a significant challenge on my horizon. Compounding the challenge is the fact that most of the professionals that I have access to are African American and I am White. I hope to develop relationships with some of the recruiters to help deepen my understanding of the meaning and significance of their communication strategies, but it remains to be seen whether this will be possible for me.

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