Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In memoriam: Prof. Marci Campbell

Early this week I received notification of the terrible news that Prof. Marci Campbell, professor at the department of nutrition at the UNC School of Global Public Health of the University of North Carolina at Chapell hill died of cancer.
Dr. Campbell’s research focused on nutrition behavior change for health promotion and disease prevention. Her research focused on investigating health communication strategies aimed at reducing risk factors for cancer and chronic diseases in minority and under-served communities. Approaches include testing effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of computer-generated, individually tailored interventions on diet, physical activity, and cancer screening behaviors for health promotion and disease prevention in diverse populations; impact of multi-level interventions including individual, social, organization and environmental approaches to address social and economic determinants and encourage healthy behaviors; and dissemination research using evidence-based interventions for obesity prevention and health promotion on a population-wide level.
I worked closely with Marci when I took my first steps in research. I was fortunate enough to spend a few months at the University of North Carolina in the early 1990’s when Marci and I were both working on our PhD theses in which we studied the development, implementation and effects of computer-tailored nutrition education. Marci published the first paper on this topic in the American Journal of Public Health. Since then Marci and I kept collaborating on a number of studies, including a reviews in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and in Patient Education and Counceling, and as co-advisors for the PhD research of Dr. Willemieke Kroeze, who went on to further explore and improve computer-tailored health education.

Marci was a great friend and colleague and I am grateful that I could work and spent time with her.

New book on writing health communications

This week a new book on writing health communication is out. The book, edited by prof. Charles Abraham of the University of Sussex and Dr. Marieke Kools of Maastricht University. The book provides a systematic and detailled description with lots of practical information regarding how people process information and how such insights can be used to improve health education materials. The book has chapters on message framing, the use of fear appeals, tailoring messages, using graphics, and behaviour change. Each chapter is illustrated with examples - including both good and bad practice and covering a range of health topics. Together with Anke Oenema of Maastricht University, I wrote the chapter on computer-tailored health education.