Ms. Danielle Schoffman was presented with the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 2015 Distinguished Student Award for Excellence in Research at the Society’s Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in San Antonio on April 23. The Excellence in Research award is presented each year to one or two students who demonstrate outstanding academic and professional potential in the field of behavioral medicine.
Ms. Schoffman is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the department of health promotion, education, and behavior at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She was selected for the award based on her dissertation research. In America’s battle against climbing obesity rates and other health complications associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity, Ms. Schoffman’s research offers a possible answer: using mobile technology (e.g., apps and physical monitoring devices) in a family setting to improve healthy behaviors.
Building on her 2013 publication “Mobile apps for pediatric obesity prevention and treatment, healthy eating, and physical activity promotion: just fun and games?”, Ms. Schoffman used a $5,000 SPARC award to conduct a pilot study where she tested commercially available mobile apps and physical activity monitoring devices with parent-child dyads. Using this pilot study as a springboard, she is exploring these relationships with her dissertation project.
Specifically, Ms. Schoffman is looking at the ways in which mobile technology (i.e., apps and physical activity monitoring devices) can be used in a family setting to support behavior change and improved communication. “I am interested in outcomes related to healthy eating, increased physical activity and improved parent-child communication about health,” Ms. Schoffman explains. Her study, which began in early 2015, is a three-month randomized trial of two remotely-delivered programs: information delivered via email and apps. [To learn more or determine eligibility for participation, visit http://mobilefamilyresearch.com.]