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Research Opportunities

The UW-Madison has a worldwide reputation for graduate training that combines research, interdisciplinary didactic experiences, and practice. Faculty who collaborate on CHESS come from departments that encourage interdisciplinary graduate training and research. During the past decade, faculty members have compiled a record of excellence in teaching and training master's and Ph.D. students to research, develop, and implement interactive health communication, and they have proven their skill in disseminating research findings. CHESS has provided at least 20 master's and 24 Ph.D. students with research training, and of the 73 journal articles published on CHESS, graduate students were authors on 44 of these. Existing relationships with academic, public, and health care industry partners enable us to effectively and broadly spread knowledge and use of both the CHESS systems and UW-Madison training opportunities.

Here at CHESS, there are exciting and unique opportunities for analyzing a wealth of existing interactive health communications data. CHESS has been the subject of four completed randomized clinical trials and numerous field tests; five more are currently underway. In total, over 2,000 patients have been or are being studied, about 25% of whom are from underserved groups (mostly African-American). In each study, pre- and post-test data have been collected that address a wide variety of outcome and process variables, such as quality of life, coping, negative affect, self-efficacy, demographics, disease severity, treatments, information-seeking behavior, decision satisfaction, social support, and health services utilization. We know what parts of this interactive communications system individuals have used, as well as what material within the services they accessed. We know how long and the order in which they used the different services, how their use changed over time, what was said in the Discussion Groups, what questions were asked of the experts, and what responses were sent. In two of the clinical trials, we also know what Internet sites outside CHESS were used and details of use of those sites.

Graduate students from at least six different departments have worked on the development and evaluation of CHESS; many have based dissertations and theses on CHESS, including the following titles:

  1. "Online health consultation: an analysis of CHESS -- ask an expert service" by Hsueh-Yi (David) Lu. (2009)
  2. "The impact of online intervention programs on breast cancer patients : the relationship between use and outcomes" by Wei-Chih Chen. (2008)
  3. "Examining effective use of an Interactive Health Communication System (IHCS)" by Jeong-Yeob Han. (2008)
  4. "How women with breast cancer use and experience an ehealth information and support system: do cognitive style preferences yield to survival-based thinking" by Donna M. Van Bogaert. (2007)
  5. "Measuring needs of caregivers of cancer patients across the advanced cancer trajectory : comparison of three priority setting methodologies" by Kuang-Yi Wen. (2006)
  6. "Effects of interactive cancer communication systems (ICCS) use on quality of life breast cancer patients and simulation modeling of level of use" by Abhik Bhattacharya. (2006)
  7. "Assessing employee attitudes towards organizational change in substance abuse treatment agencies" by James H. Ford II. (2004)
  8. "Modeling change agent behavior & sustainable adherence" by Todd D. Molfenter. (2004)
  9. "Internet information seeking and message evaluation in lung cancer patients and their caregivers" by Martha J. Gaie. (2004)
  10. "Predicting falls among the elderly residing in long-term care facilities using knowledge discovery in databases" by Kanittha Volrathongchai. (2004)
  11. "The effects of interactivity on the credibility of static web sites and web site forums" by Gi Woong Yun. (2003)
  12. "Learning to live beyond a heart event; a case study in online learning," Meg Wise, Ph.D. (2001)
  13. "The function and influence of insightful disclosures within computer mediated support groups in women with breast cancer," Bret R. Shaw, Ph.D. (2000)
  14. "Impact of physician behaviors on patients outcomes: an evaluation of the patient's perceptions," Neeraj K. Arora, Ph.D. (2000)
  15. "Decision making styles and information needs of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer," John H. Mendenhall, Ph.D. (1999)
  16. "Modeling a dynamic decision process: assessing the decision support needs of dementia familial caregivers," Sarah Wackerbarth, Ph.D. (1997)
  17. "CHESS: a case study in interactive health care communication," Paul Smaglik, M.A. (1996)
  18. "Self-efficacy, social support, and emotional well-being: using a health support system (CHESS) to cope with AIDS," Chien-Lung Chan, Ph.D. (1995)
  19. "Expectations, psychological distress, and coping of personal with AIDS-the intervention of a health information system," Jean Otis Taylor, Ph.D. (1995)
  20. "The effects of computer mediated communication on social support for AIDS patients," Pin Luarn, Ph.D. (1993)

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