Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #429
What's Up Doc? Integrating Acceptance and Commitment Training in Medical Training and Healthcare Settings
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Montreux, Swissotel
Area: CSE/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Anthony Biglan (Oregon Research Institute)

Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACTraining) is a non-psychotherapeutic variation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The methodology involves experiential exercises which aim to: loosen one's rigid adherence to rule governance, promote response variability, and contact the natural contingencies of living according to one's "values." ACTraining studies have been shown to be effective in a wide variety of settings with a wide variety of populations including: mental health and innovation, stigma, stress, burnout, sick leave, physical and psychological well-being, absenteeism, college performance, and worksite distress. This symposium will provide an overview of applied research pertaining to implicit behavioral assessment and ACTraining with the focus on healthcare practices. The primary research topics will include: weight loss management, training interprofessional communication skills between nursing and medical students, implicit behavioral assessment pertaining to burnout, and integrating ACTraining into a medical school curriculum.

Keyword(s): ACT, Healthcare
The Additive Effects of Online Values Clarification and Goal-Setting Training on Measures of a Weight Management System
Daniel Reimer (University of Nevada, Reno), STEVEN ANBRO (University of Nevada Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Amber Marie Candido (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Obesity in the United States is an urgent issue that the nation must address. Current estimations indicate that overweight and obesity trends are increasing, resulting in increases of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is important to develop strategies to make weight management more effective. One approach is to add components to already successful weight management programs in order to boost their long-term effectiveness. A combination of goal setting and values clarification training can have a significant effect on long-term behavior change. Adding a goal setting and values clarification training component to an already successful weight management program has been shown to increase the success of the program. The purpose of the current study is to determine the additive effects of online values clarification and online goal setting procedures on measures of weight management and behavior change of individuals in a weight management program. This presentation will outline the current trends in American obesity, show the impact of the values and goal setting modules compared to clinic averages and differences between different clinically significant outcomes, and examine whether the participants achieved their weight loss program’s “triple imperative,” a measure of overall adherence to the weight loss plan.

Lets Talk Teams: Examining the Impact of ACTraining on an Interprofessional Communication Intervention in Future Healthcare Providers

AMBER MARIE CANDIDO (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)

Human-induced medical error results in 210,000-440,000 American fatalities annually. Faulty teamwork and communication amongst healthcare providers has been identified as the root cause of such adverse events. To enhance teamwork, communication, and as a result patient safety, the incorporation of interprofessional education (IPE) into healthcare training has been advised. Introduced in June 2011, the I-PASS handoff bundle curriculum is one evidence-based technology currently used in IPE settings. Interprofessional teams who have completed the I-PASS handoff curriculum demonstrate improved communication, coordination, and leadership skills within groups. One component that remains missing, however, is the psychological training of individual values and perspective-taking skills. Within behavior analysis, a methodology known as ACTraining exists to address these psychological deficits. Given this information, the current study will implement of a comprehensive IPE program (based on the I-PASS curriculum and ACTraining literature) into a medical and nursing school. Behavioral measures related to interprofessional communication (e.g., simulated patient handoffs) will be taken before, during, and after exposure to the curriculum intervention.


The Adaptation of the Implicit Behavioral Assessment Technology to Guide Curriculum Development

Gregory Scott Smith (Chrysalis, Inc.; University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy Baker (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Alison Szarko (University of Nevada, Reno), Carolyn Brayko (University of Nevada, Reno), Nicole Jacobs (University of Nevada School of Medicine), MELISSA PIASECKI (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Debra Kuhls, M.D. (University of Nevada School of Medicine)

The impact of medical practitioners� implicit biases on the quality of care provided to patients perceived as different from themselves has been well documented.� Medical education has frequently addressed these biases in classroom settings, but there is evidence that in some cases, simply teaching about cultural differences may only reinforce some negative stereotypes.� Therefore, understanding the nature of implicit biases and acknowledging the potential negative effect on doctor-patient relationships may offer an effective approach to enhancing the cultural competence curriculum in medical education.� At the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM), a variation of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure has been developed to determine areas of implicit bias in the student population, with the intent of shaping the curriculum to address these biases.�This presentation will discuss the process of developing this assessment tool for UNSOM, and ways by which the data have been utilized in guiding curriculum development at UNSOM.


Determining the Effects of ACTraining on Measures of Implicit Attitudes and Burnout: A New Spin on Curriculum Training in Medical Education

ALISON SZARKO (University of Nevada, Reno), Carolyn Brayko (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Gregory Scott Smith (Chrysalis, Inc.; University of Nevada School of Medicine), Nicole Jacobs (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy Baker (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Melissa Piasecki (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Debra Kuhls (University of Nevada School of Medicine)

Medical schools seek curricular elements that increase resiliency, self-compassion, and empathy towards diverse patients to combat these effects. Previous studies have shown that the likelihood of stress, burnout, and depression tends to fluctuate depending on students degree of academic progression. By using a curriculum-based intervention, all students in a medical school, over time, are taught skills to prevent burnout and depression when the inevitable stressors set in. Understanding the effects of ACTraining in medical school settings may increase students compassion and resilience to burnout and depression. This presentation will discuss the development of modules teaching each of six essential components of ACTraining as a means of decreasing the likelihood of medical student burnout and increasing compassion for medical students. Both implicit and explicit measures of attitudes related to empathy, compassion, and bias will be discussed and explained from a behavior analytic perspective as a means of assessing the effectiveness of an ACTraining approach.




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