The basic premise is that different people are motivated by different things---what works to encourage one person to quit smoking or eat healthier might not resonate at all with another. Resnicow's study uses race as one dimension to understand personal motivation as it relates to health.
Because of the country's troubled racial history, and ongoing sensitivity about conversations of race, Resnicow said that even asking direct questions about racial attitudes must be done with great care.
"If it wasn't difficult, it wouldn't be worthwhile," Resnicow said. Even the methodology of the phone interviews is delicate, Resnicow said, because of such concerns as whether the interviewers should sound discernibly Black and whether even asking such questions will offend some survey participants.
Resnicow works closely with Victor Strecher, a national leader in tailored health behavior interventions, to help people change their ways. They are part of the U-M Center for Health Communications Research, funded through a $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Both are members of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Center for Health Communications Research has three primary research projects: promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among African Americans; helping people quit smoking; and helping women decide whether to take the drug tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention.
Resnicow will work with the Center for Health Communications Research's partners, Group Health Cooperative of Seattle and Henry Ford Health System of Detroit to conduct phone interviews in Detroit.
"These are HMOs that are on the cutting edge," Resnicow said of the partners, "because they are recognizing the heterogeneity of African-American culture and doing something to imp
Contact: Colleen Newvine
University of Michigan