Timothy Brown

Closed (1) FUTUREPAIN: Randomized Controlled Trial to Test an Online Mind-Body Intervention for Chronic Pain and Whether Racial-Ethnic Concordance Affects Outcomes

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This project will implement and disseminate the FUTUREPAIN validated questionnaire as a screening device to determine who will benefit from a series of online mind-body interventions (affective self-awareness, mindfulness, and neurobiological education) to treat chronic pain for five chronic pain conditions. This involves developing and testing the online intervention, and social media and ordinary media outreach to enroll experimental subjects. This project is intended to be the basis of a large research proposal on chronic pain prevention and treatment.

The undergraduates involved will complete and maintain the FUTUREPAIN website, complete development of a set of online courses to deliver the intervention and collect experimental data, troubleshoot problems during the experimental period, help analyze data, and write papers based on the results. This project will be the basis of a large research grant proposal. Undergraduates will perform the following:

1. Maintain and improve the FUTUREPAIN website, which is the portal into the FUTUREPAIN study.

2. Complete development of the online intervention course (on the EDX platform--similar to Canvas), including setting up videos, presentations, and data collection instruments (using Qualtrics).

3. Participate in a social media outreach to invite chronic pain sufferers to participate in the study.

4. File institutional review board protocols


5. Write a paper describing the FUTUREPAIN protocol and analysis plan for publication.

6. Troubleshoot issues once the experiment begins

7. Analyze data and write papers based on the results.

Qualifications: Qualifications: 1. Website design experience, experience with Canvas course development, Qualtrics experience, an understanding of statistics, and social media experience (at least one of the former). On-the-job learning is expected, but some experience is needed. Computer science and public health majors preferred, but any major may apply. 2. Hours: 8-10 hours per week (so you could select 6-8 hours or 9-11 hours). This is flexible depending on how many students express interest. 3. This project will run from Fall 2021 through Spring 2022.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: All meetings will be on-campus (or done via Zoom) depending on the pandemic situation and student needs.

Related website: https://futurepain.berkeley.edu/

Closed (2) The Causal Effect of High-Quality Physician-Patient Relationships on Healthcare Costs and Outcomes: Differences by Race/Ethnicity and the Effect of Racial/Ethnic Concordance

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Large racial/ethnic disparities exist in medical care. Attenuation or removal of these disparities requires a rigorous understanding of the relevant underlying mechanisms. One such mechanism is high-quality physician-patient relationships. High-quality physician-patient relationships are associated with improved health outcomes and lower costs. However, such relationships appear to vary by the race/ethnicity of the patient and whether or not there is racial/ethnic concordance in the physician-patient relationship. To date, no studies have been performed that address these issues simultaneously using methods that allow for causal interpretation applied to data that have external validity at the national level.

This study covers each of these issues by asking the following questions: (1) Does the quality of physician-patient relationships exert a positive/negative effect on health and/or cost outcomes that systematically varies by the race/ethnicity of the patient and are any of these impacts altered if there is racial/ethnic concordance between the physician and patient; (2) To what extent would policies altering the quality of physician-patient relationships and/or racial/ ethnic concordance narrow disparities in health and/or cost outcomes; and (3) What is the business case for reducing racial/ethnic disparities in outcomes?


1. A. Task: Literature review of physician-patient racial/ethnic concordance medical/cost outcome studies. B. Learning outcome: understanding how to do literature reviews and becoming an expert on this particular topic.

2. A. Task: Literature review of physician-patient relationships and medical/cost outcomes. B. Learning outcome: understanding how to do literature reviews and becoming an expert on this particular topic.

3. A. Task: Literature review on the placebo-nocebo effect in physician-patient relationships. B. Learning outcome: understanding how to do literature reviews and becoming an expert on this particular topic.

4. A. Task: Data analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Study using Stata. B. Learning outcome: being able to understand sophisticated econometric analyses.

5. A. Task: Preparing presentations. B. Learning outcome: learning how to prepare persuasive presentations for webinars and conferences.

6. A. Task: Preparing report and manuscripts. B. Learning outcome: learning how to prepare peer-reviewed publication with possible coauthorship possible depending on the role played in the project.

Qualifications: 1. Skills Needed. A. Literature review skills; B. Data analysis skills (Stata preferred, but this can be learned if the student knows another statistical analysis package). C. Presentation skills. D. Writing skills. Note: not every student who applies needs to have all of the previous skills--but at least one skill is needed. Public health, economics, and data science majors preferred, but smart students from any major will be considered. 2. Hours: 8-10 hours per week (so you could select 6-8 hours or 9-11 hours). This is flexible depending on how many students express interest. 3. This project will run from Fall 2021 through Spring 2022.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Meetings will take place on campus (or via Zoom if the pandemic requires this). Actual research will take place either on your personal computer or in my data lab as needed.

Related website: https://publichealth.berkeley.edu/people/timothy-brown/

Closed (3) Suicide Prevention Among College Students Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This project will conduct the first systematic review and meta-analysis to identify the most effective and cost-effective intervention components for universal and targeted (indicated and selected) suicide prevention among college students in a global context. Special attention will be placed on disparities in suicide prevention across sociodemographic subgroups, inclusive interventions beyond campus, global context, and intervention responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Undergraduate students will be engaged in the text extraction, coding, data analysis, interpretation, manuscript drafting, submission and revision process.

Learning outcome will be the hand-in-hand experiences of learning how to conceptualize, conduct, and publish systematic review and meta-analysis.

Students will work with Dr. Brown and also Dr. Xiao (Cornell Medical School), who is a prolific researcher in the area of suicide.

There is the research protocol already published in JMIR Research Protocol
We will update the dates and also update the text extraction forms to add any available information on the relationship of chronic pain with suicidal behavior.
https://www.researchprotocols.org/2021/5/e26948





Qualifications: Public health students and psychology students preferred, but students of any major are welcome to apply.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: All meetings will be on-campus (or via Zoom) depending on the state of the pandemic and student needs.