Week One!

The Sunday after finals week, I moved into my friend’s apartment in Rogers Park to get the summer started! I am subletting from her until the start of July, when my own lease in Evanston begins. While it is a much quicker commute to work downtown from Rogers Park, I hadn’t anticipated all of the problems that would arise in her new place. Half of the light bulbs were out, mold covered the walls and tiles and in the bathroom, orange slime coated the shelves of the refrigerator, and there was no air conditioning or wifi! I spent all of my free time the first two days cleaning the place up to an acceptable level. Luckily, with the help of my friend and the landlord, most of the cleaning is done.

Things at the EHL were also hectic this first week because some of the research assistants were on vacation and we had four new interns! It was fun getting to meet everyone and helping show them around the lab. I also ended up spending a lot of time working on the existing Fit2Thrive study making phone calls and preparing packets to send to breast cancer survivors who are getting ready to start their exercise interventions in a few weeks. This was tedious but important work!

My first day back in the lab, I met with Dr. Phillips and Dr. Whitney Welch, a post-doc in the lab who is also guiding me in designing and implementing my summer project of interviewing and surveying breast cancer survivors about what they would have wanted out of an exercise JITAI program during chemotherapy. Dr. Welch presented an overview of the broader exercise program of which my interview project is just a piece. Together with Monica Hsu, another summer URG recipient, we will be designing a sedentary behavior reduction intervention for breast cancer survivors who were recently involved with the EHL’s IMPACT study.

The sedentary behavior reduction intervention will have four components: reminders to move delivered to a Fitbit Alta, a prescription for steps per day, email coaching, and a short videos with workouts sent to participants. Using a multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) design, participants will have a 50% chance of being assigned to any of these components and they may receive any combination of them. We will have 16 different combinations of components to which participants may be assigned!

At this point, we are still waiting for the study to be approved by Northwestern’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), which ensures that studies like ours, which involve human participants, abide by certain ethical standards to protect the participants from physical and emotional harm and to ensure that their personal information is being protected. Until we receive IRB approval, we can’t start recruiting participants! In the meantime, I will be working on preparing the intervention materials so they are all ready to go once we do have participants. As of week one I am still waiting on some information from Dr. Phillips and Dr. Welch in order to do that, but should have updates in my Week Two Post!

This week I also spent the day shadowing an obgyn at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and will be writing a post about that experience as well 🙂