The Organizing Committee of ISBNPA 2023 Annual Meeting is pleased to offer you this wide selection of pre-conference workshops.

Please note that the workshops are not included in the conference registration; delegates need to register for them in addition to the conference.

Date: June 14, 2023
Location: Uppsala Biomedical Centre

Title: WS.1.01 – Observational research and causal conclusions: friends or foes?

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Room: A9:011


  • Dr. Jelle Van Cauwenberg, Dr. Louise Poppe

Brief Description:

Due to ethical or practical reasons, observational studies are often used in health promotion research. While we are ultimately interested in causal effects (to guide interventions and policy), the majority of these observational studies rely on associational rather than causal analysis. This may result in the observed associations being spurious because of confounding, selection or measurement bias. However, in the end, causal conclusions tend to be (implicitly) made in our policy and practice recommendations. The use of causal inference methods will visualize and reduce bias improving the quality of our observational research and the resulting policy and practice recommendations. 

Title: Connections Matter: Introduction and Application of Social Network Analysis

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Room: A9:017


  • Dr. Tyler Prochnow, Dr. Katherine Arlinghaus

Brief Description:

Social network analysis (SNA) is a theoretical framework and set of methodologies growing in popularity, specifically in health behavior settings. Simply put, SNA allows researchers and practitioners to analyze connections within systems. Further, SNA helps answer unique research questions about health behaviors and outcomes among individuals, organizations, and communities. For example, SNA could be used to analyze the impact of collaborative ties between organizations in a health coalition; how friendship ties between adolescents at a summer care program impact physical activity; or network properties related to program adoption.

This half-day workshop serves as an introduction to and overview of the theory and application of SNA in health behavior research and practice. We will cover the theoretical premise and conceptualization of network data to provide a broad overview of what is possible when applying SNA in health behavior.

Successful participants will be able to develop a basic level of understanding of networks and SNA. This conceptualization of connections and networks is key for further application of methodology. No prior knowledge of SNA or data analysis is required.

Title: What works for whom under which circumstances and how: an introduction and practical guide to evaluate health behavior interventions using realist review

Time: 8:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Room: A9:001


  • Dr. Sofie Compernolle, Rebecca Hunter, Laura Van de Velde

Brief Description:

In the field of public health, the systematic review is still considered by many, to be the gold standard literature review. However, reviews like these, which judge whether an intervention works or not, can leave many unanswered questions when it comes to complex behavioral interventions. Therefore, a new perspective, focusing on what works for whom, under which circumstances and how, is needed. This new perspective can be gained by conducting a realist review. Realist reviews are increasing in popularity because they go beyond asking if an intervention works, to look for theories as to why a program worked, who it worked for and in what context it worked. However, despite the growing popularity of realist reviews, there is still limited application of this approach across the health behavior sciences. This interactive workshop aims to increase awareness regarding the utility of realist research by offering an introduction to realist methodology and an explanation of the steps involved in conducting a realist review. Upon completing this workshop, participants will understand the basic principles of realist methodology and will be able to start performing a realist review.

Title: Intervention Optimization: An Introduction to the MOST Mindset

Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Room: A9:105


  • Dr. Kate Guastaferro, Dr. Heather Wasser

Brief Description:

Behavioral interventions take an inconsequential amount of time and resources to develop and, more often than not, produce small (or no) effects on the desired outcome and/or do not ultimately reach the intended population. It doesn’t have to be this way! Intervention optimization is an approach to intervention development that maximizes effectiveness in the presence of implementation constraints (affordability, scalability, efficiency). An engineering-inspired approach to intervention development and experimentation provides more information thereby increasing the potential public health impact of the intervention!

Title: Introduction to and hand-on practice with system dynamics using the CO-CREATE model on obesity prevention.

Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Room: A7:115


  • Anaely Aguiar Rodriguez, Prof. Nanna Lien

Brief Description:

The purpose of this workshop is to explore an interactive model developed within the CO-CREATE project using System Dynamics (SD) modelling. The model is a population-level model demonstrating the drivers and feedback mechanisms governing obesity in adolescents. In the first part of the workshop, the facilitators introduce the CO-CREATE project and how it applies a systems approach to upstream overweight and obesity prevention. Then, the facilitators introduce Systems Thinking and the Systems Dynamics method. Thereafter, a simple example is developed step by step together with participants. In the second part of the workshop, the facilitators introduce the SD model developed in CO-CREATE. In the final interactive group activity, the facilitator shares the model interface link with participant groups. The groups will conduct a series of policy experiments using the model interface and comment on the impact of these policy experiments on obesity prevalence. Each group will report out their reflection on the policy experiments. Lastly, the facilitators wrap up the workshop.

Title: Designing interventions to promote community health: a multilevel, stepwise approach 

Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Room: A7:111


  • Dr. Leslie A. Lytle, Dr. Jess Haines, Dr. Allison Myers

Brief Description:

This workshop will lead participants through a systematic approach for designing behavior change interventions based on a newly published textbook, “Designing interventions to promote community health: a multilevel, stepwise approach” by Leslie Lytle. Dr. Lytle and colleagues, Dr. Jess Haines from University of Guelph, Canada and Dr. Allison Myers from Oregon State University, will interactively guide participants through four design phases: Plan, Create, Implement and Evaluate. A copy of the book will be provided to each participant.

Participants will learn to:
1) use behavioral theory, empirical evidence and formative work to identify a set of determinants of behavior and assemble them into a conceptual model;
2) create intervention objectives, components, and strategies specifically designed to impact the determinants in the conceptual model;
3) identify primary and secondary outcomes, decide on measurement tools and consider analytical approaches using the conceptual model as a blueprint.

Title: Network of Early Career Researchers and Students of ISBNPA (NESI) Workshop

Time: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Room: B7:101


  • Dr. Stephen Barrett, Dr. Emma Lawlor

Brief Description:

This workshop is for early career researchers (ECRs) and students who are interested in advancing their career development and enhancing their research networks. This half-day workshop is structured into two sessions. The first session will focus on developing skills for effective research communication. This session is targeted to students and ECRs who are thinking about how to showcase their research to a broad audience and maximize the impact of their research. This includes how to effectively disseminate findings to other academics, stakeholders and the public. This session includes presentations from Professor Vicki Lambert and Dr Sjaan Gomersall.
The second session will focus on strategies to increase your academic profile and networks. The session will equip participants with skills to raise their academic profile, establish an online presence and create collaboration networks. This session includes presentations from Professor Clare Collins and Dr Matt Hobbs.
The two sessions will include discussions and interactive group activities. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with other researchers at different stages of their career such as through facilitated group activities and during a break.

Title: Data science for nutrition research– an introduction to programming 

Time: TBD

Room: A5:001


  • Francesca Pontin

Brief Description:

Ever wanted to unlock the power of new and emerging forms of nutrition or physical activity data but do not have the programming skills? This workshop is a complete beginners guide to python programming using nutrition and activity data. With jargon-busting along the way, we will walk you through data types, packages, data cleaning, data exploration and visualisation. Taking a practical approach, we get you starting to code, with short explanations followed by practical exercises to work through, all using familiar data.

This workshop is led by a team of nutrition and physical activity researchers who have developed their own programming skills to utilise new forms of data including retailer loyalty card data, fitness app data, social media data and online restaurant reviews. The workshop leaders are all passionate about improving data science skills in the research community to further the use of these novel data to understand health behaviours.

Title: Cognitive interviewing for improved measurement in behavioral nutrition and physical activity

Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Room: B8:001


  • Dr. Cassandra Johnson, Prof. Katherine Dickin, Dr. Amanda McClain

Brief Description:

Wording of questionnaire items must be clear and comprehensible for all relevant audiences to ensure valid and equitable measurement, yet surveys are rarely tested across diverse audiences. This half-day workshop will provide foundational knowledge and skills for cognitive interviewing, a recommended technique for improving measurement by testing how survey items are understood. Experienced researchers will present background on methods, examples of use in behavioral nutrition and physical activity studies, and provide key reference materials and templates. Attendees will gain skills by working in small groups to draft and role-play a cognitive interviewing script on a tool/survey of their choosing, then share experiences and questions with the full group. They will also have the opportunity to work with cognitive interviewing data and consider the range of ways an item can be interpreted, then discuss how to apply this to improve questionnaire wording and ensure that multiple perspectives and backgrounds are considered in measure development. After participating in this workshop, attendees will be able to describe cognitive interviewing approaches and outline the key steps and benefits for improving surveys. Through discussion and hands-on activity, attendees will gain skills and receive resources to prepare them to conduct their own cognitive interviewing research.

A. 8:30 – 9:00 am – Welcome and Overview of Cognitive Interviewing
Dickin: Present learning objectives, describe cognitive interviewing approaches, and share past experiences.

B. 9:00 – 9:45 am – Cognitive Interviewing in Action
McClain: Demonstrate cognitive interviewing techniques using moderators’ data and discuss methods, challenges, and tips.

C. 9:45 – 10:25 – Small Group Activity: Drafting a Cognitive Interviewing Guide
Team: Small groups select items from their own questionnaire, or those provided by moderators, and work together to draft and test a cognitive interviewing guide, with support from moderators.

10:25 – 10:40: Short Break

D. 10:40 -11:00 – Facilitated Group Discussion: Participants’ Experiences with Cognitive Interviewing guide (Johnson)

E. 11:00 – 11:35 – Small Group Activity: Working with Cognitive Interviewing Data
Johnson: Small groups review excerpts of de-identified transcripts and discuss ideas for how to revise and improve items to address problems in interpretation.

11:35 – 11:45: Short break

F. 11:45 – 12:15 –Group Discussion of Transcript Review/Revision Suggestions
Johnson: Moderated discussion of small group experiences working with cognitive interviewing data

G. 12:15 – 12:30– Wrap up
Dickin: Summarize highlights and share resources. Participants discuss next steps in their research.

Title: Engaging vulnerable or marginalized populations in health behavior research: ethical considerations and lessons learned

Room: A3.117


  • Dr. Marilyn Wende, Jessica Stroope, Prof. Renée Umstattd Meyer 

Brief Description:

This workshop will create a forum for the exchange of ideas among those conducting or planning research that engages vulnerable or marginalized people. First, we will summarize best practices and ethical considerations. For example, we will draw on recommendations by the Physical Activity Research Center for recruiting diverse youth for physical activity research. Second, we will present and discuss case studies of research projects that engaged under-resourced communities in Texas and Louisiana.

Lastly, audience members will have the opportunity to outline and share recruitment/retention strategies for their own research by applying considerations highlighted in the first part of the workshop. We will work to incorporate ideas of promoting health equity and addressing social determinants of health in ways that facilitate community autonomy, agency, and power.

By the end of the session, participants will be familiarized with key engagement and recruitment strategies for rural, low-income, and minoritized racial/ethnic groups. Attendees should leave with a better understanding of how to design research studies that engage community members in development stages and consider the unique lived experience of the people asked to participate. These strategies will result in high levels of engagement and inclusion, with the overarching goal to promote health equity.

Title: Mobile Health App Development Using a “No-code” App Builder

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Room: A7:103


  • Dr. Sam Liu, Amanda Willms

Brief Description:

Mobile health apps can be a powerful tool for delivering personalized health interventions and collecting research data. However, designing mobile health apps can be challenging without in-depth knowledge of software programming. Thus, our team has developed a “no-code” app development platform (Pathverse) to help researchers and health professionals design mobile health apps. The Pathverse platform enables individuals to create customized IOS and Android apps using a graphic user interface. Researchers and health professionals can use drag-and-drop tools to select various features needed for their mobile app (e.g., goal-setting, self-monitoring trackers, ecological momentary assessments, forums, adaptive intervention delivery, and wearable data download). The no-code app development platform can significantly expedite the mobile health app development process and reduce the time and cost required. The course aims to develop practical skills for designing mobile health apps using the no-code app builder. Experts in the mobile health app field will discuss best practices for designing mobile health and explore different app evaluation methods (e.g., usability, feasibility testing). Researchers will also provide an overview of published research examples using the platform. The workshop will also offer hands-on experience in developing mobile health apps. This workshop is intended for individuals at all levels: students and trainees, early career professionals, and mid-career professionals are all welcome.