Title: Senior research investigator
Academic appointment: Associate professor of medicine, University of Minnesota
Other offices: Research scientist at the Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research
Joined the Institute: 1998
Education and training: PhD, sociology and demography, University of Wisconsin at Madison; postdoctoral training in cardiovascular behavioral health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Overview/research interests: Since 1996, Brian has conducted health behavior-related research (both interventional and observational), serving on federally funded projects as PI of a large behavioral intervention trial of physical activity maintenance (RO1-AG023410), site PI on studies of stroke epidemiology (RO1-NS39028), the etiology of childhood obesity (RO1-HL085978), work-family balance, diet and physical activity (RO1-HD056360), smoking cession (RO3-CA78183) and as a coinvestigator on multiple other studies.
Since 2001, Brian has led a series of federally funded research projects on research integrity (RO1-NR08090; RO1-NS052885). As co-PI with Dr. Carol Thrush (R21-RR025279), he co-led a study developing and assessing the validity and reliability of a survey instrument to evaluate research integrity climates in academic research organizations. That work resulted in a tool called the Survey of Organizational Climate (SOuRCe). As PI, he recently completed a 3-year project with funding from the VA HSR&D (l01-HX001120), conducting a randomized controlled trial using the SOuRCe to test the efficacy of a reporting and feedback intervention to improve research integrity climates in VA research settings.
In 2009-2010, he served on an invited expert panel on research integrity convened by the Council of Canadian Academies at the request of Industry Canada, leading to the report, Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada. From 2012 to 2017, Brian served as a member of a U.S. National Academies ad hoc panel chartered by COSEMPUP, which published Fostering Integrity in Research in April 2017.
His research interests and expertise include:
- Health-related behavior and social determinants of health
- Research integrity and its relationship to the structural and institutional organization of science
- Psychosocial issues and bounded rationality in human decision-making as it relates to health and health-related behavior, as well as to research ethics and integrity.
- Systems science and simulation
Research activities and funding
As a coinvestigator to Bjorn Westgard, Brian is serving on an NHLBI-funded study (RO1-HL118282, PI: Dr. Bjorn Westgard) employing systems science methods (including respondent-driven sampling, social network analysis and agent-based modeling) to study cardiometabolic risks in the Somali Community in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, he is collaborating with colleagues at the American Geophysical Union and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in extending the SOURCE survey instrument to include assessments of organizational health, sexual harassment and assault and bullying.
With funding from the NIH Common Fund, as one of 11 projects funded by the NIH National Mentoring Research Network, he is collaborating with a team of researchers based at Brandeis University, led by Dr. Linda Pololi, in testing the efficacy of the group-peer-mentoring intervention she has developed for retaining women and under-represented minorities in medical research careers.
As a Co-Investigator with a team at the University of Minnesota, he is collaborating with PI, Dr. Rachel Isaksson-Vogel, conducting a trial to test the efficacy of a wearable device intervention to improve sun-exposure behaviors and reduce sun-burn in melanoma survivors. This work is funded by the American Cancer Society.
For the past several years, Brian has served in a somewhat more formal mentoring capacity to Dr. Bjorn Westgard, an emergency medicine physician and medical anthropologist. He is currently serving as a mentor to Dr. Pritika Kumar, a Research Investigator at HealthPartners Institute, to Ifrah Biyoow, a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, and previously served as a mentor to Dr. Farhiya Farah, who completed her doctorate in Environmental Health at the University of Minnesota in 2017.