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
- Systems science and simulation
- 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.
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 Clearway Minnesota, Brian serves as coinvestigator to Dr. Steve Fu on a project developing Asian language-specific smoking quit line capacities, initially being tested for use in Vietnamese populations. He is also serving as a coinvestigator to PI Erin Krebs on a four-year project funded by VA HSR&D (l01-HX001752) assessing the effects of VHA opioid policy on prescribing and patient-centered outcomes.
Under a Professional Services Contract to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he is also currently involved in the development and propagation of an online survey fielding and report-engine designed to make implementing the SOuRCe tool cost-effective, efficient and comphrensible for university leaders.
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. Within the context of an NHLBI-funded project being led by Dr. Westgard (RO1-HL118282), we received a diversity supplement to bring onto our study team Ms. Farhiya Farah, a local Somali scholar who, in August 2017, completed her PhD in environmental health at the University of Minnesota. Both Brian and Dr. Westgard continue to serve as mentors to Dr. Farah.