Jesús Díaz OTD, OTR/L
Research Assistant Professor
Room: CHP 222K
Phone: (323) 442-2741
Jesús Díaz was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and was raised in Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate, master's and clinical doctorate degrees at the University of Southern California. He currently serves as research assistant professor with the Pressure Ulcer Prevention in Spinal Cord Injury Study. His roles in the study include overseeing recruitment and developing and implementing a fidelity measurement for intervention. Dr. Díaz also works as an occupational therapist providing early intervention services to children in their homes and in clinical settings.
Fidelity Measures, Spinal Cord Injury, Pressure Ulcers
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA) in Occupational Therapy
University of Southern California
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology
University of Southern California
Clark, F., Pyatak, E. A., Carlson, M., Blanche, E. I., Vigen, C., Hay, J., Mallinson, T., Blanchard, J., Unger, J. B., Garber, S. L., Diaz, J., Florindez, L. I., Atkins, M., Rubayi, S., & Azen, S. P. (2014). Implementing trials of complex interventions in community settings: The USC-Rancho Los Amigos Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study (PUPS). Clinical Trials, 11, 218-229. doi:10.1177/1740774514521904. Link to full text Abstract →
BACKGROUND: Randomized trials of complex, non-pharmacologic interventions implemented in home and community settings, such as the University of Southern California (USC)-Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (RLANRC) Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study (PUPS), present unique challenges with respect to (1) participant recruitment and retention, (2) intervention delivery and fidelity, (3) randomization and assessment, and (4) potential inadvertent treatment effects.
PURPOSE: We describe the methods employed to address the challenges confronted in implementing PUPS. In this randomized controlled trial, we are assessing the efficacy of a complex, preventive intervention in reducing the incidence of, and costs associated with, the development of medically serious pressure ulcers in people with spinal cord injury.
METHODS: Individuals with spinal cord injury recruited from RLANRC were assigned to either a 12-month preventive intervention group or a standard care control group. The primary outcome is the incidence of serious pressure ulcers with secondary endpoints including ulcer-related surgeries, medical treatment costs, and quality of life. These outcomes are assessed at 12 and 24 months after randomization. Additionally, we are studying the mediating mechanisms that account for intervention outcomes.
RESULTS: PUPS has been successfully implemented, including recruitment of the target sample size of 170 participants, assurance of the integrity of intervention protocol delivery with an average 90% treatment adherence rate, and enactment of the assessment plan. However, implementation has been replete with challenges. To meet recruitment goals, we instituted a five-pronged approach customized for an underserved, ethnically diverse population. In intervention delivery, we increased staff time to overcome economic and cultural barriers to retention and adherence. To ensure treatment fidelity and replicability, we monitored intervention protocol delivery in accordance with a rigorous plan. Finally, we have overcome unanticipated assessment and design concerns related to (1) determining pressure ulcer incidence/severity, (2) randomization imbalance, and (3) inadvertent potential control group contamination.
LIMITATIONS: We have addressed the most daunting challenges encountered in the recruitment, assessment, and intervention phases of PUPS. Some challenges and solutions may not apply to trials conducted in other settings.
CONCLUSIONS: Overcoming challenges has required a multifaceted approach incorporating individualization, flexibility, and persistence, as well as the ability to implement needed mid-course corrections.
Pyatak, E. A., Blanche, E. J., Garber, S. L., Diaz, J., Blanchard, J., Florindez, L., & Clark, F. A. (2013). Conducting intervention research among underserved populations: Lessons learned and recommendations for researchers. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94, 1190-1198. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2012.12.009. Link to full text Abstract →
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the criterion standard in research design for establishing treatment efficacy. However, the rigorous and highly controlled conditions of RCTs can be difficult to attain when conducting research among individuals living with a confluence of disability, low socioeconomic status, and being a member of a racial/ethnic minority group, who may be more likely to have unstable life circumstances. Research on effective interventions for these groups is urgently needed, because evidence regarding approaches to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes is lacking. In this methodologic article, we discuss the challenges and lessons learned in implementing the Lifestyle Redesign for Pressure Ulcer Prevention in Spinal Cord Injury study among a highly disadvantaged population. These issues are discussed in terms of strategies to enhance recruitment, retention, and intervention relevance to the target population. Recommendations for researchers seeking to conduct RCTs among socioeconomically disadvantaged, ethnically diverse populations are provided.
Blanche, E. J., Fogelberg, D., Diaz, J., Carlson, M. E., & Clark, F. A. (2011). Manualization of occupational therapy interventions: Illustrations from the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Research Program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 711-719. doi:10.5014/ajot.2011.001172. Link to full text Abstract →
The manualization of a complex occupational therapy intervention is a crucial step in ensuring treatment fidelity for both clinical application and research purposes. Toward the latter end, intervention manuals are essential for ensuring trustworthiness and replicability of randomized controlled trials that aim to provide evidence of the effectiveness of occupational therapy. In this article, we review the literature on the process of intervention manualization. We then illustrate the prescribed steps through our experience in implementing the University of Southern California/Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center's collaborative Pressure Ulcer Prevention Project. In this research program, qualitative research provided the initial foundation for manualization of a multifaceted occupational therapy intervention designed to reduce the incidence of medically serious pressure ulcers in adults with spinal cord injury.