Beth Pyatak PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA(she/her)
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Dr. Beth Pyatak is an occupational scientist, occupational therapist, and certified diabetes educator. As a Chan faculty member since 2011, she directs the Lifestyle Redesign for Chronic Conditions (LRCC) research lab, focused on two broad and interrelated themes of inquiry: first, understanding the lived experiences of individuals with chronic conditions, and second, developing and evaluating innovative lifestyle interventions that enhance the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals with chronic conditions. She has research interests in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, supporting transition and chronic condition management for emerging adults, and addressing health inequities among socially disadvantaged and medically underserved populations.
Dr. Pyatak’s work focuses particularly on translational research in Lifestyle Redesign®, an occupational therapy intervention framework that promotes awareness of the relationship between daily activities and health, and guides individuals with chronic conditions in the process of orchestrating daily activities, habits and routines to support health and well-being. She developed Resilient, Empowered, Active Living (REAL) Diabetes, a Lifestyle Redesign intervention shown to improve blood glucose control, psychosocial well-being and overall health status in diverse populations with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Her current research interests are focused on three primary aims: evaluating innovative care delivery models for adolescents and young adults with chronic conditions; developing strategies to implement occupational therapy lifestyle interventions in primary and specialty care settings; and examining the lived experience of type 1 diabetes through innovative and emerging technologies.
Master of Science (MS)
in Clinical, Biomedical and Translational Investigations
2015 | University of Southern California
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
in Occupational Science
2010 | University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
2004 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
2002 | University of Southern California
Hernandez, R., Roll, S. C., Jin, H., Schneider, S., & Pyatak, E. A. (2021). Validation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) adapted for the whole day repeated measures context. Ergonomics. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2021.2006317 Show abstract
Our objective was to investigate the validity of four-item and six-item versions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX, or TLX for short) for measuring workload over a whole day in the repeated measures context. We analyzed data on 51 people with type 1 diabetes from whom we collected ecological momentary assessment and daily diary data over 14 days. The TLX was administered at the last survey of every day. Confirmatory factor analysis fit statistics indicated that neither the TLX-6 nor TLX-4 were a unidimensional representation of whole day workload. In exploratory analyses, another set of TLX items we refer to as TLX-4v2 was sufficiently unidimensional. Raw sum scores from the TLX-6 and TLX-4v2 had plausible relationships with other measures, as evidenced by intra-person correlations and mixed-effects models. TLX-6 appears to capture multiple factors contributing to workload, while TLX-4v2 assesses the single factor of “mental strain.”
Pyatak, E. A., Hernandez, R., Pham, L., Mehdiyeva, K., Schneider, S., Peters, A., Ruelas, V., Crandall, J., Lee, P.-J., Jin, H., Hoogendoorn, C. J., Crespo-Ramos, G., Mendez-Rodriguez, H., Harmel, M., Walker, M., Serafin-Dokhan, S., Gonzalez, J. S., & Spruijt-Metz, D. (2021). Function and emotion in everyday life with type 1 diabetes (FEEL-T1D): A fully remote intensive longitudinal study of blood glucose, function, and emotional well-being in adults with type 1 diabetes. JMIR Research Protocols, 10(10), e30901. https://doi.org/10.2196/30901 Show abstract
Background. While short-term blood glucose (BG) levels and variability are thought to underlie diminished function and emotional well-being in people with T1D, these relationships are poorly understood. The Function and Emotion in Everyday Life with T1D (FEEL-T1D) study focuses on investigating these short-term dynamic relationships among BG, function, and emotional well-being in adults with T1D.
Objective. To present the FEEL-T1D study design, methods, and study progress to date, including adaptations necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement the study fully remotely.
Methods. The FEEL-T1D study will recruit 200 adults 18-75 years old with T1D. Data collection includes a comprehensive survey battery, along with 14 days of intensive longitudinal data using blinded continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), ecological momentary assessments (EMA), ambulatory cognitive tasks, and accelerometers. All study procedures are conducted remotely, through mailing study equipment and using videoconferencing for study visits.
Results. To date, after 12 months of recruitment, 124 participants have enrolled in the FEEL-T1D study. Over 80% have provided concurrent CGM, EMA, and accelerometer data for at least 10 of the 14 days of data collection, and nearly 90% of EMA surveys have been completed, with minimal missing data.
Conclusions. Thus far, our reconfiguration of the FEEL-T1D protocol to be implemented remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a success. The FEEL-T1D study will elucidate the dynamic relationships between blood glucose, emotional well-being, cognitive function and participation in daily activities. In doing so, it will pave the way for innovative just-in-time interventions and produce actionable insights to facilitate tailoring of diabetes treatment to optimize function and well-being among individuals with T1D.
Hernandez, R., Pyatak, E. A., Vigen, C. L., Jin, H., Schneider, S., Spruijt-Metz, D., & Roll, S. C. (2021). Understanding worker well-being relative to high-workload and recovery activities across a whole day: Pilot testing an ecological momentary assessment technique. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(19), 10354. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910354 Show abstract
Occupational health and safety is experiencing a paradigm shift from focusing only on health at the workplace toward a holistic approach and worker well-being framework that considers both work and non-work factors. Aligned with this shift, the purpose of this pilot study was to examine how, within a person, frequencies of high-workload and recovery activities from both work and non-work periods were associated with same day well-being measures. We analyzed data on 45 workers with type 1 diabetes from whom we collected activity data 5–6 times daily over 14 days. More frequent engagement in high-workload activities was associated with lower well-being on multiple measures including higher stress. Conversely, greater recovery activity frequency was mostly associated with higher well-being indicated by lower stress and higher positive affect. Overall, our results provide preliminary validity evidence for measures of high-workload and recovery activity exposure covering both work and non-work periods that can inform and support evaluations of worker well-being.
Keywords. workload; recovery; ecological momentary assessment; type 1 diabetes; workweek; healthy work design and well-being; future of work
Hernandez, R., Gonzalez, J. S., & Pyatak, E. A. (2021, September). Investigating daily rest and leisure frequency as potential moderators of the relationship between strenuous (high demand) activity frequency and perceived whole day workload. Poster presented virtually at the Work, Stress, and Health Conference.
Pham, L., Hernandez, R., Mehdiyeva, K., & Pyatak, E. (2021, May). Function and emotion in everyday life with Type 1 diabetes. Poster presented at the School of Dentistry Research Day, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
Hernandez, R., Vidmar, A., & Pyatak, E. A. (2020). Lifestyle balance, restful and strenuous occupations, and physiological activation. Journal of Occupational Science, 27(4), 547-562. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1732229 Show abstract
A balance between stressful and restful occupations is an important component of lifestyle balance (LB). We argue that excessive physiological activation from the stress of everyday engagement in occupation, and/or inadequate engagement in restful occupations, can lead to negative health outcomes through accumulation of allostatic load (AL), or physiological wear and tear on the body. This physiological activation manifests as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in elevations in serum levels of hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines. “Stress,” as the term is used colloquially, is just one possible source of physiological activation. Other possible sources include cognitive challenges and high motivation tasks. The purpose of this paper is twofold: 1) to present an explanatory model for how the LB component of a “pattern of occupations with a balance between stressful and restful engagements” can affect health and 2) to discuss metrics to measure physiological activation from stress/rest and explore how these metrics relate to existing measures of lifestyle and occupational balance. We speculate that these metrics may relate to existing measures of lifestyle and occupational balance in ways that help explain the mechanisms underlying them, with the amount of physiological activation that individuals experience on a daily basis determining their long-term health outcomes. There remains a need to develop innovative lifestyle interventions that support management of stress related physiological activation to promote health and well-being.
Keywords. Occupational science; Life balance; Occupational balance; Restful occupations; Strenuous occupations; Physiological stress; Explanatory mechanisms; Allostatic load
Carandang, K., Vigen, C. L., Ortiz, E., & Pyatak, E. A. (2020). Re-conceptualizing functional status through experiences of young adults with inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatology International, 40(2), 273-282. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-019-04368-8 Show abstract
The objective of this study is to assess the impact of inflammatory arthritis on young adults’ activity participation using quantitative and qualitative methods to advance the field’s conceptualization of functional status. Young adults diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis completed (1) the Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index to determine functional status and (2) the day reconstruction method to explore experiential dimensions of function, including functional performance, functional satisfaction, and severity of arthritis symptoms during activities on the previous day. Bivariate analyses were conducted to examine relationships between functional status, experiential variables, and demographic variables. Open-ended questions were provided for participants to report ways that arthritis affected their participation that were not otherwise reflected within survey questions; responses were numerically coded using summative content analysis. Among 37 participants (24.8 ± 3.3 years old), 70% reported moderate-to-severe disability. On average, participants experienced pain, stiffness, or fatigue for more than 50% of their waking hours. Functional status significantly correlated with functional performance (r = − 0.39, p = 0.02) and satisfaction (r = − 0.39, p = 0.02), yet did not correlate with stiffness or fatigue severity or duration of symptoms throughout the day. Participants described strategies that improved their ability to participate in certain activities but reduced their overall quality of activity engagement and caused emotional distress. Young adults with arthritis may experience more significant functional limitations than previously reported. Traditional measures of functional assessment may not capture experiential components of activity that affect participation, such as severity of stiffness or fatigue or the duration of symptoms throughout the day.
Keywords. Health status, Quality of life, Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Young adult, Patient reported outcome
Raymond, J. K., Reid, M. W., Fox, S., Garcia, J. F., Miller, D., Bisno, D., Fogel, J. L., Krishnan, S., & Pyatak, E. A. (2020). Adapting home telehealth group appointment model (CoYoT1 clinic) for a low SES, publicly insured, minority young adult population with type 1 diabetes. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 88, 105896. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2019.105896 Show abstract
As more individuals from diverse backgrounds are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), the need to address resulting disparities in diabetes outcomes among these populations also escalates. Although young adulthood proves challenging for all patients with diabetes, young adults (YA) from racial/ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic backgrounds face even greater T1D management obstacles. The poorer outcomes in these populations drive an urgent need for alternative care models to improve YA's engagement in their T1D clinical care and address barriers to improved health outcomes. Previous telemedicine initiatives for T1D have yielded positive diabetes care results, especially in YA, offering one promising way to reach this high-risk population. To serve these patients better, an established and successful home telehealth group appointment model, “CoYoT1 Clinic” (Colorado Young Adults with T1D), was adapted to provide care to YA with T1D at a large urban children's hospital in Southern California. At this location, ~70% of patients have public/no insurance, and 85% are racial/ethnic minorities. In this paper, we report the process of adapting the CoYoT1 Clinic model and designing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate its efficacy. The adapted model uses meticulous study-design methods that incorporate patient advisors, quantitative and qualitative data collection, collaboration with local stakeholders, intervention development, and patient randomization into a factorial design analyzing telemedicine versus in-person and patient-centered versus standard care. The new model addresses the needs of high-risk YA in Southern California, with the goal of increasing access to care, improving follow-up frequency, and strengthening patient and provider satisfaction.
Keywords. Young adults; Telehealth; Group appointments; Type 1 diabetes; Shared medical appointments; Telemedicine
Floríndez, L. I., Carlson, M. E., Pyatak, E., Blanchard, J., Cogan, A. M., Sleight, A. G., Hill, V., Díaz, J., Blanche, E., Garber, S. L., & Clark, F. A. (2020). A qualitative analysis of pressure injury development among medically underserved adults with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 42(15), 2093-2099. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2018.1552328 Show abstract
Purpose. Medically underserved adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) remain at high risk of incurring medically serious pressure injuries even after receiving education in prevention techniques. The purpose of this research is to identify circumstances leading to medically serious pressure injury development in medically underserved adults with SCI during a lifestyle-based pressure injury prevention program, and provide recommendations for future rehabilitation approaches and intervention design.
Methods. This study entailed a qualitative secondary case analysis of treatment notes from a randomized controlled trial. Participants were 25 community-dwelling, medically underserved adults with SCI who developed medically serious pressure injuries during the course of the intervention of the RCT.
Results and conclusions. Among the 25 participants, 40 unique medically serious pressure injuries were detected. The six themes related to medically serious pressure injury development were: (1) lack of rudimentary knowledge pertaining to wound care; (2) equipment and supply issues; (3) comorbidities; (4) non-adherence to prescribed bed rest; (5) inactivity; and (6) circumstances beyond the intervention’s reach. Together, these factors may have undermined the effectiveness of the intervention program. Modifications, such as assessing health literacy levels of patients prior to providing care, providing tailored wound care education, and focusing on equipment needs, have potential for altering future rehabilitation programs and improving health outcomes.
Keywords. Spinal cord injuries, pressure injury, lifestyle, intervention, cultural diversity
Haywood, C., Pyatak, E., Leland, N., Henwood, B., & Lawlor, M. C. (2019). A qualitative study of caregiving for adolescents and young adults with spinal cord injuries: Lessons from lived experiences. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 25(4), 281-289. https://doi.org/10.1310/sci2504-281 Show abstract
Objective. To examine characteristics of caregiving from the perspectives of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and their informal caregivers to address outstanding gaps in knowledge relating to definitions of caregiving and its associated practices for this population.
Methods. A multiphase qualitative design was applied, using phenomenological and narrative methods to capture data in participants' homes and communities. Participants were recruited from rehabilitation hospitals and community organizations throughout Los Angeles County, California. Inclusion criteria for AYAs included being 15–22 years old, having acquired an SCI within the previous 5 years, and using a wheelchair for mobility. The AYAs nominated persons they identified as primary caregivers to also participate. Data were collected through individual and group interviews as well as activity observations.
Results. Data from the 17 participants (9 AYAs and 8 informal, primary caregivers) revealed ways in which the meaning of caregiving varied among dyads. Caregiving practices extended beyond physical assistance to include support for a range of day-to-day activities spanning from practical needs to facilitating developmental trajectories. Although AYAs expressed ideas about preferred caregiver characteristics, care partnerships appeared to be guided more by availability than preference.
Conclusion. Phenomenological analysis revealed that the meaning of “caregiving” and its associated practices are highly individualized for AYAs with SCIs. Caregiving is rooted in personal needs related to effects of SCI and developmental goals. Everyday practices are shaped by individual relationships and the beliefs of AYAs and their caregivers. Addressing influences of caregiving on long-term health and function may require attention to developmental processes, caregiver “fit,” and ways care is, or can be, distributed throughout broader networks according to personal needs and preferences.
Pyatak, E., King, M., Vigen, C. L., Salazar, E., Díaz, J., Schepens Niemiec, S. L., Blanchard, J., Jordan, K., Banerjee, J., & Shukla, J. (2019). Addressing diabetes in primary care: Hybrid effectiveness–implementation study of Lifestyle Redesign® occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(5), 7305185020p1-7305185020p12. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.037317 Show abstract
Importance. Primary health care is rapidly developing as an occupational therapy practice area. Yet, to date, little evidence supports occupational therapy’s feasibility and efficacy in primary care settings.
Objective. To report on the implementation and preliminary clinical outcomes of a Lifestyle Redesign® (LR)–occupational therapy (LR–OT) diabetes management intervention in a primary care clinic.
Design. Patients were randomized to be offered LR–OT or to a no-contact comparison group (data not reported). We assessed implementation outcomes using mixed methods.
Setting. Safety-net primary care clinic.
Participants. Clinic providers and staff; English- or Spanish-speaking clinic patients ages 18–75 yr with diabetes and a current hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) ≥ 9.0%.
Intervention. Eight 1-hr individual sessions of LR–OT focused on diabetes management.
Outcomes and Measures. Clinical and health behavior outcomes were assessed via electronic medical record (EMR) review and self-report surveys of patients receiving LR–OT at initial evaluation and discharge. We assessed implementation outcomes (acceptability, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, efficiency, and timeliness) using patient and staff surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observations.
Results. Seventy-three patients were offered LR–OT: 51 completed one or more sessions, and 38 completed the program. Clinical outcomes among program completers indicate beneficial changes in HbA1c, diabetes self-care, and health status. Implementation challenges included a need for patient and staff education, securing adequate workspace, and establishing a referral process. Factors contributing to implementation success included strong buy-in from clinic leadership, colocation, and shared EMR documentation.
Conclusions and Relevance. LR–OT is a feasible approach to enhancing service delivery and clinical outcomes in primary care.
What This Article Adds. This study provides insight into factors that may create challenges or contribute to the success of implementing occupational therapy services within primary health care settings. In addition, this study provides preliminary evidence of occupational therapy’s effectiveness in improving clinical outcomes among ethnically diverse, low-income patients with diabetes in a safety-net primary care setting.
Floríndez, L. I., Floríndez, D. C., Floríndez, F. M., Como, D. H., Pyatak, E., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Polido, J. C., & Cermak, S. A. (2019). Oral care experiences of Latino parents/caregivers with children with autism and with typically developing children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(16), 2905. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162905 Show abstract
As a result of various barriers, several pediatric populations are at risk for poor oral health, including children with disabilities and children from under-represented populations, such as Latinos. To this end, this study aimed to better understand the factors that affect the oral health experiences of 32 Latino parents/caregivers from 18 families (n = 8 with a typically developing child and n = 10 with a child with Autism). Using a qualitative descriptive methodology, each family was interviewed twice. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded thematically to identify the individual, social, systemic, and culturally rooted factors contributing to oral health disparities in the families. The three themes that arose were “Why would I want to start trouble?”: Latino parents’ dissatisfaction with dental treatments, costs, and fear of the dentist and health care providers because of their ethnic minority status as key factors inhibiting receipt of dental care; “We have to put our children first”: prioritizing the oral care activities of their children over their own individual oral care needs; and “We always keep baking soda around”: familial and cultural influences on oral care habits. Understanding the oral health beliefs and experiences of Latino parents and caregivers of children with and without autism is critical for developing targeted prevention and intervention programs and reducing oral health disparities.
Keywords: Latinos; oral care; health disparities; children; culture; autism spectrum disorder
Bakhach, M., Reid, M. W., Pyatak, E. A., Berget, C., Cain, C., Thomas, J., Klingensmith, G. J., & Raymond, J. K. (2019). Home telemedicine (CoYoT1 clinic): A novel approach to improve psychosocial outcomes in young adults with diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 45(4), 420-430. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721719858080 Show abstract
Purpose. To assess the impact of a home telemedicine clinic model (CoYoT1 Clinic) on psychosocial and behavioral outcomes designed for young adults (YAs) with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Methods. YAs self-selected to participate in the CoYoT1 Clinic or serve as a usual care control. CoYoT1 Clinic visits consisted of an individual appointment with a provider and a group appointment with other YAs with T1D using home telemedicine. Psychosocial and behavioral functioning was assessed by 4 measures: Diabetes Distress Scale, Self-Efficacy for Diabetes Scale, Self-Management of Type 1 Diabetes in Adolescence Scale, and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
Results. Forty-two patients participated in the CoYoT1 Clinic and 39 patients served as controls. CoYoT1 participants reported lower levels of distress (P = .03), increased diabetes self-efficacy (P = .01), and improved ability to communicate with others about diabetes (P = .04) over the study period compared to controls. YA males in the control group reported increases in depressive symptoms (P = .03) during the study period, but CoYoT1 participants showed no changes.
Conclusion. Group home telemedicine for YAs with T1D positively affects diabetes distress, self-efficacy, and diabetes-specific communication. These positive findings have the potential to also affect the YAs’ long-term diabetes outcomes. Further investigation of the model is needed.
Monaghan, M., Pyatak, E. A., & Raymond, J. (2019). Transition considerations for youth-onset diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2). In S. Lyons & M. Hilliard (Eds.), Transitioning from pediatric to adult care in endocrinology (pp. 117-137). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05045-0_6 Show abstract
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are prevalent endocrine conditions, with over 25,000 youth newly diagnosed with diabetes each year. Late adolescence and young adulthood is a particularly risky time for youth with diabetes. In addition to the normative challenges experienced during this developmental period, most youth with diabetes also must transfer from pediatric to adult health care. This chapter reviews key developmental and psychosocial considerations that may influence diabetes management and evidence-based guidelines informing the treatment of transition-aged youth with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Specific recommendations to support transition efforts at the patient, provider, and health-care system levels are presented, and key resources to facilitate developmentally tailored, continuous care for youth with diabetes are highlighted.
Keywords. Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, Transition to adult care, Health-care delivery, Adolescents, Young adults, Psychosocial screening, Adolescent development
Haywood, C., Martinez, G., Pyatak, E. A., & Carandang, K. (2019). Engaging patient stakeholders in planning, implementing, and disseminating occupational therapy research. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(1), 7301090010p1-7301090010p9. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.731001 Show abstract
Patients are experts on their own lives and the ways in which an illness, injury, or disability affects their health, activity, and quality of life. With its longstanding foundations in participatory action research, patient engagement has been gaining momentum across health care and related research. This momentum is supported by investments from several key research and federal policy–related organizations, including the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Occupational therapy practitioners are uniquely positioned to champion patient collaborations. In this article, we discuss ways in which patient perspectives can be embraced in occupational therapy research, and we share insights from a research planning collaborative with adolescents and young adults that was led by occupational therapy researchers.
Sleight, A. G., Cogan, A. M., Hill, V. A., Pyatak, E. A., Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Blanchard, J., Vigen, C., Garber, S. L., & Clark, F. A. (2019). Factors protecting against pressure injuries in medically underserved adults with spinal cord injury: A qualitative study. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 25(1), 31-40. https://doi.org/10.1310/sci2501-31 Show abstract
Background. Pressure injuries negatively impact quality of life and participation for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Objective. To examine the factors that may protect against the development of medically serious pressure injuries in adults with SCI.
Methods. A qualitative analysis was conducted using treatment notes regarding 50 socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals who did not develop medically serious pressure injuries during a 12-month pressure injury prevention intervention program.
Results. Eight types of potentially protective factors were identified: meaningful activity, motivation to prevent negative health outcomes, stability/resources, equipment, communication and self-advocacy skills, personal traits, physical factors, and behaviors/activities.
Conclusions. Some protective factors (e.g., personal traits) may be inherent to certain individuals and nonmodifiable. However, future interventions for this population may benefit from a focus on acquisition of medical equipment and facilitation of sustainable, health-promoting habits and routines. Substantive policy changes may be necessary to facilitate access to adequate resources, particularly housing and equipment, for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals with SCI. Further research is needed to understand the complex interplay of risk and protective factors for pressure injuries in adults with SCI, particularly in underserved groups.
Carlson, M., Vigen, C. L., Rubayi, S., Blanche, E. I., Blanchard, J., Atkins, M., Bates-Jensen, B., Garber, S. L., Pyatak, E. A., Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Hay, J. W., Mallinson, T., Unger, J. B., Azen, S. P., Scott, M., Cogan, A., & Clark, F. (2019). Lifestyle intervention for adults with spinal cord injury: Results of the USC-RLANRC Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 42(1), 2–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/10790268.2017.1313931 Show abstract
Context/Objective. Medically serious pressure injuries (MSPrIs), a common complication of spinal cord injury (SCI), have devastating consequences on health and well-being and are extremely expensive to treat. We aimed to test the efficacy of a lifestyle-based intervention designed to reduce incidence of MSPrIs in adults with SCI.
Design. A randomized controlled trial (RCT), and a separate study wing involving a nonrandomized standard care control group.
Setting. Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a large facility serving ethnically diverse, low income residents of Los Angeles County.
Participants. Adults with SCI, with history of one or more MSPrIs over the past 5 years: N=166 for RCT component, N=66 in nonrandomized control group.
Interventions. The Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program, a 12-month lifestyle-based treatment administered by healthcare professionals, largely via in-home visits and phone contacts.
Outcome Measures. Blinded assessments of annualized MSPrI incidence rates at 12 and 24 months, based on: skin checks, quarterly phone interviews with participants, and review of medical charts and billing records. Secondary outcomes included number of surgeries and various quality-of-life measures.
Results. Annualized MSPrI rates did not differ significantly between study groups. At 12 months, rates were .56 for intervention recipients, .48 for randomized controls, and .65 for nonrandomized controls. At follow-up, rates were .44 and .39 respectively for randomized intervention and control participants.
Conclusions. Evidence for intervention efficacy was inconclusive. The intractable nature of MSPrI threat in high-risk SCI populations, and lack of statistical power, may have contributed to this inability to detect an effect.
Trial Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01999816.
Pyatak, E. A., Carlson, M., Vigen, C. L., Blanchard, J., Schepens Niemiec, S., Sideris, J., & Baranek, G. T. (2019). Contextualizing the positive effects of the Well Elderly 2 trial: A response to Schelly and Ohl (2019). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73, 7306205100. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.038752 Show abstract
IMPORTANCE: A recent reanalysis of data from the Well Elderly (WE) 2 study purportedly indicated that the intervention did not achieve clinically meaningful or statistically significant effects; this article addresses these criticisms.
OBJECTIVE: To contextualize the WE 2 study as targeting a nonclinical population and demonstrate that the intervention produced substantively important, statistically significant effects.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of WE 2 intervention-based pre–post change scores.
SETTING: The original trial occurred primarily in senior centers and senior housing facilities in greater Los Angeles.
PARTICIPANTS: Independent-living older adults (N = 324) who were assessed before and after intervention.
INTERVENTION: The WE intervention, a version of the Lifestyle Redesign® (LR) approach, was administered by occupational therapists over 6 mo by means of group and individual sessions.
OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The 36-item Short Form Health Survey, the Life Satisfaction Index–Z, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
RESULTS: The WE intervention was associated with statistically significant improvement on 10 of 12 outcome variables that were examined.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Because the WE intervention was hypothesized to reduce age-related decline and followed a population-oriented approach, the expectation that average results would be clinically meaningful was inappropriate. The intervention produced positive effects across a wide array of outcome domains. In settings in which clinical meaningfulness is an appropriate index of intervention outcomes, evidence suggests that LR produces effects that are clinically meaningful. As an evidence-based intervention, LR should be considered useful both in population-oriented contexts and in addressing discrete health conditions.
WHAT THIS ARTICLE ADDS: Valid analyses demonstrate that the positive experimental effects of the WE 2 study are, in fact, genuine and cost-effective, and LR in clinically oriented contexts has produced statistically significant, clinically meaningful results. Clearly and accurately representing the evidence base of occupational therapy in prevention and chronic care is of critical importance to advance the field as a whole.
Gupta, O. T., Wiebe, D. J., Pyatak, E. A., & Beck, A. M. (2018). Improving medication adherence in the pediatric population using integrated care of companion animals. Patient Education and Counseling, 101(10), 1876–1878. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2018.05.015 Show abstract
Medication non-adherence occurs in more than half of children with chronic conditions. Unfortunately, most strategies for improving adherence have had limited success in the pediatric population highlighting the need for novel interventions that establish healthy self-management habits for children and adolescents. In this paper we discuss innovative strategies to improve adherence by embedding a medical regimen within a pet care routine, thereby capitalizing on the benefits of a structured habit while providing opportunities for development of autonomy in children and fostering collaborative parent interactions.
Pyatak, E., Hernandez, R., Díaz, J., Carandang, K., Blanchard, J., & Vigen, C. (2018, April). Habit formation in an occupational therapy self-management intervention: The Resilient, Empowered, Active Living (REAL Diabetes) study. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, New Orleans, LA.
Hernandez, R., Carandang, K., Concha-Chavez, A., Díaz, J., Blanchard, J., & Pyatak, E. (2018, April). The REAL Diabetes Study: Evidence-based OT intervention strategies to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for clients with diabetes. Poster presented at the School of Dentistry Research Day, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
Pyatak, E. A., Carandang, K., Vigen, C. L., Blanchard, J., Díaz, J., Concha-Chavez, A., Sequeira, P. A., Wood, J. R., Whittemore, R., Spruijt-Metz, D., & Peters, A. L. (2018). Occupational therapy intervention improves glycemic control and quality of life among young adults with diabetes: The Resilient, Empowered, Active Living With Diabetes (REAL Diabetes) randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, 41(4), 696-704. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc17-1634 Show abstract
Objective. To assess the efficacy of a manualized occupational therapy (OT) intervention (Resilient, Empowered, Active Living with Diabetes [REAL Diabetes]) to improve glycemic control and psychosocial well-being among ethnically diverse young adults with low socioeconomic status (SES) who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Research Design and Methods. Eighty-one young adults (age 22.6 ± 3.5 years; hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] = 10.8%/95 mmol/mol ± 1.9%/20.8 mmol/mol) were randomly assigned to the REAL Diabetes intervention group (IG) or an attention control group (CG) over 6 months. IG participants received biweekly sessions guided by a manual composed of seven content modules; CG participants received standardized educational materials and biweekly phone calls. Blinded assessors collected data at baseline and 6 months. The primary outcome was HbA1c; secondary outcomes included diabetes self-care, diabetes-related quality of life (QOL), diabetes distress, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction. Change scores were analyzed using Wilcoxon rank sum tests.
Results. Intent-to-treat analyses showed that IG participants showed significant improvement in HbA1c (-0.57%/6.2 mmol/mol vs. +0.36%/3.9 mmol/mol, P = 0.01), diabetes-related QOL (+0.7 vs. +0.15, P = 0.04), and habit strength for checking blood glucose (+3.9 vs. +1.7, P = 0.05) as compared with CG participants. There was no statistically significant effect modification by sex, ethnicity, diabetes type, recruitment site, or SES. No study-related serious adverse events were reported.
Conclusions. The REAL Diabetes intervention improved blood glucose control and diabetes-related QOL among a typically hard-to-reach population, thus providing evidence that a structured OT intervention may be beneficial in improving both clinical and psychosocial outcomes among individuals with diabetes.
Weigensberg, M. J., Vigen, C., Sequeira, P., Spruijt-Metz, D., Juarez, M., Florindez, D., Provisor, J., Peters, A., & Pyatak, E. A. (2018). Diabetes Empowerment Council: Integrative Pilot Intervention for Transitioning Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 7, 2164956118761808. https://doi.org/10.1177/2164956118761808 Show abstract
Background. The transition of young adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) from pediatric to adult care is challenging and frequently accompanied by worsening of diabetes-related health. To date, there are no reports which prospectively assess the effects of theory-based psycho-behavioral interventions during the transition period neither on glycemic control nor on psychosocial factors that contribute to poor glycemic control. Therefore, the overall aim of this study was to develop and pilot test an integrative group intervention based on the underlying principles of self-determination theory (SDT), in young adults with T1D.
Methods. Fifty-one young adults with T1D participated in an education and case management-based transition program, of which 9 took part in the Diabetes Empowerment Council (DEC), a 12-week holistic, multimodality facilitated group intervention consisting of “council” process based on indigenous community practices, stress-reduction guided imagery, narrative medicine modalities, simple ritual, and other integrative modalities. Feasibility, acceptability, potential mechanism of effects, and bio-behavioral outcomes were determined using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods.
Results. The intervention was highly acceptable to participants, though presented significant feasibility challenges. Participants in DEC showed significant reductions in perceived stress and depression, and increases in general well-being relative to other control participants. Reduction in perceived stress, independent of intervention group, was associated with reductions in hemoglobin A1C. A theoretical model explaining the effects of the intervention included the promotion of relatedness and autonomy support, 2 important aspects of SDT.
Conclusions. The DEC is a promising group intervention for young adults with T1D going through transition to adult care. Future investigations will be necessary to resolve feasibility issues, optimize the multimodality intervention, determine full intervention effects, and fully test the role of the underlying theoretical model of action.
Carandang, K. M., & Pyatak, E. A. (2018). Feasibility of a manualized occupation-based diabetes management intervention. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(2), 7202345040p1–7202345040p6. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.021790 Show abstract
Objective. We investigated the feasibility and acceptability of an occupational therapy intervention targeting diabetes management for underserved young adults.
Method. Eight participants completed the intervention and a battery of assessments at baseline and after the intervention. At completion, the participants and occupational therapist were interviewed about their experiences with the study. Four categories of assessment questions were used to guide the study: process, resource, management, and scientific.
Results. Successes included recruitment; fulfillment of tasks by staff and partnering clinics; adequate space, financial support, and equipment; and meaningfulness of the intervention for participants. Challenges included scheduling participants for the intervention and follow-up focus groups and providing client centeredness and flexibility while reducing burden on the intervener.
Conclusion. This feasibility study allowed us to make necessary revisions to our study protocol before implementing a larger pilot study.
Carandang, K., & Pyatak, E. A. (2018). Analyzing occupational challenges through the lens of body and biography. Journal of Occupational Science, 25(2), 161-173. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2018.1446353 Show abstract
Introduction. Occupational scientists are tasked with the responsibility of examining the relationship between occupational engagement and health, yet as occupations are explored in situ, these concepts only become more complex. For example, lifestyle trade-offs occur when individuals make conscious decisions between two competing sets of actions: actions taken in promotion of physical health versus actions in agreement with an identity-driven biography. In this study, these dilemmas are viewed as parts of an ongoing occupational challenge to balance physical health with subjective well-being in everyday life.
Methods. Anselm Strauss’s concepts of body state and biographical moment are conceptualized as analytic tools to study dimensions within which occupation is performed. A descriptive, single-case analysis of a young adult diagnosed with diabetes is presented as an exemplar of how Strauss’s tools may be utilized.
Results. Four themes emerged within the presented narrative: (1) by the book versus reality, (2) testing the boundaries of diabetes, (3) diabetes burnout and the struggle for perfection, and (4) the inevitable merge between body and biography.
Conclusion. Sadie’s narrative exemplifies the multiple contexts in which agentic decisions to engage in specific occupations are made. Sadie’s experiences of diabetes burnout and actions taken while “on vacation” are not uncommon within chronic illness literature and warrant further analyses that consider physical and psychological domains of health. By dismantling situational factors using analytic tools, such as Strauss’s body state and biographical moment, occupational scientists may further understand lived experiences and clarify the link between occupation and health.
Vigen, C. L., Carandang, K., Blanchard, J., Sequeira, P. A., Wood, J. R., Spruijt-Metz, D., Whittemore, R., Peters, A. L., & Pyatak, E. A. (2018). Psychosocial and behavioral correlates of A1C and quality of life among young adults with diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 44(6), 489–500. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721718804170 Show abstract
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to evaluate relationships between behavioral and psychosocial constructs, A1C, and diabetes-dependent quality of life (DQoL) among low-socioeconomic status, ethnically diverse young adults with diabetes.
Methods. Using baseline data of 81 participants in the Resilient, Empowered, Active Living (REAL) randomized controlled trial, behavioral, cognitive, affective, and experiential variables were correlated with A1C and DQoL while adjusting for demographic characteristics, and these relationships were examined for potential effect modification.
Results. The data indicate that depressive symptoms and satisfaction with daily activities are associated with both A1C and DQoL, while diabetes knowledge and participation in daily activities are associated with neither A1C nor DQoL. Two constructs, diabetes distress and life satisfaction, were associated with DQoL and were unrelated to A1C, while 2 constructs, self-monitoring of blood glucose and medication adherence, were associated with A1C but unrelated to DQoL. These relationships were largely unchanged by adjusting for demographic characteristics, while numerous effect modifications were found.
Conclusion. The data suggest that when tailoring interventions, depressive symptoms and satisfaction with daily activities may be particularly fruitful intervention targets, as they represent modifiable risk factors that are associated with both A1C and DQoL.
Pyatak, E. A., Sequeira, P. A., Vigen, C. L., Weigensberg, M. J., Wood, J. R., Montoya, L., Ruelas, V., & Peters, A. L. (2017). Clinical and psychosocial outcomes of a structured transition program among young adults with type 1 diabetes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60(2), 212-218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.09.004 Show abstract
Purpose. We identified and treated young adults with type 1 diabetes who had been lost to follow-up during their transfer from pediatric to adult care, comparing their clinical, psychosocial, and health care utilization outcomes to participants receiving continuous care (CC) throughout the transition to adult care.
Methods. Individuals in their last year of pediatric care (CC group, n = 51) and individuals lost to follow-up in the transfer to adult care ("lapsed care" [LC] group, n = 24) were followed prospectively for 12 months. All participants were provided developmentally tailored diabetes education, case management, and clinical care through a structured transition program.
Results. At baseline, LC participants reported lapses in care of 11.6 months. Compared with CC participants, they had higher hemoglobin A1C (A1C; p = .005), depressive symptoms (p = .05), incidence of severe hypoglycemia (p = .005), and emergency department visits (p = .004). At 12-month follow-up, CC and LC participants did not differ on the number of diabetes care visits (p = .23), severe hypoglycemia (no events), or emergency department visits (p = .22). Both groups' A1C improved during the study period (CC: p = .03; LC: p = .02). LC participants' depressive symptoms remained elevated (p = .10), and they reported a decline in life satisfaction (p = .007). There was greater loss to follow-up in the LC group (p = .04).
Conclusions. Our study suggests that, for young adults with a history of lapses in care, a structured transition program is effective in lowering A1C, reducing severe hypoglycemia and emergency department utilization, and improving uptake of routine diabetes care. Loss to follow-up and psychosocial concerns remain significant challenges in this population.
Pyatak, E. A., Carandang, K., Vigen, C., Blanchard, J., Sequeira, P. A., Wood, J. R., Spruijt-Metz, D., Whittemore, R., & Peters, A. L. (2017). Resilient, Empowered, Active Living with Diabetes (REAL Diabetes) study: Methodology and baseline characteristics of a randomized controlled trial evaluating an occupation-based diabetes management intervention for young adults. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 54, 8-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2016.12.025 Show abstract
Overview. This paper describes the study protocol used to evaluate the Resilient, Empowered, Active Living with Diabetes (REAL Diabetes) intervention and reports on baseline characteristics of recruited participants. REAL Diabetes is an activity-based intervention designed to address the needs of young adults diagnosed with type 1 (T1D) or type 2 diabetes (T2D) from low socioeconomic status or racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. The REAL intervention incorporates tailored delivery of seven content modules addressing various dimensions of health and well-being as they relate to diabetes, delivered by a licensed occupational therapist.
Methods. In this pilot randomized controlled trial, participants are assigned to the REAL Diabetes intervention or an attention control condition. The study's primary recruitment strategies included in-person recruitment at diabetes clinics, mass mailings to clinic patients, and social media advertising. Data collection includes baseline and 6-month assessments of primary outcomes, secondary outcomes, and hypothesized mediators of intervention effects, as well as ongoing process evaluation assessment to ensure study protocol adherence and intervention fidelity.
Results. At baseline, participants (n=81) were 51% female, 78% Latino, and on average 22.6years old with an average HbA1c of 10.8%. A majority of participants (61.7%) demonstrated clinically significant diabetes distress and 27.2% reported symptoms consistent with major depressive disorder. Compared to participants with T1D, participants with T2D had lower diabetes-related self-efficacy and problem-solving skills. Compared to participants recruited at clinics, participants recruited through other strategies had greater diabetes knowledge but weaker medication adherence.
Discussion. Participants in the REAL study demonstrate clinically significant medical and psychosocial needs.
Carandang, K., Pyatak, E. A., & Vigen, C. P. (2016). Systematic review of educational interventions for rheumatoid arthritis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(6), 7006290020p1-7006290020p12. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.021386 Show abstract
Objective. In this study, we systematically reviewed the effectiveness of educational interventions falling within the scope of occupational therapy practice for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These interventions included disease education, joint protection and energy conservation, psychosocial techniques, pain management, and a combination category.
Method. Two databases, MEDLINE and CINAHL, and select journals were searched for randomized controlled trials published between January 2002 and June 2015. Qualitative synthesis was used for between-study comparisons.
Results. Twenty-two studies, with approximately 2,600 participants, were included. The interventions were found to have strong evidence for constructs that dealt with increasing coping with pain and fatigue as well as maintaining positive affect. There was limited or no evidence supporting the effectiveness of these interventions on most other measured constructs.
Conclusion. Interventions in which a combination of educational techniques is used may complement pharmacological therapies in the care of people with RA. Future research is needed to identify specific mechanisms of change.
Pyatak, E. A., Díaz, J., & Delgado, C. (2015). Engage/Trojan Neighbors: A community service partnership between an academic division and residential community. Work, 52(3), 503-508. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-152193 Show abstract
This paper describes the case of an after-school program, focused on providing enrichment opportunities for neighborhood youth, jointly administered through an academic division and residential community within a large urban research university. The program, originally conceived as an activity-based after-school program for middle school youth, expanded in scope in response to both community and student needs. The resident faculty fellow in this community served as a liaison between the academic division and office of residential education, helping maintain continuity and facilitating effective student leadership of the program. In this case, we detail the origins and evolution of the program, including strategies used to resolve challenges that arose over several years of program implementation.
Sequeira, P. A., Pyatak, E. A., Weigensberg, M. J., Vigen, C. P., Wood, J. R., Ruelas, V., Montoya, L., Cohen, M., Speer, H., Clark, S., & Peters, A. L. (2015). Let's Empower and Prepare (LEAP): Evaluation of a structured transition program for young adults with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 38(8), 1412-1419. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-2577 Show abstract
Objective. To evaluate the efficacy of a structured transition program compared with usual care in improving routine follow-up, clinical, and psychosocial outcomes among young adults with type 1 diabetes.
Research Design and Methods. Eighty-one young adults in their last year of pediatric care were recruited from three clinics. Intervention group (IG) participants (n = 51) received a structured transition program incorporating tailored diabetes education, case management, group education classes, and access to a newly developed young adult diabetes clinic and transition website. Control group (CG) participants (n = 30) received usual care. The primary outcome was the number of routine clinic visits. Secondary outcomes included glycemic control, hypoglycemia, health-care use, and psychosocial well-being. Assessments were conducted at baseline, and 6 and 12 months.
Results. Limitations in CG follow-up prevented direct comparisons of adult care visits; however, at the 12-month follow-up among IG participants discharged from pediatric care (n = 32), 78% had one or more adult visits. Among IG participants, the total number of clinic visits did not differ between those who transitioned and those who remained in pediatric care (3.0 ± 1.24 vs. 3.11 ± 0.94, P = 0.74). IG compared with CG participants had improved glycemic control (-0.40 ± 1.16% vs. 0.42 ± 1.51% [4.4 ± 12.7 mmol/mol vs. 4.6 ± 16.5 mmol/mol], P = 0.01), incidence of severe hypoglycemia (0.0% vs. 16%, P = 0.02), and global well-being (P = 0.02) at 12 months.
Conclusions. A structured transition program was successful in facilitating transition to adult care without a decrease in clinical follow-up. Compared with usual care, the transition program facilitated improvements in glycemic control, hypoglycemia, and psychosocial well-being.
Pyatak, E. A., Carandang, K., & Davis, S. (2015). Developing a manualized occupational therapy diabetes management intervention: Resilient, Empowered, Active Living With Diabetes. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35(3), 187-194. https://doi.org/10.1177/1539449215584310 Show abstract
This article reports on the development of a manualized occupational therapy intervention for diabetes management. An initial theoretical framework and core content areas for a Stage 1 intervention manual were developed based on an in-depth needs assessment and review of existing literature. After evaluation by a panel of experts and completion of a feasibility study, the intervention was revised into a Stage 2 manual in preparation for a randomized study evaluating the intervention's efficacy. In developing the initial manual, we delineated core theoretical principles to allow for flexible application and tailoring of the intervention's content areas. Expert panel feedback and feasibility study results led to changes to the intervention structure and content as we developed the Stage 2 manual. Through describing this process, we illustrate the dynamic evolution of intervention manuals, which undergo revisions due to both theoretical and practical considerations at each stage of the research-to-clinical practice pipeline.
Lu, Y., Pyatak, E. A., Peters, A. L., Wood, J. R., Kipke, M., Cohen, M., & Sequeira, P. A. (2015). Patient perspectives on peer mentoring: Type 1 diabetes management in adolescents and young adults. The Diabetes Educator, 41(1), 59-68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721714559133 Show abstract
Purpose. The purpose of the study was to identify attitudes and topics relevant to peer mentoring as an adherence-promoting intervention for adolescents and young adults (YAs) with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Methods. Self-administered survey data were collected in 2 diabetes clinics from a convenience sample of adolescents as prospective mentees (ages 13-18) and YAs as prospective mentors (ages 19-25) with T1D. Survey topics included demographics, disease history, glycemic control, adherence, depression, barriers to disease management, social support, and interest in peer mentoring. Descriptive statistical analyses, thematic coding, and stepwise multivariate logistic regression were performed.
Results. A majority of the 54 adolescents and 46 YAs expressed interest in a peer mentoring program. Having supportive friends and living in a large household positively predicted adolescent interest in having a peer mentor. Approximately one-third of all participants experienced social barriers to diabetes management. For adolescents, barriers included inflexible schedules, unfamiliar foods, and the embarrassment of checking blood glucose in front of others. Young adults reported barriers in tracking food consumption and remembering to check blood glucose. Various diabetes management skills were in high demand by adolescents, who especially desired to learn about managing T1D on their own and in college. Participants were open to multiple communication modes, including in-person meetings, phone, text messaging, and social media.
Conclusions. Many adolescents and young adults with T1D are interested in peer mentoring as a way to facilitate learning and sharing essential diabetes management skills and experiences.
Ghaisas, S., Pyatak, E. A., Blanche, E., Blanchard, J., & Clark, F. (2015). Lifestyle changes and pressure ulcer prevention in adults with spinal cord injury in the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study Lifestyle Intervention. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1), 6901290020p1-6901290020p10. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.012021 Show abstract
Pressure ulcers (PrUs) are a major burden to patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), affecting their psychological, physical, and social well-being. Lifestyle choices are thought to contribute to the risk of developing PrUs. This article focuses on the interaction between lifestyle choices and the development of PrUs in community settings among participants in the University of Southern California-Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study (PUPS II), a randomized controlled trial of a lifestyle intervention for adults with SCI. We conducted a secondary cross-case analysis of treatment notes of 47 PUPS II participants and identified four patterns relating PrU development to lifestyle changes: positive PrU changes (e.g., healing PrUs) with positive lifestyle changes, negative or no PrU changes with positive lifestyle changes, positive PrU changes with minor lifestyle changes, and negative or no PrU changes with no lifestyle changes. We present case studies exemplifying each pattern.
Pyatak, E. A., Sequeira, P. A., Whittemore, R., Vigen, C. P., Peters, A. L., & Weigensberg, M. J. (2014). Challenges contributing to disrupted transition from paediatric to adult diabetes care in young adults with type 1 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 31(12), 1615-1624. https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.12485 Show abstract
Aim. To examine challenges contributing to disruptions in care during the transition from paediatric to adult care among young adults with Type 1 diabetes who are primarily in ethnic minority groups and have low socio-economic status.
Methods. Participants (n = 20) were newly enrolled patients in a transition clinic for young adults with Type 1 diabetes with a history of loss to medical follow-up. Participants completed qualitative semi-structured interviews detailing their transition experiences in addition to demographic, HbA1c and psychosocial measures. Descriptive statistics were completed for quantitative data, and narrative thematic analysis of interviews was used to identify common themes. A mixed-method analysis was used to identify the associations between stressors identified in interviews and clinical and psychosocial variables.
Results. Three categories of challenges contributing to loss to follow-up were identified: psychosocial challenges, health provider and health system challenges and developmental challenges. Participants experienced a high degree of stressful life circumstances which were associated with higher HbA1c (r = 0.60, P = 0.005), longer duration of loss to follow-up (r = 0.51, P = 0.02), greater emergency department utilization (r = 0.45, P = 0.05), and lower life satisfaction (r = -0.62, P = 0.003).
Conclusions. A confluence of challenges, including stressful life circumstances, healthcare system barriers and the developmental trajectory of young adulthood, contributes to a high risk of loss to follow-up and poor health in this population of young adults with Type 1 diabetes. An integrated approach to transition addressing medical and psychosocial needs may facilitate improved follow-up and health outcomes in clinical settings.
Pyatak, E. A., Florindez, D., Peters, A. L., & Weigensberg, M. J. (2014). “We are all gonna get diabetic these days:” The impact of a living legacy of type 2 diabetes on Hispanic young adults' diabetes care. The Diabetes Educator, 40(5), 648-658. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721714535994 Show abstract
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to investigate how an intergenerational legacy of type 2 diabetes affected the knowledge, attitudes, and treatment strategies of Hispanic young adults with diabetes.
Methods. Eight Hispanic young adults (ages 18-30 years) participated in a series of in-home longitudinal qualitative interviews, and 11 of their family members completed single in-home interviews, regarding their diabetes management practices. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically by a team of researchers.
Results. Five themes emerged that characterized the influence of an intergenerational legacy of diabetes on young adults: food and family (how meal preparation and eating are shared within families), doing together (activity participation is contingent on others’ participation), knowledge and expectations (expectations for the future and understandings of diabetes are shaped by family members), miscarried helping (well-intentioned actions have negative consequences), and reciprocal support (children and parents support each other’s diabetes care).
Conclusions. Hispanic young adults’ knowledge, attitudes, and self-care practices related to diabetes are strongly influenced by the diabetes management practices of family members with diabetes, which often depart from current standards of diabetes care. Care providers should consider family members as a potentially significant influence, either positive or negative, on the diabetes self-care practices of this population.
Clark, F., Pyatak, E. A., Carlson, M., Blanche, E. I., Vigen, C., Hay, J., Mallinson, T., Blanchard, J., Unger, J. B., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J., Floríndez, 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(2), 218-229. https://doi.org/10.1177/1740774514521904 Show 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., Sequeira, P., Peters, A. L., Montoya, L., & Weigensberg, M. J. (2013). Disclosure of psychosocial stressors affecting diabetes care among uninsured young adults with Type 1 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 30(9), 1140-1144. https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.12248 Show abstract
Aims. To determine the disclosure rates of psychosocial issues affecting routine diabetes care.
Methods. A total of 20 young adults were interviewed regarding the impact of psychosocial stressors on their diabetes care. The interviewer, endocrinologist and case manager reported the prevalence rates of psychosocial stressors. Disclosure rates were compared to determine the prevalence of psychosocial issues and the different patterns of disclosure.
Results. Participants reported a high number of psychosocial stressors, which were associated with poorer glycaemic control (r = 0.60, P = 0.005). Approximately half of all disclosed stressors (50.9%) were identified in routine care; other stressors were identified only through intensive case management and/or in-depth interviews.
Conclusions. Identifying psychosocial stressors in routine care, and providing referrals to psychological or social services, is a significant unmet need and may improve glycaemic control among certain populations with diabetes. Systematic mechanisms of capturing this information, such as by screening surveys, should be considered.
Pyatak, E. A., Florindez, D., & Weigensberg, M. J. (2013). Adherence decision making in the everyday lives of emerging adults with type 1 diabetes. Patient Preference and Adherence, 7, 709-718. https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S47577 Show abstract
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to explore motivations underlying nonadherent treatment decisions made by young adults with type 1 diabetes.
Methods. Eight emerging adults each completed a series of semi-structured interviews concerning their approaches to diabetes care, relationships with clinicians, and everyday activities and routines. A narrative thematic analysis was used to develop initial themes and refine them through continued data collection and review of the research literature.
Results. Five themes were identified as motivating nonadherence: (1) efforts to mislead health care providers, (2) adherence to alternative standards, (3) treatment fatigue and burnout, (4) social support problems, and (5) emotional and self-efficacy problems.
Conclusion. Instances of nonadherence generally involved a combination of the five identified themes. Participants reporting nonadherence also described difficulties communicating with care providers regarding their treatment. Nonjudgmental communication between providers and emerging adults may be particularly important in promoting positive health outcomes in this population.
Pyatak, E. A., Blanche, E. I., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J., Blanchard, J., Floríndez, L., & Clark, F. A. (2013). Conducting intervention research among underserved populations: Lessons learned and recommendations for researchers. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(6), 1190-1198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2012.12.009 Show 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.
Clark, F. A., Jackson, J., & Pyatak, E. A. (2013). Developing an integrated occupational science research program: The USC Well Elderly and Pressure Ulcer Prevention studies. In D. Pierce (Ed.), Occupational science for occupational therapy (pp. 291-310). Thorofare, NJ: Slack. Full text
Pyatak, E. A. (2011). Participation in occupation and diabetes self-management in emerging adulthood. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(4), 462-469. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2011.001453 Show abstract
I present the findings of a study aimed at developing an in-depth understanding of how engagement in occupation influences young adults’ ability to effectively manage diabetes and, conversely, how their diabetes self-management strategies shape their occupational participation. The qualitative interview-based study of 8 people ages 19–25 with Type 1 diabetes revealed that study participants often experienced tension between diabetes self-management and participation in valued occupations, which required them to make calculated decisions about how to balance these competing priorities in their everyday lives. Seven themes are discussed in detail that characterized the relationship between participating in valued occupations and attending to the complex factors that dictate successful diabetes self-management. This research offers a preliminary framework for occupational therapists to assist young adults with diabetes and other chronic illnesses in reconciling these competing demands.
Pyatak, E. A. (2011). The role of occupational therapy in diabetes self-management interventions. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 31(2), 89-96. https://doi.org/10.3928/15394492-20100622-01 Show abstract
Approximately 23.6 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, a disease that is a leading cause of disabling conditions including blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease, and stroke. Although these complications of diabetes can be delayed or prevented through intensive diabetes self-management (DSM), maintaining control of the disease can be burdensome and negatively impact quality of life. Occupational therapy has a largely untapped potential to assist individuals who struggle with managing diabetes in the context of everyday life, yet there is little discussion of DSM in the occupational therapy literature. The author conducts a systematic review of the existing occupational therapy literature on diabetes, examines the current state of DSM interventions, and discusses a potential role for occupational therapy using programs such as Lifestyle Redesign®.
Pyatak, E. A., & Muccitelli, L. (2011). Rap music as resistive occupation: Constructions of Black American identity and culture for performers and their audiences. Journal of Occupational Science, 18(1), 48-61. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2011.554154 Show abstract
Rap music and hip-hop culture represents a contested space within contemporary culture in the United States, often stigmatized by members of the dominant culture as an offshoot of inner city gang and drug culture. However, this dismissal fails to consider the complex historical, social, and political factors that have contributed to the development and evolution of this form of cultural expression. This article argues that rap music constitutes a resistive occupation, employed by marginalized Black American youth to communicate thoughts and concerns that are often discounted by the dominant culture, and in doing so makes a significant contribution to Black American identities and culture. To support that perspective, the authors critically analyze the conceptualization of ‘culture’ in occupational science, reinterpreting the term through a postcolonial lens that considers the influence of power, domination, and resistance in the production of culture.
USC Mentoring Award | Faculty Mentoring Graduate Students | 2021
USC Office of the Provost
Roster of Fellows | 2020
American Occupational Therapy Association
Citation Abstract Winner | 2018
Society of Behavioral Medicine 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions
Elite Reviewer | 2015
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Scholar | 2014-2016
NIH Loan Repayment Program Renewal Awardee for Clinical Research
Citation Abstract Winner | 2013
Society of Behavioral Medicine 35th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions
Scholar | 2012-2014
NIH Loan Repayment Program Awardee for Clinical Research
Pyatak named to NIH study section >
Associate Professor Beth Pyatak Associate Professor Elizabeth Pyatak has been invited to serve as a member of the Biobehavioral Medicine and Health Outcomes Study Section of the NIH Center for Scientific Review. Her four-year term begins July 1, 2021. Pyatak’s scholarship focuses on translational…
February 1, 2021
USC study shows occupational therapy helps diabetes patients make lifestyle changes that can prevent serious health complications >
By Paul Karon / SC CTSI Associate Professor Beth Pyatak A USC pilot study has indicated that an occupational therapy intervention can help diabetes patients make the kind of important and long-lasting lifestyle changes that have the potential to substantially improve their health and prevent serious…
November 8, 2019
Jordan, Pyatak named fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association >
By Mike McNulty Associate Chair of Clinical Services and Clinical Professor Katie Jordan MA ’03, OTD ’04 and Associate Professor Beth Pyatak MA ’04, PhD ’10 have been named recipients of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Roster of Fellows award. The award recognizes…
October 30, 2019
On Capitol Hill as an OT Student >
By Hannah Na Chan Division students in front of the Capitol Last Monday, I attended the AOTA Hill Day in DC with some of my OT classmates and Dr. Beth Pyatak. What is Hill Day you ask? Hill Day is a day when hundreds of occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students get…
October 4, 2019
Latest issue of AJOT features 23 USC-affiliated authors >
By Mike McNulty Nearly two dozen Trojans authors — including faculty and staff members, students and alumni — were published in the Sept./Oct. 2019 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The special issue focused on primary care, an area of occupational therapy research and…
September 30, 2019
Faculty symposium held ahead of USC Presidential Inauguration >
By HSC News Staff / HSC News USC Chan faculty members Beth Pyatak, second from left, and Sook-Lei Liew, third from left, with USC President Carol Folt. (Photo by Rene Pak) The Health Sciences Campus community recently presented some of its best and brightest faculty members as part of the array of…
September 18, 2019
New USC study shows occupational therapy improves health, quality of life of young adults with diabetes >
By Mike McNulty / USC News / HSC News New results from a University of Southern California-led research study demonstrate the distinct value of occupational therapy for improving the health and quality of life of young adults living with diabetes. Research participants who completed the Resilient,…
January 19, 2018
Occupational therapy helps young adults with diabetes >
By Miriam E. Tucker/Medscape An occupational therapy intervention can help improve HbA1c and improve quality of life in young adults with diabetes, new research finds. Results from the randomized, controlled Resilient, Empowered Active Living (REAL) diabetes study were presented June 11 here at the…
June 21, 2017
16 Trojans published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy >
Congratulations to the 16 Trojans published in the January/February 2015 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Assistant Professor Natalie Leland, Assistant Clinical Professor Karen Crum MA ’13, OTD ’14, Board of Councilors Member Shawn Phipps BS ’97, Adjunct Clinical…
January 5, 2015
For young people with diabetes, care can take a backseat to life >
By Hope Hamashige/USC News Trying to manage the ups and downs of diabetes is tough enough. But for teenagers and young adults who are juggling school, work and caring for family members, taking a healthful approach to managing their own diabetes can become a low priority. That’s what Beth Pyatak…
November 26, 2014
Self-care among Latinos with diabetes studied >
By Paul Karon/USC News USC occupational scientist and occupational therapist Elizabeth Pyatak helps young people with diabetes adopt the self-care habits and protocols recommended by their physicians. In a vote of confidence, the National Institutes of Health has given the assistant professor a…
September 11, 2014
39 USC Trojans presenting at the 2014 International Congress of the WFOT >
Congratulations to the 39 USC Trojan alumni and faculty members scheduled to present at the 2014 International Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists in Yokohama, Japan. Congrats and Fight On! Click below to view the list.
June 11, 2014
68 Trojans presenting at 2014 AOTA conference >
Congratulations to the 68 USC Trojan faculty, alumni, students and staff who presented at the 2014 Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, March 3-6 in Baltimore. Additionally of special note, alumnae Dottie Ecker Cert. ’58, MA ’68 and Sue Knox MA ’68, PhD ’97 were…
March 26, 2014
USC Trojans Shine at 92nd AOTA Conference >
Division Associate Dean and current American Occupational Therapy Association President Florence Clark PhD (’82), OTR/L, FAOTA, presided over the 92nd annual AOTA conference, April 26-29, in Indianapolis, Ind. Conference highlights included a rousing Opening Ceremony, Clark's Presidential Address…
May 1, 2012
Trojans Presenting at OTAC Conference 2011 >
The Occupational Therapy Association of California's 35th annual Conference begins this Thursday! Click below for the full list of Trojan alumni, faculty, staff and students who will be there presenting, and remember that the USC Alumni and Student Reception is the evening of Friday, October 14. See…
October 11, 2011
Strategies to Help Young Adults Manage Diabetes >
Beth Pyatak (PhD ’10, MA ’04), Division postdoctoral research associate and alumna, conducted research with young adults to develop lifestyle-based strategies for coping with diabetes. Read more about her work at Strategies to Help Manage Diabetes.
July 26, 2011
13 Trojans recently published in the Journal of Occupational Science >
Congratulations to the many USC faculty, students and alumni who were recently published in the April and June 2011 editions of the Journal of Occupational Science. Authors include: Gelya Frank PhD, Professor Elizabeth Pyatak (PhD ’10, MA ’04), Postdoctoral Research Associate Linda Muccitelli…
June 28, 2011