NEWS | June 26, 2012

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing doctoral student wins research abstract award from AcademyHealth


A research abstract by Katherine Kim, a doctoral student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, was selected by AcademyHealth as one of the top abstracts of the organization's 2012 Annual Research Meeting in Orlando June 24.

Doctoral student Katherine Kim
Student Katherine Kim

Kim received the honor for her research, "iN Touch: Impact of a Mobile App for Overweight and Obese Youth," a pilot project that examined the utility of mobile technology in helping youth manage their own health. The research abstract was recognized as the best submission in the conference's health information technology theme.

"It's an honor to have our research recognized by AcademyHealth with this award," Kim said. "Mobile technology has the potential to change the way so many people share and manage information. I hope to harness this technology to improve health for all."

In the pilot project, overweight and urban youth used a mobile device with a customized version of a health information tracking tool created by to record their observations of daily living--including their eating habits, exercise, mood and socializing. These observations were summarized weekly for their health-care providers. The youth also met in person with a lay health coach. Kim and her colleagues assessed the impact of these tools and resources on several aspects of the youths' health--including their body mass index, waist and hip measurements, depression, and self-confidence in managing health. Participants showed improvements in their waist circumference and in their self-confidence in managing their health. The project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Project HealthDesign.

"Obesity is a critical health concern nationally, and it disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities," Kim said. "This research indicates that mobile applications like iN Touch may be effective in helping overweight and obese youth take control of their own data and use it to improve their health."

AcademyHealth is a Washington, D.C.-based professional society for health services researchers and health policy analysts. Its annual research meeting is a prestigious forum for health services research. More than 2,400 attendees--health services researchers, health-care providers, key decision makers, clinicians, graduate students and research analysts--gather to discuss health policy implications, sharpen research methods and network.

At the School of Nursing, Kim's dissertation research focuses on the impact of mobile technology and social media on consumers' ability to manage their health and partner with their providers to do so.

In addition to her doctoral studies, Kim is a professor in residence at San Francisco State University's Health Equity Institute. She conducted the iN Touch pilot project with three San Francisco State University colleagues: Associate Professor of Communication Studies Christina M. Sabee, iN Touch Project Coordinator Holly Logan and student Janelle Charles.

At the same AcademyHealth conference, Kim also presented a research paper she co-authored, "Privacy Policy Framework for a Multi-State Comparative Effectiveness Research Network." The paper articulated a policy framework for data-sharing among health-care institutions that are subject to different state and institutional policies related to privacy and security of patient information. The differing laws and policies across states and institutions can be a barrier to research that compares the effectiveness of clinical interventions, according to the authors. The authors present a framework to help health researchers navigate diverse privacy and security requirements related to their research. This work was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This paper was commissioned by AcademyHealth's Electronic Data Methods Forum and will be published in the fall.

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school discovers knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, the 619-bed-acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center and the 1000-member physician group known as the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit