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Dianne Ward,EdD, FTOS, FACSM

CARE: Caring and Reaching for Health A Worksite Wellness Program for Child Care Staff

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s dynamic duo, Dianne Ward, Professor of Nutrition, and Laura Linnan, Professor of Health Behavior, have teamed up on a worksite wellness study called CARE: Caring and Reaching for Health. The 5-year NIH funded study (Co-PIs Ward and Linnan) will enroll ~100 child care centers and over 400 workers to evaluate the efficacy of a 6-month intervention to increase workers’ physical activity and other health related behaviors (Healthy Lifestyles) compared to a control arm (Healthy Finances), which will receive a parallel intervention to improve workers’ financial health.

Laura Linnan, ScD

CHAI Core is designing, developing, and testing a responsive website for the intervention, which will launch in March 2015. CARE participants will complete three 2-month wellness campaigns and will use the website to set behavioral goals and receive tailored weekly feedback. The website also provides seamless access to the behavioral intervention assessment and feedback tool, CHART.

We asked the duo a few questions about themselves and their work…

What impact do you hope your work will have?

“We are very interested in developing and testing an intervention designed especially for child care workers, as they are considered among a group of “low-wage earners”. In our pilot studies, we observed that these individuals have poor health (low physical activity, high rates of obesity, smoking, high stress), but are expected to be healthy role models for children in their care. We needed an e-health intervention because child care workers have little time to attend group meetings and need support and motivation to engage in health-promoting activities. Laura and I are excited for this work and to be partnering with the experts at the CHAI Core!”

What words of wisdom or suggestions do you have for people who are just venturing into eHealth research?

“Technology of any kind, like eHealth or mHealth, is a another tool in our toolkit of behavior change methods or strategies. We need these tools so that we are adapting our best behavior change messages and activities using the most updated tools that are available. People who work with participants with low literacy or numeracy, low resources, or other limitations will need to be mindful of the ways in which eHealth tools can/should be used. That said, I am very enthusiastic about the use of eHealth technology in many of the community-based interventions we have delivered to address health disparities.”

Check out this video about the CARE Program!


The UNC CHAI (Communication for Health Applications and Interventions) Core provides a bi-monthly Researcher Spotlight and eHealth Digest that highlights UNC researchers and innovative studies that make interesting use of technology for behavior change. If you know someone who would want to be added to their mailing list, please let them know to subscribe here.

Research Details

  • Research Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Featured NORC Member(s): Dianne Ward,EdD, FTOS, FACSM, Professor of Nutrition; Laura Linnan, ScD, Professor of Health Behavior
  • Center Contribution: The CHAI Core designed, developed, and tested a responsive website for this intervention study.

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