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About Us

Our lab uses smartphone-based Ecological Momentary Assessments.

Dr. Michael Businelle's research lab is a cornerstone of the Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC), specializing in the use of mobile health technologies. The lab employs ecological momentary assessments (EMAs), passive sensor data, and just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAI) to gain insights into the complex interplay between the environment, thoughts, feelings, and health behaviors. Driven by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in psychology, communication, and technology, the lab is devoted to developing and implementing real-time, mHealth interventions. Their diverse research initiatives encompass mobile health technology, smoking cessation, mental health, and health disparities in various populations, reflecting the lab's commitment to understanding and addressing health challenges from multiple angles​​.

Our Team

Principal Investigator

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Michael Businelle, PhD

Co-Director of the TSET Health Promotion Research Center, Director of the mHealth Shared Resource at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center at the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Michael Businelle was recruited to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2015 to develop and direct the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Mobile Health (mHealth) Shared Resource. The mHealth resource is staffed by 5.5 computer scientists/engineers and 4 additional staff members. The InsightTM platform enables researchers to rapidly create mobile applications that can use ecological momentary assessments (EMA) and sensor data (i.e., activity monitor, mobile carbon monoxide monitor, e-cigarette device) to identify environmental, cognitive, affective, physiological, and behavioral antecedents of health risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, heavy alcohol use, poor diet / inactivity / obesity, etc.) and deliver context-specific adaptive interventions in real-time. To date, the mHealth resource has supported 84 research studies (43 NIH funded, 5 studies have collected data outside the US – Cambodia, Laos, and Scotland; 5 languages [English, Spanish, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Lao]).

Since 2011, Dr. Businelle has been the PI on 20 studies that have been funded by the NIH, ACS, and internal funds and he has a strong publication record (i.e., over 185 peer reviewed publications) in the areas of smoking cessation, mental health, health disparities, and mHealth. Nineteen of his previous studies collected EMA data to identify mechanisms of health risk behaviors and 15 studies have used smartphones to intervene to improve health behaviors in real-time. His primary goal is to improve understanding of the causes of health disparities and to create and disseminate effective smartphone based just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) that reduce health disparities.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

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Sarah Tonkin, PhD

Sarah Tonkin, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center at the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center. Sarah earned her BS in Psychology from Penn State University and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from The State University of New York at Buffalo. She completed her clinical internship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Sarah’s research seeks to identify psychological treatment mechanisms for smoking cessation and address treatment disparities by examining how these processes vary in populations that tend to benefit less from smoking interventions. To answer these questions, Sarah uses a translational approach by examining laboratory and “real-world” measurement of behavior, affect, and cognition.

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Bingjing Mao, PhD

Dr. Bingjing Mao began her postdoctoral research fellowship at the HPRC in August 2022 after earning her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Miami. Dr. Mao’s research program involves the intersection between media psychology, digital technology, and cancer communication. Specifically, her research aims to understand the cognitive mechanisms through which interactions in a technology-mediated environment can impact health outcomes. Additionally, she is interested in the emotional processes behind health decision-making. As a research fellow at the HPRC, Dr. Mao can envision contributing to the multidisciplinary scholarship of digital health by working with her mentors Drs. Michael Businelle and Jordan Neil. 

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Ruosi "Rose" Shao, PhD

Dr. Ruosi (Rose) Shao began her fellowship at the HPRC in August 2022 after earning her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in the College of Communications. Dr. Shao’s research focuses on leveraging communication technologies for social support and health intervention. She is passionate about mental health, emotion regulation, and the potential of artificial intelligence in fulfilling the social role of a companion for people with chronic conditions. Methodologically, she is interested in involving intensive longitudinal data and passive sensing data in mHealth to promote effective and targeted intervention. Primary Mentor: Michael Businelle and Jordan Neil (August 2022-present)

Research Staff

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Krista Kezbers, PhD, DipACLM, ACSM-EIM

Senior Program Manager

Krista Kezbers joined the TSET HPRC in July 2021 after spending 4 years as a Research Associate at OU-Tulsa. She earned her PhD in Health and Human Performance from Oklahoma State University in 2017 and her dissertation focused on the health and well-being of sports coaches. Krista received a masters degree in Kinesiology from The University of Texas and an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from The University of Minnesota. Her research interests revolve around improving the health and lifestyle behaviors of individuals in unique populations. 

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Audrey Montgomery

Senior Staff Research Assistant

Audrey Montgomery joined the TSET HPRC in January 2020 as a research technician. She previously worked as a licensed professional counseling candidate after receiving her Master of Education in Professional Counseling from the University of Oklahoma. Audrey completed her undergraduate research experience at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Applied Social Research (CASR). She worked on multiple research projects focused on the relationship between attitudes in ideological Internet discussions and emotion and communication strategies. Her current research interests include the investigation of information practices and behaviors of health professionals and patients.

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Meghan Neumann

Staff Research Assistant

Meghan Neumann joined the TSET HPRC in March 2020 as a Research Technician and is now a Staff Research Assistant. She received her BS  from Oklahoma State University and is currently working towards her MPH in Epidemiology. Her current research interests include disease prevention and healthcare access in rural communities. 

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Irene De La Torre, B.S., BHCM2

Staff Research Assistant

Irene De La Torre joined the TSEST HPRC in February 2021. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy with an Honors distinction from Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, she was an undergraduate research assistant in the Child Adaptation and Maternal Psychopathology Laboratory and an assistant in the Psychological Service Center. She was rewarded the Psychology departmental outstanding senior award in Spring 2020. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Level 2 Behavioral Case Manager in charge of the COMPASS Transitional Housing Program at HOPE Community services. Her current research interest include the use of mobile health technology for health promotion in vulnerable populations.

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Danielle Walters

Staff Research Assistant

Danielle Walters joined our team in 2021. Her past experiences include working on several research projects, with topics ranging from the validation of a new social anxiety measure to the prevalence and features regarding Trypophobia (the fear of holes). She has been cited as an author on a published scientific paper regarding Trypophobia, and has presented research at several different conferences regarding her work. Danielle believes that psychological research can be used, not only to inform, but also to enhance and enrich lives through understand and application. Danielle holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from New Mexico Highlands University.

Carl Witten

Staff Research Assistant

Carl Witten joined the TSET HPRC in April of 2022. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Missouri State University. While at Missouri State, Carl worked with Board Certified analysts to provide behavior interventions for children with developmental disabilities. Once out of grad school he worked with the F.A.A. In Oklahoma City performing human factors research on multiple flight-deck projects. Research interests include motivation, and everything related to how organizations operate as functional groups.

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Brighton Banks

Staff Research Assistant

Brighton Banks joined the HPRC team in May 2023, after working as a Gynecological Oncology Clinical Research Coordinator for the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU. Brighton graduated with her BS in Exercise Sport Science from Oklahoma City University and her MS in Holistic Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She has spent the last several years working in fitness and wellness coaching, specially studying the use of holistic nutrition and exercise on chronically ill populations.

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Blayne Barker

Staff Research Assistant

Blayne Barker joined the TSET HPRC in May 2022. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Summa Cum Laude distinction from Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, Blayne was an undergraduate research assistant in the Cognition, Attention, Law & Memory (CALM) Lab and the Cultivating Opportunities that Lead to Equity (COLE) Lab. Her current research interests include using mobile health technology to address how discrimination and prejudice affect mental health and health behaviors in underrepresented populations.

Lab Alumni

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Lizbeth "Libby" Benson, PhD
Libby is a tenure track Research Assistant Professor at the Data Science for Dynamic Intervention Decision Making Center within the Survey Research Center and Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. 

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Jessica "Jess" Becerra, PhD
Jessica will be moving to Washington DC area where she will be working as a Consultant II at FMP Consulting. 

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Nadia Stanley
Nadia is currently a PhD student at Texas A&M University-Commerce in the Department of Psychology and Special Education.

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Emily Hébert, DrPH
Emily T. Hébert, an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas HSC at Houston, is now conducting research on the use of mobile technology for health behavior evaluation and intervention.

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Jillian Robison
Jillian is currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student at the University of Houston

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Clayton Ulm
Clayton is currently pursuing his PhD at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Chris Neal
Chris Neal is a licensed professional counselor who provides individual and couples therapy across Texas and Oklahoma.

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Angela Helt
Angela Helt is now a Doctoral Candidate in Health Promotion Sciences and Research Project Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

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Subekchhya Subedi

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Madison Stout
Madison Stout is currently a predoctoral intern in clinical psychology at the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System and doctoral candidate at Oklahoma State University.

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Tanushri Bhushan

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Mary Williams

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Rachel Moisiuc

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Jiwon (Jennie) Min
Jiwon "Jennie" Min currently serves as Chief Clinical Psychology Resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

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Karen Ra
Chaelin “Karen” Ra is an Instructor in the Division of Medical Oncology, Section of Behavioral Sciences at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

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Joseph Waring
Joseph is currently a PhD Student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

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LaQuita McDade
LaQuita McDade has joined the Neuropsychology Team at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as a Psychometrist.

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