ISA Group

Advancing Health Science Through Innovation


ISA Group’s research projects typically address a specific health issue – cardiovascular disease, cervical cancer, HIV, etc. – and focus on behavioral elements that contribute to prevention or disease management. We create innovative digital health solutions (websites, applications, etc.) that incorporate these behavioral elements, guided by the evidence in the literature and shaped by accepted principles of health behavior change that go beyond knowledge transmission to incorporate essential motivational and skill-building exercises. These health solutions are then tested in rigorous field research, typically randomized trials, using a variety of outcome measures that range from the behavioral to the biological.

ISA's research projects span a wide array of health topics and advanced methodologies.

Health Promotion

At ISA, we have undertaken multiple projects that promote the adoption of nutritionally sound dietary practices, regular physical exercise, stress and mood management, and smoking cessation.  Rigorous tests of these programs in real-world settings have confirmed their efficacy in improving a variety of health practices, as described in this sample of peer-reviewed publications:

  • A field test of a web-based workplace health promotion program to improve dietary practices, reduce stress and increase physical activity: Randomized controlled trial. (2007) Cook, RF, Billings, D., Back, A., Hersch, R., Hendrickson, A.   Journal of Medical Internet Research, 9 (2): e17.  
  • A Web-based approach to managing stress and mood disorders in the workforce. Billings, D.W., Cook, R.F., Hendrickson, A., & Dove, D. (2008) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 50, 960–968.
  • Heart Healthy Online: An innovative approach to risk reduction in the workplace. Deitz, D., Cook, R.F, Hersch, R.K., & Leaf, S. (2014)  Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(5):547-549.
  • A Web-based health promotion program for older workers: Randomized controlled trial. Cook, RF, Hersch RK, Schlossberg D, Leaf SL. (2015).  Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(3): e82
  • Reducing nurses' stress: A randomized controlled trial of a web-based stress management program for nurses. Rebekah K. Hersch, Royer F. Cook, Diane K. Deitz, Seth Kaplan, Daniel Hughes, Mary Ann Friesen, RN, Maria Vezina. (2016) Applied Nursing Research, 32, 18-25.

HIV/AIDS Prevention

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken a tragic toll on the health of millions of Americans.  Fortunately, a variety of interventions, both behavioral and medication-based, have been developed to improve the health of HIV patients and impede the transmission of the HIV virus.  ISA has developed and tested several powerful online/mobile programs that have been shown effective in increasing condom use in high risk populations and medication adherence among HIV/AIDS patients, as described in the following sample of publications:

  • A randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of a web-based HIV behavioral intervention for high-risk African American women. (2015)  Billings, D. W., Leaf, S. L., Spencer, J., Crenshaw, T., Brockington, S., & Dalal  AIDS and Behavior, 19, 1263-74.
  • Test of a web-based program to improve adherence to HIV medications. Hersch, R.H., Cook, R.F., Billings, D.W., Kaplan, S., Murray, D., Safren, S., Goforth, J., & Spencer, J. (2013)  AIDS and Behavior, 17, 2963-2976.
  • Mobile HIV Risk Assessment and Prevention Involving Drug and Sexual Behaviors: The RAPID Project. Billings, D. W., Leaf, S. L., Smiley, S Paper presented at the International Society of Research on Internet Interventions, Valencia, Spain.

Substance Abuse Prevention

  • Preventing substance as an integral part of worksite  health promotion. Cook, R.F., & Youngblood, A. (1990).  Occupational Medicine:  State of the Art Reviews, 5(4), 725-738.
  • Substance abuse prevention in the workplace: Recent findings and an expanded conceptual model.  Cook, R.F., Back, A. & Trudeau, J. (1996).   The Journal of Primary Prevention, 16(3), 319-339.
  • Drug Abuse Prevention in the Workplace. Cook, R.F. (2003).  In Bukoski, B. & Sloboda, Z. (Eds.) Handbook of Drug Abuse Prevention Theory, Science and Practice.  New York: Plenum.
  • Deitz, D., Cook, R., & Hendrickson, A. (2011) Preventing prescription drug misuse: Field test of the SmartRx web program. Substance Use and Misuse, 46 (5), 678-686.