Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research
Scientist Seminars and Mini Trainings
March 2023 – Scientist Seminar | Open Science (OS) 2.0: An introduction to Git and Gitlab
Dr. Wassim Tarraf builds on Dr. Mezuk’s March Mini Training, in which she addressed some of the substantive issues behind the need to do open science. This presentation focuses on the applied side of “how” to do it. The seminar integrates several ideas from Scott Long’s Principles of Workflow in Data Analysis, discusses the kind of expectations that you should have for yourself and others working with you if you want to switch to an open system science framework, and demonstrates how to do a few things in Git and GitLab. Wassim noted that although there is a steep learning curve, it becomes second nature once you get a sense of it. The main thing that it forces you to do is to work on your code and your project so that every bit of it is documented and replicable.
Open Science (OS) 2.0 slides (PDF)
os_2.0_analyses (txt file)
os_2.0_analyses (Rmd file)
March 2023 – Mini Training | Pre-registration: A tool for enhancing rigor in your research
Dr. Briana Mezuk provided an overview the what, why, and how of pre-registering your study and/or analysis plan. She also answered questions people typically have about this process and provided a recent example of why it matters for research on older adults. As always, her slides (which can be found below) have hyperlinks to related documents and resources.
MCUAAAR AnC Pre-registration_ A tool for enhancing rigor in your research (PDF)
February 2023 – Mini Training | PMCID ≠ PMID: The Importance of PMCIDs
Dr. Robert J. Taylor discussed the importance of starting the PMCID process as soon as a paper is accepted for publication. NIH mandates that all peer-reviewed journal articles written while receiving NIH funds be made publicly available through PubMed Central. A PMID is different from a PMCID. MCUAAAR will not be in compliance with the NIH mandate if an article only has a PMID. Even if your article is published in a journal that automatically transfers your published work into the PMC repository, you need to make sure it is linked to the MCUAAAR grant. As long as you are receiving funding from MCUAAAR, you should do the PMCID process even for articles not directly associated with your pilot grant and associate it with MCUAAAR. Dr. Taylor discusses step-by-step, how to submit an article into PubMed Central.
January 2023 – Mini Training | Representative vs Non-Representative Samples
Dr. Briana Mezuk presented the first of a two-part series on samples and sampling. While in part two, Dr. Wassim Tarraf will offer a full Scientist Seminar on Mapping and Modeling Census Data, in this session, Dr. Mezuk presents an argument of the circumstance of when and why one would want to use non-representative samples. The goals of the training were to define some key terms relevant to sampling theory, provide a framework for understanding the usefulness of non-representative samples, and introduce concepts pertinent to the Mapping and Modeling Census Data training.
January 2023 Mini Training: Representative vs Non-Representative Samples (PDF)
November-December 2022 – Scientist Seminar | Pitching an Experimental Module for the Health and Retirement Study (HRS): Measurement Considerations
Dr. Briana Mezuk provided an overview of the process involved in submitting an experimental module for the HRS. She discussed the timeline (module proposals for 2024 are due January 13, 2023), provided specific examples based on the module she submitted that was accepted, and reviewed various measurement considerations. The slides attached have important hyperlinks to more information. A document of the actual questions on her Coordinated Care module is also attached.
HRS Coordinated Care Module (PDF)
November 2022 – Mini Training | Invariance in Cross-Group Research
Dr. Wassim Tarraf gave an overview and discussed the importance of invariance testing. He noted most of us do regressions in our daily work; we examine associations in group differences, and in particular, we’re focused on differences and means and proportions. We work under the assumption that the measures we’re using and testing are equivalent across groups. The problem is that those measures are potentially not equivalent. Most of the constructs were created in largely non-diverse populations, non-diverse samples, with non-Hispanic whites in particular. Non-invariance is a statistical property for providing evidence regarding the equivalence of instruments and constructs. It’s the degree to which instruments are invariant across different situations and to ensure that the underlying constructs have the same theoretical structure. In many instances they don’t. This is important because before we talk about mean differences between groups, we should rule out any systematic error or group specific biases in any studied construct. Invariance testing helps us to do that.
November 2022 Mini Training: Invariance in Cross-Group Research (PDF)
References from presentation:
- Xu (2012) Multiple group measurement invariance analysis in Lavaan.
- Dimitrov (2010) Testing for Factorial Invariance in the Context of Construct Validation.
- Sass, D.A., Schmitt, T.A. (2013). Testing Measurement and Structural Invariance. In: Teo, T. (eds) Handbook of Quantitative Methods for Educational Research. SensePublishers, Rotterdam. Chapter 15 in Handbook
- Brown (2015) Confirmatory Factor Analysis for Applied Research. 2nd Edition. See especially Chapter 7
Dr. Mosi Ifatungi provided these references:
Harnois, Catherine E. and Mosi Adesina Ifatunji. 2011. “Gendered Measures, Gendered Models: Toward an Intersectional Analysis of Interpersonal Racial Discrimination.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 34:1006-28.
Ifatunji, Mosi Adesina and Catherine Harnois. 2016. “An Explanation for the Gender Gap in Perceptions of Discrimination among African Americans: Considering the Role of Gender Bias in Measurement.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 2(3):263-88.
October 2022 – Scientist Seminar | How To Do All the Things: Part 2 - Writing
Dr. Amanda Woodward presented “Part 2” of the Mini Session on How to Do All the Things, with a particular focus on writing. The format for the session was more of a discussion than a presentation, so there were no PowerPoint slides. Dr. Woodward introduced the seminar and asked participants to share their most significant challenges in writing, any “Ah Ha” moments for strategies that worked particularly well, and any questions they had about any aspect of writing. A rich discussion took place, and the resources listed below were shared.
Writing Resources Mentioned by Amanda and Participants
Robert Boice, Professor as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing (1990)
Robert Boice, Advice for New Faculty Members (2000)
Tara Gray, Publish and Flourish (2005)
Paul Silva, How to Write a Lot (2017)
Eviatar Zerubavel, The Clockwork Muse (1999
Helen Sword, Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write (2017)
Dannelle Stevens, Write More, Publish More, Stress Less!: Five Key Principles for a Creative and Sustainable Scholarly Practice (2018)
Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (2007)
Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2015)
Colson Whitehead – https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/colson-whiteheads-rules-for-writing.html
Helen Sword’s BASE Model – https://writersdiet.com/base/
Writing Consultant – https://upinconsulting.com/
National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity – https://www.facultydiversity.org/
October 2022 – Mini Training | How To Do All the Things
Dr. Amanda Woodward discussed time management and strategies to be productive when being pulled in so many directions. She discussed issues such as planning one’s semester, aligning time with priorities, writing tips and overcoming resistance to writing, and dealing with the avalanche of email. This session was a prelude to the October Scientist Seminar that focuses on a writing practice.
May 2022 – Scientist Seminar | Learn from our bumps in the road! Implementing a pragmatic clinical trial
In this seminar, Dr. Amanda Woodward provides information on what distinguishes a pragmatic trial from a traditional randomized controlled trial. She then uses the Michigan Stroke Transitions Trial as an example to illustrate key aspects of a pragmatic trial and some things to consider when designing and implementing such a study.
May 2022 – Mini Training | Within vs. Between-Group Comparisons
Dr. Briana Mezuk provided a conceptual overview of how to think about be within group versus between group comparisons. She noted that comparisons are a fundamental part of scientific research; they form the logical foundation of how we generate scientific knowledge. However, within-group and between-group comparisons are answering different scientific questions. This is particularly important when considering variables like “race” which are themselves composites of various historical processes and multifactorial. She advised to consider the question you are trying to answer and make sure that our study design matches it.
Mini Training: Within vs. Between-Group Comparisons (PDF)
Schwartz, S. and Meyer, IH. (2010). Mental health disparities research: the impact of within and between group analyses on tests of social stress hypotheses. Soc Sci Med. 2010 Apr;70(8):1111-8. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.11.032. Epub 2010 Jan 25. PMID: 20100631; PMCID: PMC3828206.
VanderWeele, Tyler J., Robinson and Whitney R. (2014). On the Causal Interpretation of Race in Regressions Adjusting for Confounding and Mediating Variables. Epidemiology 25(4):p 473-484, July 2014. | DOI: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000105.
March 2022 – Scientist Seminar | Open Science 2.0: How?
Dr. Wassim Tarraf built on Dr. Briana Mezuk’s Mini Training on why Open Science is important and discussed how to create a workflow for reproducible research in GitHub that can be shared. This presentation was an update and extension of his seminar in May 2020 and the February 2021 seminar that was a more applied session on how to work in R.
March 2022 - Mini Training | Open Science 1.0: Why?
Dr. Briana Mezuk discussed the Open Science Framework; why it exists, and why MCUAAAR Scientists might want to participate. The mission of the Center for Open Science (https://www.cos.io/) is to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research. As we know, NIH policy requires transparency/reproducibility in all research they fund. In discussing why participate in Open Science, Dr. Mezuk noted that funders require you to make your data available, journals are increasingly requiring it, it makes your work more widely discoverable and it supports your mission as a scholar get your knowledge into the hands of people beyond the academy. Dr. Wassim Tarraf will present Open Science 2.0: How? in the March Scientist Seminar.
February 2022 – Scientist Seminar | K-Award Panel
Dr. Briana Mezuk moderated a panel of MCUAAAR Scientists and Faculty who have received Career Development Awards (K-Awards). The panel included Dr. Sheria Robinson-Lane, Dr. Elham Mahmoudi, and Dr. Kent Key. The panel shared their experiences applying for a K-Award, what they wished they knew when they started the process, the pros and cons of K-Bootcamps, and other very useful advice. Dr. Mezuk and Dr. Angela Elam also shared their experiences with writing and receiving K-awards.
January 2022 – Mini Training | Causal Inference 1.0: Frameworks and Randomized Controlled Trials
Dr. Briana Mezuk presents the first part of a two-part series that the ANC is doing on causal inference. She introduces main frameworks and discusses randomized controlled trials. She also recommends key papers that will provide a background to the Causal Inference 2.0 Scientist Seminar scheduled for January 19th.
Causal Inference 1.0 slides (PDF)
January 2022 – Scientist Seminar | Causal Inference 2.0
Dr. Wassim Tarraf builds on what Dr. Mezuk presented in the Mini-Training. In this seminar, he provides a very brief introduction to causation, mentions a few modeling strategies, and spends most of the seminar on matching techniques for causal inference. He also provides a number of resources for additional information.
Please contact Dr. Tarraf for the code used for this presentation. You will need R/RStudio to open and adjust the code.
December 2021 – Scientist Seminar | The Arts and Crafts of Grant Writing
Dr. Briana Mezuk discusses grant writing for NIH-type proposals in this seminar. She provides general tips for proposal writing, extensive advice regarding writing specific aims, strategies to make the proposal reviewer’s job easier, and suggestions for addressing grant reviewers’ comments regarding proposals being too ambitious and/or not feasible. She also offers numerous resources available for further assistance.
October 2021 – Scientist Seminar | Latent Variable Modeling
Dr. Wassim Tarraf provided a brief introductory session on Latent Variables Modeling. The session includes a brief discussion (30,000-foot view) of path analyses, confirmatory factor analyses, structural equations models and their extension to longitudinal analyses. Brief examples using data from the Health and Retirement Study are provided throughout.
May 2021 – Scientist Seminar | Strategies for selecting measures to assess psychosocial constructs in primary data collection
Dr. Briana Mezuk gave an overview of the core elements of measurement, utilized the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression (CESD) Scale as an example of some of the challenges in using psychosocial measures with diverse populations, shared key resources for finding existing psychosocial measures, and discussed strategies and considerations for adapting measures to, or creating new measures for, specific populations.
Strategies for selecting measures to assess psychosocial constructs in primary data collection (PDF)
Shades of blue and gray (PDF). Dang L, Dong L, Mezuk B. Shades of Blue and Gray: A Comparison of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview for Assessment of Depression Syndrome in Later Life. Gerontologist. 2020 May 15;60(4):e242-e253. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnz044 . PMID: 31112598 ; PMCID: PMC7228460.
April 2021 – Mini Training | Text Mining: Quantitative Analysis of Qualitative Data
Dr. Wassim Tarraf noted that this material usually takes eight hours to teach, so it was just a cursory overview of the subject matter; it scratches the surface of what you can do in text analysis. Text is nothing but data, except it is slightly more complex data. Now we have the technology to deal with that. Even for people who do qualitative work, you can potentially add a quantitative component to that work so that you can show some trends and patterns that exist in the data. The example that he utilized was all the CDC tweets between April 2020 – March 2021; 3,200 tweets. He used an app available on Chrome called Twlets – https://twlets.com/.
March 2021 – Mini Training | “Recalibrating” the use of race in health research: Why, when, and how?
Dr. Briana Mezuk led a discussion of the Ioannidis article in JAMA (Ioannidis JPA, Powe NR, Yancy C. Recalibrating the Use of Race in Medical Research. JAMA. 2021;325(7):623–624. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.0003). She summarized two main points from the article; that race is a historical, poorly-specified measure that nevertheless has a great deal of explanatory power when it comes to health, and that race is used both implicitly and explicitly in medical research. She alluded to Dr. James S. Jackson’s keynote address in 2012 at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) entitled, “The Masquerade of Racial Group Differences in Psychological Sciences”. For discussion, she posed the question, How does the construct of race inform or intersect with your research program? Her presentation provided an important segue to the March Scientist Seminar.
AnC Mini Session – Race in Health Research (PDF)
Recalibrating the Use of Race (PDF)
Other references generated in the Chat:
This article (intro to a special issue) by James Jackson and others from 2018 has lots of important things re structural and cultural racism as important to include, etc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5915332/
This is an interesting pub on within and across group heterogeneities in Hispanics done with HCHS/SOL data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716704/
This is the link to the video that Dr. Mezuk included in her presentation – James S. Jackson – The Masquerade Of Racial Group Differences on Vimeo. This keynote is from 2012.
March 2021 – Scientist Seminar| On Racism: A New Standard for Publishing on Racial Health Inequities
Dr. Amanda Woodward led a discussion that was a continuation of the discussion from the Mini Training that Dr. Mezuk conducted during the Program Meeting. Dr. Woodward noted that both the JAMA and Health Affairs articles focused on the use of race as a variable without unpacking what is actually being measuring. To begin the discussion, she asked how the construct of race informs or intersects with the scientists’ research and teaching, and asked for examples where they have seen this done really well or not done well, whether it’s in publishing or research. A lively discussion ensured.
March 2021 – Special REC Training | Should I Write a Book?
Dr. R. Khari Brown’s talk was held March 26, 2021. Dr. Brown is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University, and is a leading expert of religion and American politics. In this training workshop, he discussed his thought processes related to the decision to co-author the book, Faith without works is dead: Race and the power of sermons on American politics, with Drs. Ron Brown and James S. Jackson, published by The University of Michigan Press. He explored various reasons for writing a book; utilitarian reasons (for tenure or promotion), to do good, and as a means to tie other published work together. He also gave an overview of the process involved in writing a book.
Special REC Training – Should I Write a Book? (PDF)
February 2021 – Mini Training | Planning for and Responding to Mental Health Issues in Research Participants
Dr. Amanda Woodward presented an updated version of a similar training she conducted last year. She discussed the need to think about potential mental health crises that could occur in research participants, as well as caring for researchers. All of this is even more important during COVID-19. She covered key points related to planning, monitoring, and ending research participation.
February 2021 – Scientist Seminar | R Studio: The Sequel
Dr. Wassim Tarraf conducted this Scientist Seminar as a follow-up to training he did in May 2020. The impetus for this session was a request from the MCUAAAR Scientists for a more applied session for how to work in R. The objective of this session is to show how you can create a project and run that project from top to bottom in a way that is completely reproducible. Everything Dr. Tarraf demonstrated in this session can be done with software, packages, and datasets that are publicly available.
January 2021 – Mini Training | Reporting on an Innovative Telephone Outreach Program to Older Detroiters
Dr. Tam Perry and Ms. Vanessa Rorai of the Community Liaison and Recruitment Core (CLRC) reported on the incredibly ambitious and innovative outreach to all members of the Participant Research Pool. The impetus of the outreach was to check on the members of the PRP during the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce their social isolation, and provide information to resources for anyone who needed them. The calls were made between April 20, 2020 and January 29, 2021.
MCUAAAR Phone Survey April July 2020 How Getting Through COVID (PDF)
January 2021 – Scientist Seminar | Using Your Research to Change the World: And Getting Credit for it Too
Dr. Amanda Woodward discussed how to use research for change (reviewing two different models for doing this), the costs and benefits to doing activist-engaged scholarship (recognizing the ability to do this work is different at different points in our career), and ways to describe and structure the work to get credit for it. To prepare for the discussion, scientists were asked to read, Nerlinger AL, Shah AN, Beck AF, Beers LS, Wong SL, Chamberlain LJ, Keller D. The Advocacy Portfolio: A Standardized Tool for Documenting Physician Advocacy. Acad Med. 2018 Jun;93(6):860-868. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002122. PMID: 29298182.
The Advocacy Portfolio: A Standardized Tool for Documenting Physician Advocacy (PDF)
December 2020 – Mini-Training | Quantile Regression
Dr. Wassim Tarraf is an Associate Professor, at the Institute of Gerontology, Department of Healthcare Sciences, at Wayne State University. His Mini-Training was entitled, “An Alternative Modeling Approach to Uncover Disparities: Quantile Regression”. While researchers typically use ordinary least squares regression, that method has assumptions that are necessarily met, especially when you have bimodal or multimodal distributions, skewed distributions or outliers. Quantile regression is an extension of linear regression and is a modeling technique that can be used when the assumption of least squares regression cannot be met.
November 2020 - News flash! Author Mentions in Science News Reveal Wide-Spread Ethnic Bias
Tips for Talking with Journalists
Dr. Amanda Woodward is the Associate Director for Academic Affairs and Research, MSW Program Director, and Professor at Wayne State University. She is also a Co-Lead of the MCUAAAR REC. Her Mini-Training had tips on one’s message, making sure you have talking points, general communication tips, and more in-depth suggestions for talking with journalists. There was a lively discussion after the presentation with scientists and faculty.
Scientist Seminar, November 18, 2020
News flash! Author Mentions in Science News Reveal Wide-Spread Ethnic Bias
David Jurgens is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Participants were asked to read the article found here https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.01896 prior to the seminar. He presented two studies as examples of how to think about text as data. One was based on the article participants were asked to read, and is reflected in the title of the Seminar. The other study was entitled, “Racial Disparities in Police Language Usage”. The research question was, do officers treat white community members with a greater degree of respect than they afford to black community members? Text from body cameras of officers in the Oakland Police Department was used as data in this study.
October 2020 - Resources and Strategies for Conducting Research During the COVID-Era
Dr. James McNally and Dr. Briana Mezuk facilitated a discussion of data resources and strategies for staying productive during a period of time when a) data collection is either prohibited, limited, or altered to be virtual and b) “working from home” has a new set of challenges. Seminar participants were asked to view the NACDA video before the seminar, and bring their questions/ideas/et to discuss during the AnC seminar.
May 2020 - Reproducible Analytic Workflow: Tips and an Application
Dr. Wassim Tarraf shared tips on how to create a workflow for reproducible research. He presented Scott Long’s concept of research workflow which includes planning, organizing, and documenting scientific process, establishing and fostering collaborations, managing and sharing data, analyzing data, disseminating findings, and archiving the process for replication. Dr. Tarraf also walked participants through an example using Git and GitHub.
Reproducible Analytic Workflow: Tips and an Application (PDF)
April 2020 - Doing All Things: When the World is Going to $#@! Around You
Dr. Amanda Woodward discussed time management and strategies to be productive when there is a global pandemic. She discussed issues such as planning one’s semester, aligning time with priorities, writing tips and overcoming resistance to writing, and dealing with the avalanche of email. Participants also shared their favorite tips and strategies to increase productivity.
February 2020 – Put Your Suit On, We’re Getting in the Pool: Approaches to Pooling Datasets
Dr. Briana Mezuk discusses what it means to “pool” datasets. The fundamental idea is that you can take information in one study and use it to “fill in the gaps” in another study. There are several variations, or ways of doing this, but they all stem from the idea that the data you have can be used to impute the data you do not. Like all imputation strategies, these approaches can address some sources of bias, but at a cost of precision.
2020 Feb AnC Seminar Notes_Briana Mezuk (Word)
AnC Scholar Seminar PowerPoint_2.19.20 (PDF)