Associate VP and Dean Bernadette Melnyk earns recognition from the National Cancer Institute

An innovative research-based program to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors and improved health outcomes in adolescents entitled the COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise and Nutrition) Program has been selected for inclusion in a prestigious online database housed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The COPE Program has been selected by the NCI as a Research-Tested Intervention Program (RTIP). RTIPs is a searchable database of cancer control interventions and program materials designed to provide program planners and public health practitioners easy and immediate access to research-tested materials. The online directory provides a review of programs available for use in a U.S. community or clinical setting. The COPE program was scored by external peer reviewers and rated on four criteria: research integrity; intervention impact for obesity; intervention impact for physical activity; and dissemination capability.

Created by College of Nursing Dean Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, COPE teaches adolescents that how they think is directly related to how they feel and behave. It also teaches them how to turn negative beliefs triggered by “activating events” into positive beliefs so that they feel better emotionally and engage in healthy behaviors. Seven sessions in the 15-session COPE program are based on the key components of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with an emphasis on skills-building. The other eight sessions focus on healthy eating and physical activity. Findings from a recent randomized controlled trial with 779 high school teens funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Nursing Research indicated that teens who received the 15-session COPE program in their health class, compared to those who received an attention control program, had: higher levels of physical activity; less overweight/obesity; higher social skills, academic competence and grades; and less depression and alcohol use. The positive effects of COPE sustained for 12 months after completion of the program.

Additionally, Melnyk, has been selected as a Featured Partner on NCI’s Research to Reality (R2R) website. R2R is an interactive community of practice allowing 2,300 cancer control researchers and practitioners to connect and collaborate, discuss ideas and solutions, share useful resources and tools, and participate in cyber seminars and other events.

Melnyk also serves as chief wellness officer at The Ohio State University, and is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.