Publications by authors named "Thomas F Betzler"

3 Publications

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A pilot randomized controlled trial of smartphone-assisted mindfulness-based intervention with contingency management for smokers with mood disorders.

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

School of Nursing.

Cigarette smoking disproportionately affects individuals with mood disorders, but smoking cessation interventions have modest effects in this population. Home mindfulness practice during abstinence incentivized via contingency management (CM) may help those in affective distress quit smoking.

Method: Adult smokers receiving outpatient psychiatric treatment for mood disorders were randomized to receive a smartphone-assisted mindfulness-based smoking cessation intervention with contingency management (SMI-CM, = 25) or enhanced standard treatment (EST, = 24) with noncontingent rewards. Participants in SMI-CM were prompted to practice audio-guided mindfulness five times per day for 38 days (vs. no comparison intervention in EST), and received monetary incentives for carbon monoxide (CO) ≤ 6 ppm. The primary outcome was biochemically verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence rates 2, 4, and 13 weeks after a target quit day.

Results: Of the 49 participants, 63.3% were Latinx and 30.6% Black; 75.5% reported household incomes < $25,000. Abstinence rates for SMI-CM were 40.0%, 36.0%, and 16.0% versus 4.2%, 8.3%, and 4.2% in EST at weeks 2, 4, and 13. A generalized estimating equations (GEE) model showed significant overall differences in abstinence rates in SMI-CM versus EST (adjusted odds ratio [A] = 8.12, 95% CI = 1.42-46.6, = .019). Those who received SMI-CM reported significantly greater reduction in smoking-specific experiential avoidance from baseline to 3 days prior to quit date (β = -7.21, 95% CI = -12.1-2.33, = .006).

Conclusions: SMI-CM may increase cessation rates among smokers with mood disorders, potentially through reduced smoking-specific experiential avoidance. SMI-CM is a promising intervention, and warrants investigation in a fully powered randomized controlled trial (RCT). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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July 2021

Implementing competency based admissions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Med Educ Online 2016 3;21:30000. Epub 2016 Feb 3.

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA;

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein) was founded in 1955 during an era of limited access to medical school for women, racial minorities, and many religious and ethnic groups. Located in the Bronx, NY, Einstein seeks to educate physicians in an environment of state-of-the-art scientific inquiry while simultaneously fulfilling a deep commitment to serve its community by providing the highest quality clinical care. A founding principle of Einstein, the basis upon which Professor Einstein agreed to allow the use of his name, was that admission to the student body would be based entirely on merit. To accomplish this, Einstein has long used a 'holistic' approach to the evaluation of its applicants, actively seeking a diverse student body. More recently, in order to improve its ability to identify students with the potential to be outstanding physicians, who will both advance medical knowledge and serve the pressing health needs of a diverse community, the Committee on Admissions reexamined and restructured the requirements for admission. These have now been categorized as four 'Admissions Competencies' that an applicant must demonstrate. They include: 1) cocurricular activities and relevant experiences; 2) communication skills; 3) personal and professional development; and 4) knowledge. The purpose of this article is to describe the process that resulted in the introduction and implementation of this competency based approach to the admission process.
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October 2016

Prevalence and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder and chronic severe pain in psychiatric outpatients.

J Rehabil Res Dev 2007 ;44(2):167-78

National Development and Research Institutes, Inc, New York, NY 10010, USA.

This cross-sectional study reports the prevalence and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic severe pain in psychiatric outpatients (n = 295), a sample that has not previously been examined for the co-occurrence of these two disorders. Nearly half the participants (46%) met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition criteria for PTSD; 40% reported chronic severe pain; and 24% had both disorders. We compared four groups of subjects who had either both disorders, PTSD only, chronic severe pain only, or neither disorder for variables previously found to be associated with both disorders or either disorder alone (e.g., psychiatric distress, substance use, stressful life events, physical/sexual abuse). Multiple pairwise comparisons indicated that persons with both disorders were significantly different from persons with neither disorder for all dependent variables and that they had greater physical and psychosocial stressors. Persons with either PTSD or chronic severe pain alone were more likely to have a chronic medical condition, higher ratings of psychiatric distress, and more stressful life events than persons with neither disorder. Mental health treatment providers should be aware of the potential for the co-occurrence of PTSD and chronic severe pain and of the many related factors in psychiatric outpatients.
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May 2009