KU News: Grant-funded collaboration between KCK community, KU aims to reduce youth violence

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Grant-funded collaboration between KCK community, KU aims to reduce youth violence
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS — Youth violence is a leading cause of death for young people and is responsible for more than 400,000 nonfatal injuries each year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Although violent incidents also can have serious physical, mental and social effects on young people, it can be difficult for them to navigate and receive support afterward, and that can lead to further violence. For youths who are treated through The University of Kansas Health System, a hospital-based intervention program provides support to young victims of violence in hopes of reducing the reverberating effects.

Study examines what makes people susceptible to fake health news
LAWRENCE — A new study from University of Kansas journalism & mass communication researchers examines what influences people to believe misleading health information and suggests big tech companies have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of such information. While the study took place before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, its findings are especially relevant as misinformation and politicized information about COVID-19 have proliferated.

From fishface to river air: Brassword music method promotes fluidity
LAWRENCE – For Scott Watson, a phrase once spoken by the late tuba master Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unlocked something in his mind and in his playing of the brass instrument. Now the University of Kansas professor of music has tried to capture that magical mind-body linkage in his own new book for music educators who teach students of brass instruments.

Full stories below.

Contact: Jen Humphrey, Life Span Institute, 785-864-6621, [email protected], @kulifespan
Grant-funded collaboration between KCK community, KU aims to reduce youth violence

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS — Youth violence is a leading cause of death for young people and is responsible for more than 400,000 nonfatal injuries each year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Although violent incidents also can have serious physical, mental and social effects on young people, it can be difficult for them to navigate and receive support afterward, and that can lead to further violence.

For youths who are treated through The University of Kansas Health System, a hospital-based intervention program provides support to young victims of violence in hopes of reducing the reverberating effects.

REVIVE, or Reducing the Effects of Violence through Intervention and Victim Empowerment, is a collaboration among the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, Wyandotte County Community Corrections, The University of Kansas Health System and a federally funded grant program based at KU called ThrYve, or Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity.

Directed by Jomella Watson-Thompson, associate professor of applied behavioral science and associate director at the KU Center for Community Health & Development at the Life Span Institute, ThrYve is funded by a 2017 four-year, $1.7 million grant awarded to Watson-Thompson to study comprehensive approaches to prevent youth violence in the Kansas City area.

Watson-Thompson said REVIVE was developed as a community-driven program to help support young people by connecting them with ThrYve and its community partners.

“The way that REVIVE works is to reduce recidivism,” Watson-Thompson said. “We don’t want our young people to continue to return back to the emergency room or to the hospital for these violence-related injuries.”

REVIVE’s main goal is to “break the cycle of violence,” according to Olivia Desmarais, trauma injury prevention specialist at The University of Kansas Health System. The program connects the admitted patients who are eligible for the program with corresponding support systems that follow the participants’ needs during a six-month period.

To be considered for REVIVE, patients need to be 12 to 24 years old, live in Wyandotte County and be a victim of violence. The criteria exclude self-harm, domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault since each one of those already has specific care pathways within the health system.

Launched in July 2020, the program has so far identified 21 people eligible to participate. Currently, REVIVE is serving six individuals.

Damon Daniel, president of Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, also provided insights on the organization’s role with youths who were admitted to the hospital.
“We have to rely on hospital staff to make the pitch and connect people to us,” Daniel said. “When we do get the referrals, we’re following up via phone and then trying to handle some of the case management, whether it be via Zoom virtually or just telephone conversations.”

According to Daniel, many young patients who just went through a traumatic event were clueless about how different organizations can help them. Therefore, it is important to gain trust through initial contact with the patients. However, because it started during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program had to adjust to making referrals and offering subsequent meetings on online platforms and by phone instead of personal visits.

For Desmarais, the hospital’s trauma injury prevention specialist, as well as for the program’s case manager and advocate responders, that makes things more challenging.

“I think a lot of it hinges on that bedside visit,” she said. “Having that face-to-face connection, showing up at their bedside in a patient’s time of need, and having somebody come and say: ‘Hey, I’m here for you and only you, and I’m here to advocate for you to get better,’ is really powerful, and I think we’re missing that piece.”

REVIVE is in partnership with The University of Kansas Health System and University of Kansas Medical Center. According to Dr. Robert Winfield, division chief for trauma, acute care surgery and critical care at The University of Kansas Health System, REVIVE meets a significant community need and is addressing the major issue within the shared community through holistic approaches. The development of REVIVE is also a response to the Wyandotte County Community Health Improvement Plan strategy.

“Unfortunately, young people in Wyandotte County are lost to violence at a much greater rate than their counterparts in other parts of the country,” Winfield said. “As trauma surgeons, my faculty group knows that the only way to prevent the devastation of injury is to prevent it in the first place, and these early interventions are critical to preventing interpersonal violence and the injuries that result.”

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Contact: Mike Krings, KU News Service, 785-864-8860, [email protected], @MikeKrings
Study examines what makes people susceptible to fake health news

LAWRENCE — A new study from University of Kansas journalism & mass communication researchers examines what influences people to be susceptible to false information about health and argues big tech companies have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of misleading and dangerous information.

Researchers shared a fake news story with more than 750 participants that claimed a deficiency of vitamin B17 could cause cancer. Researchers then measured if how the article was presented — including author credentials, writing style and whether the article was labeled as “suspicious” or “unverified” — affected how participants perceived its credibility and whether they would adhere to the article’s recommendations or share it on social media. The findings showed that information presentation did not influence how people perceived it and that only social media efficacy played a role in whether respondents said they would share it.

Hong Tien Vu, assistant professor of journalism & mass communications, and Yvonnes Chen, associate professor of journalism & mass communications at KU, co-wrote the study. They will present their work, funded by a KU General Research Fund grant, at the 2021 International Communication Association Conference.

Vu and Chen shared eight versions of an article verified as false with respondents that claimed a lack of vitamin B17, which does not exist, could be a cause of cancer. In one version, it included a doctor’s byline, including a short description of her medical credentials. In another version, the author was described as a mother of two with a background in creative writing who was a lifestyle blogger in another. Some versions followed a journalistic style, while others used more casual language.

“We wanted to test two skills that are often employed in media literacy training programs around the world, author credentials and writing style, as well as flagging,” Vu said. “The results suggest relying on audience members to do the work to determine fake news may be a long way to go. When people have to evaluate the credibility of information, it requires mental work. When surfing the web in general, we tend to rely on big tech companies to verify information.”

Respondents who showed higher levels of social media efficacy, or were more savvy in using the technology, evaluated information more carefully and reported they would be less likely to share the article. Health orientation, or whether or not respondents were interested in or sought out health information, did not play a role in discerning accuracy of information. It is significant, however, as those highly interested in health information are more likely to share news they find, whether credible or not, the authors said.

Results showed that author credentials and how the story was written did not have significant differences on how people perceived its credibility, whether they would adhere to its recommendations or share it. However, those who saw the article presented with any sort of flagging stating it was not verified information were significantly less likely to find it credible, adhere to recommendations or share it.

While the study took place before the COVID-19 pandemic, its findings are especially relevant, as misinformation and politicized information about the pandemic have proliferated. It shows seemingly innocuous misinformation can be dangerous as well.

“One problem with fake news studies is the topic becomes so politicized,” Vu said. “Fake news can be about something that is not politicized or polarizing as well. Talking about vitamin B17 seems to be harmless, but people believed it. People can spend time, money and efforts on trying to find a cure, and that can be very dangerous if you don’t follow a doctor’s advice and come across false information.”

The fact that any sort of flagging information significantly affected readers’ perceptions and intentions to share show how important it is for big technology companies such as social media platforms to verify information or label content that has false, unverified or dangerous information, the authors wrote.

“Whenever we see information that has been flagged, we immediately raise our skepticism, even if we don’t agree with it. Big tech companies have a very important role to play in ensuring a healthy, clean information environment,” Vu said.

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Contact: Rick Hellman, KU News Service, 785-864-8852, [email protected], @RickHellman
From fishface to river air: Brassword music method promotes fluidity

LAWRENCE – For Scott Watson, a phrase once spoken by the late tuba master Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unlocked something in his mind and in his playing of the brass instrument.

Now the University of Kansas professor of music has tried to capture that magical mind-body linkage in his own new book for music educators who teach students of brass instruments.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the slogan that, when doing carpentry, you should measure twice and cut once. That is a holophrastic slogan,” Watson said. “It’s a phrase or a word that is chock-full of meaning, one that leads you to a specific action. I had heard one of these, in terms of music, by the famed player and pedagogue on my instrument, the tuba, Arnold Jacobs. My teachers used to quote Mr. Jacobs all the time when he would say, ‘Blow from the lips.’ And for a brass player, that is such a genius proposition, because in one little phrase Arnold Jacobs combined breathing technique and lip function — what we call an embouchure in brass playing, how you form your face to play a brass instrument — into a single thought.

“By saying that, and following same, what you’re doing is putting your air where it’s needed, which is the lips, so that they vibrate. And I found as a student that it made me play better, and when I write that on the music of my students, they play better.

“I was inspired by that particular one. I said to myself, ‘I think there’s something here about things that are simple like this kind of phrase, where it tells the student what to do without having to think about it.’ So this book was inspired by that one holophrastic phrase.”

Watson is referring to his new book, “Brassword: A Holophrastic Method for Teaching Young Brass Students.” It’s a state-of-the art manual for music educators, complete with links to demonstration videos and a related website that Watson established to accompany the book, published in 2020.

It was a project to work on, Watson said, when COVID-19 precautions shut down music performances last year.

“I had my own phrases that I had created through decades of teaching my own students,” Watson said, “so I already knew that those work. I decided to complete the process by coming up with holophrastic slogans for all the main aspects of playing a brass instrument, with the target audience being music educators who use this approach and those phrases with their students.”

“Fishface,” the name of Watson’s publishing company, is one of those holophrastic phrases.

“That is one that I’ve used with my students to talk about how to form your face, your embouchure, because you can talk about it — and I can certainly do that, as I do in my pedagogy classes — the five or six things that are the characteristics of the embouchure,” Watson said. “But when you’re playing a brass instrument, you can’t be thinking about five or six things at the same time. You just need to be hearing the music in your head and playing the instrument on autopilot. So what I tell them is fishface, a big, ugly carp, which gives you all the characteristics of a proper embouchure, like the corners being firm. So, all my KU students past and present are very aware of the fishface. I’ve been using that since the early 1980s.”

Some of the other conceptual phrases Watson employs in the book include “distant Darth Vader breath,” “laser air,” “fog-the-mirror air,” “big river air” and “the tongue slices the air.”

“In this method you will find no fingering charts or hand-position photos, and very little instrument-specific references,” Watson wrote. “The focus of this text is on what vital techniques and concepts of brass playing to teach. This method is specifically intended to be used in conjunction with current band methods and instrument-specific materials you already use in your teaching.”

Realistically, Watson said, his book will be most useful for high school band teachers.

“It’s the idea that, by the time they get into high school, students will have enough habits and enough conditioned responses through this method that they can have what are known as autotelic experiences,” Watson said. “That’s getting yourself lost into what you’re doing, like someone who’s painting or putting together a model, and they just totally lose awareness of time and place. That’s when musicians play the best, when they can really immerse themselves into the music. But to do that, you have to have a lot of major aspects of playing on autopilot, and this method is intended to get them there quicker and better.”

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