Advanced Methodology and Statistics Seminars (AMASS)

Designed to enhance researchers’ abilities, there are generally two seminars offered on Thursday or during the course of the convention. They are 4 hours long and limited to 40 attendees. Participants in these courses can earn 4 continuing education credits per seminar.


Thursday, November 16 | 1:00PM – 4:00PM

#2: The ORBIT Model for Developing and Testing Health-Related Behavioral Interventions


Thursday, November 16 | 1:00 PM– 4:00 PM

Presented by:

Kenneth E. Freedland, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Lynda H. Powell, Ph.D., Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush University Medical College

Sylvie Naar, Ph.D., Director, Center for Translational Behavioral Research, Florida State University

Participants earn 4 continuing education credits.



Adult-Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine, Child/Adolescent-Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine, Research Methods and Statistics, Translational Treatment/ Program Design


Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Methods, Translational Research

Basic to moderate level of familiarity with the material.


This AMASS will introduce the ORBIT model, a multiphase translational research framework for developing and testing behavioral interventions for chronic diseases.

ORBIT was created by an NIH-sponsored consortium and is used in many areas of behavioral intervention research. Following this model helps to increase the scientific rigor and clinical impact of behavioral intervention research programs.

The seminar will start with an overview of the defining features and methods of each phase of the model, and a brief comparison of ORBIT with other contemporary models such as the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) and the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) framework.

The other presentations will focus on the development and refinement of complex behavioral interventions in Phase I, proof-of-concept studies and pilot trials in Phase II, and randomized controlled trials in Phases II-IV. The speakers will highlight examples of successful grant applications and publications that have used the ORBIT model, and they will provide advice for maximizing success in grant submissions and publications that are based on this model.

Participants will be asked to submit some information about their own behavioral intervention research, along with questions about how to use the ORBIT model in their own work.


At the end of this session, the learner will be able to:
  1. Describe the four phases of the ORBIT model.
  2. Explain the core principle of “starting with the end in mind.”
  3. Identify appropriate study designs for each subphase of the model.
  4. Decide when to move forward or backward within the ORBIT model or to move laterally to a different intervention research model.
  5. Position the participant’s own studies within the ORBIT model.
  1. Overview of the ORBIT model and comparison with other frameworks.
  2. Phase I research to define and refine behavioral interventions.
  3. Phase IIa proof-of-concept studies to evaluate plausibility of benefit.
  4. Phase IIb feasibility studies and pilot trials to prepare for RCT proposals.
  5. Randomized controlled trials in Phases II-IV.
  6. Using the ORBIT model to guide your own research program.


Recommended Readings:

Czajkowski SM, Hunter CM. From ideas to interventions: A review and comparison of frameworks used in early phase behavioral translation research. Health Psychol. 2021;40(12):829-844. doi: 10.1037/hea0001095.

Czajkowski SM, Powell LH, Adler N, Naar-King S, Reynolds KD, Hunter CM, Laraia B, Olster DH, Perna FM, Peterson JC, Epel E, Boyington JE, Charlson ME. From ideas to efficacy: The ORBIT model for developing behavioral treatments for chronic diseases. Health Psychol. 2015;34(10):971-982. doi: 10.1037/hea0000161.

Freedland KE. Pilot trials in health-related behavioral intervention research: Problems, solutions, and recommendations. Health Psychol. 2020;39(10):851-862. doi: 10.1037/hea0000946.

Powell LH, Appelhans BM, Ventrelle J, Karavolos K, March ML, Ong JC, Fitzpatrick SL, Normand P, Dawar R, Kazlauskaite R. Development of a lifestyle intervention for the metabolic syndrome: Discovery through proof-of-concept. Health Psychol. 2018;37(10):929-939. doi: 10.1037/hea0000665.

Powell LH, Freedland KE, Kaufmann PG. (2021)  Behavioral Clinical Trials for Chronic Diseases: Scientific Foundations Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

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