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Stewart Chang Alexander

Dr. Chang Alexander is an Associate Professor in the Department of Consumer Science and is currently a Faculty Scholar.

Dr. Chang Alexander’s research focuses on ways to improve how providers and patients talk, in order to enhance understanding of illness, improve health outcomes, and the promotion of effective changes in health behavior. His work concentrates on two predominant areas of communication in health care: preventive health and the management of advanced illness.

In Preventive Health, Dr. Chang Alexander’s work has focused on obesity and adolescent sexuality. For obesity counseling, Dr. Chang Alexander examines and evaluates the quality of physician counseling about behavior change and weight loss.  His work focuses on both adult and adolescent obesity. Dr. Chang Alexander’s work in Preventive Health also focuses on how physicians talk to their adolescent patients about sexual identity, sexuality, and sexual behavior. His work in adolescent sexuality is among the first to examine how physicians are talking with their adolescent patients about sex.  Currently, Dr. Chang Alexander is working on projects related to better understand the healthcare needs of LGBT adolescents as well as developing ways to identify and teach providers how to help all adolescents, regardless of their sexual identity, with issues related to sexuality and sexual identity.

Along with Dr. Chang Alexander’s work in Preventive Health, much of his work has been in end of life care and oncology. He has worked on a number of studies where he has assessed discussions of specific topics common with seriously ill patients, such as, conveying prognosis, deciding on treatment options, delivering bad news, engaging in decision making, exchanging information, discussing preferences for life sustaining treatments, and explaining transitions to palliative care. In addition, Dr. Chang Alexander has examined how patients express their fears, anxiety, sadness, frustration, and anger with their providers. Many of these studies were the first to measure communication designed specifically for discussions of treatment in hematological malignancies, elicitation of patient preferences for life sustaining treatment, delivery of bad news and transitions to palliative care, and discussions concerning informed consent for pediatric Phase 1 trials.