- cardiovascular disease, children & adolescents, chronic disease, drug development & delivery, e-health, health behavior, health policy, mental & behavioral health, overweight & obesity, prevention
Dr. Nicol’s research involves the identification, prevention, and treatment of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk in mentally ill youth and young adults. She is currently in the process of adapting a behavioral weight loss intervention for use on mobile devices. The app will link parents and children as they engage in health behavior changes to reduce weight and prevent obesity. Novel features of the application include a learning feature that tracks location and determines when fast food is going to be consumed, then uses ecological momentary intervention strategies to offer alternatives “in the moment.”
Additionally, Dr. Nicol has served on the Missouri HealthNet (Medicaid) Drug Utilization and Behavioral Pharmacy Messaging Boards since 2009. Her role involves evaluating drug use trends, costs, and effectiveness and then helping create policy that will ensure more effective and cost effective safe prescribing. Dr. Nicol also reviews psychotropic polypharmacy cases for the MO HealthNet Pharmacy Benefits Program, providing a guide for evidence-based prescribing and monitoring to MO HealthNet providers. She has worked with colleagues at MO HealthNet to evaluate prescribing and monitoring claims data to track trends in metabolic testing and monitoring in youth and adults treated with psychotropic medications. These studies have contributed to Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) policy-making efforts to minimize psychotropic polypharmacy and improve monitoring practices.
Dr. Nicol is also a regional representative to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, where she participates in policy-making and advocacy meetings for the national organization. In addition, she heads a public health/advocacy clinical training elective for psychiatry residents and child psychiatry fellows for the department of psychiatry. The rotation involves participating in peer review of prescribing behaviors, evaluation of claims data to track trends in prescribing, and participating in quality management and improvement initiatives.