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Avatar Assisted Therapy for Probationers and Parolees with Substance Use Disorders

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41MD009540-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R41MD009540
Amount: $149,987.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: PA14-072
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-07-31
Small Business Information
Potomac, MD 20854-3956
United States
DUNS: 078462689
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 (310) 479-9330
Business Contact
Phone: (410) 570-7213
Research Institution
POTOMAC, MD 20854-3956
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Substance use disorders SUDs continue to be one of the most serious public health problems in the US Studies have consistently documented a substantially higher prevalence of SUDs among individuals under criminal justice supervision At year end approximately million adults were under criminal justice supervision in the US of which million in adults were on community supervision e g probation or parole African American probationers and parolees with SUDs are particularly vulnerable to illicit substance use and HIV infection as they typically live in neighborhoods characterized by high rates of joblessness drug use and poverty and they are likely to engage in drug and sex related HIV risk behaviors in the community Technology based interventions for individuals with SUDs have grown significantly in recent years Avatar Assisted Therapy AAT is an emerging technology based intervention that has recently been utilized in a clinic environment and is promising because of its ability to overcome common barriers associated with traditional in person treatment AAT uses the Internet to enable clinicians and clients in substance abuse treatment programs the ability to interact in group sessions from separate and remote locations in real time through the use of avatars digital self representations We propose to develop an AAT platform for probationers parolees with SUDs who are in need of outpatient substance abuse treatment Probationers and parolees many of whom are low income urban African Americans are an important health disparity population that stands to benefit from AAT This research will be conducted in collaboration with Total Health Care THC a federally qualified health center and Marylandandapos s largest minority operated non profit community health center If found effective AAT could be deployed across the national network of outpatient substance abuse treatment providers programs potentially improving SUD treatment access and retention for a very high risk population of probationers parolees with SUDs We envision that AAT will be marketed as a counseling toolkit for substance abuse treatment providers with revenue generated through program wide licensing fees

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE We propose to develop an Avatar Assisted Therapy AAT platform for probationers parolees with substance use disorders SUDs in need of outpatient substance abuse treatment Given the target population of the product it is expected that many end users will be low income urban African Americans a population that continues to be impacted by significant health disparities The proposed technology could ultimately be deployed throughout the national network of outpatient substance abuse treatment providers to enhance quality care and improve patient outcomes

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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