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Empowering Individuals and Communities



This subtopic aims to support health communications and informatics innovations that focus on reducing disparities and increasing patient literacy and adherence in the healthcare continuum from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment and survivorship. Proposed projects must, without exception, be informed by socio-economic and behavioral principles underlying current disparities in patient participation in healthcare and wellness. Specifically, proposed projects must employ the theories, methods, and analytic techniques of the social, behavioral, economic, and learning sciences in order to commercialize products and services that address the barriers that hinder, and the factors that enhance, our ability to broaden access of individuals and communities to healthcare in the United States.


This subtopic strongly encourages multidisciplinary projects that will develop new quantitative and predictive approaches to empowering patients to participate in their own health and treatment such as custom-educating, accessing and visualizing health data and knowledge; assisting people to participate in their own health treatment by limiting the impact of socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity or education. Successful projects will develop technology solutions to challenges in the management of underserved public health conditions; organizational and service system deficiencies encountered by community healthcare providers; lack of effectiveness in rehabilitation strategies and programs for socio-culturally diverse individuals who have widely varying goals, material and social resources and clinical needs. Non-limiting examples of applications are: chronic disease, mental disease, cognitive and behavioral intervention drawing on a lineage of psychological therapy, domestic violence, substance abuse, or community reintegration for people with psychiatric disabilities. Finally, this subtopic strongly encourages projects that develop novel culture-sensitive, user-tailored and context-aware human-computer interfaces for a variety of tasks including patient, family and caregiver access to electronic health records (EHRs) and personal health records (PHRs).

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