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A Tailored Approach to Promoting Engagement in Public Health

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44NR016908-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44NR016908
Amount: $1,300,769.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 600
Solicitation Number: PA16-302
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-07-31
Small Business Information
102 W 38TH ST RM 500
New York, NY 10018-3632
United States
DUNS: 111850900
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 (212) 274-1654
Business Contact
Phone: (212) 274-1654
Research Institution

Successfully reaching and enrolling fully representative target populations in public health interventions is a
highly desired, but notoriously difficult, prospect, especially when an initiative is focused on socially charged
issues or health conditions that affect vulnerable subgroups. For example, HIV/AIDS has disproportionately
high morbidity among a number of minority/marginalized populations, and faces a stigma that further
complicates recruitment efforts. The commercial sector, on the other hand, faces similar challenges for
engaging diverse audiences, but has achieved highly notable successes in its marketing and advertising
efforts. Brands and companies have effectively utilized a number of innovative approaches to increase
operational efficiency, measure campaign effectiveness, and capture relevant data to pinpoint specific
consumer behavior. A comparable approach, tailored to meet the idiosyncratic needs of the public health
enterprise, would offer significant improvement to its ability to engage with intended audiences. Those proven
methods, however, entail significant capital and dedicated personnel that are not typically available to the
majority of public health organizations. Thus, there is a pronounced yet unmet need for more scalable toolsets
that can improve outreach and engagement of target populations.
In order to address these challenges, this project seeks to increase representative enrollment through
customized outreach analyses and informed tailoring of recruitment and engagement strategies. The proposed
web-based system will enable researchers to conduct typology stratification of participant groups based on
demographic, psychographic, and other pertinent characteristics, and will provide a platform for iterative
improvement toward encouraging desired enrollee behavior in real-time. This targeted approach holds the
promise to enhance participant engagement in public health interventions, and will be tested in the context of
facilitating enrollment in an eHealth study targeting HIV+ men who have sex with men (MSM).PROJECT NARRATIVE
Outreach campaigns that are tailored to recipient characteristics has proven highly impactful in engaging target
populations. When executed sufficiently, they can facilitate greater representativeness in public health
research studies and programs. However, the process of developing and validating targeted campaigns is both
time- and resource-intensive; the limited availability of funding and manpower within the public health
environment necessitates more affordable tools that are highly automated and scalable. Successful
development and dissemination of such tools, as exemplified in the envisioned Strata system, can
meaningfully contribute to greater inclusiveness, reduced selection and volunteer biases, higher
generalizability, and better population health outcomes.

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

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