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Crossroads: A Game of Choices: Computer-Based Intervention for Rural Youth Impacted by Substance Abuse

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2018-33610-28593
Agency Tracking Number: 2018-03198
Amount: $599,187.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.6
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-08-31
Small Business Information
2111 7TH ST #8
Santa Monica, CA 90405-1279
United States
DUNS: 801258315
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 AnnMaria De Mars
 (310) 717-9089
Business Contact
 AnnMaria De Mars
Title: President
Phone: (310) 717-9089
Research Institution

Alcohol and drug use is epidemic in rural America, as geographic barriers impede contact between youth and service providers, there is a shortage of mental health professionals and low literacy precludes extensive written assessment and education.Drawing on research from substance abuse prevention and treatment, effective game design and adaptation of software for rural conditions, Crossroads develops and evaluates a mobile game to augment mental health services to youth in rural communities. The game engages high-risk youth, teaches and models healthy decision-making. Counselors receive screening test results and user responses to incorporate in services offered to game users. Users access Crossroads on devices they are comfortable using, remotely and at their convenience.By successfully meeting Phase I objectives, The Julia Group established the necessary foundation to bring to commercialization a product that addresses the needs of drug-endangered rural youth. Phase II expands our prototype with development of 12 commercial-quality game levels, addition of augmented reality features, creation of text, audio and video components for input to maximize youth engagement. The project has expanded to include five sites across two reservations and two regional centers in rural counties, adding as partners an in-patient treatment program, vocational rehabilitation program, school district and a university where we will conduct a multi-method usability analysis followed by an impact assessment.Games will be sold at $15 per user, a fraction of the cost of therapy. Long-term commercialization plans are three-pronged: expansion to more reservations communities; to other areas of risk and outside of tribal communities.

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

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