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C.A.R.E.S.: A Mobile Health Program for Alcohol Risk Reduction for an Under-Served College Population

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R42AA026788-02
Agency Tracking Number: R42AA026788
Amount: $902,410.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 550
Solicitation Number: PA17-303
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-07-31
Small Business Information
Washington, DC 20002-4521
United States
DUNS: 825278448
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (202) 222-8105
Business Contact
Phone: (202) 222-8105
Research Institution
PROVIDENCE, RI 02906-2853
United States

 Domestic nonprofit research organization

Excessive alcohol use is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. with young adults ages
18-29 showing the highest rates of hazardous alcohol use. Community colleges serve over 12 million students,
comprising 45% of all U.S. college students. Community college students (CCS) show rates of heavy alcohol
use similar to students at traditional four-year residential (FYR) colleges, but CCS are at higher risk for
negative consequences of heavy drinking, including physical and sexual assault, fatal injuries, and driving
under the influence. Despite the large number of CCS and their level of risk, alcohol interventions for young
adults have focused almost exclusively on students at FYR colleges. CCS differ from those at FYR colleges in
several ways; CCS are more likely to have multiple roles and responsibilities (e.g., employment), drive more
(to/from campus), live with family, and socialize off campus, and thus require intervention approaches tailored
to their life circumstances. Community colleges are less likely to offer health services than FYR institutions and
typically lack resources needed to implement alcohol interventions that are recommended for traditional
college students, such as in-person motivational counseling. Approaches that can deliver effective alcohol
harm reduction messages to CCS using a modality that is flexible, accessible, and tailored to their specific
needs are urgently needed.
This proposed FastTrack STTR (PAR-17-303) builds on our successful pilot in which we developed a text
message (TxM)-delivered alcohol intervention for, and in collaboration with CCS. In Phase I, we will develop
and iteratively test a smartphone application (app) incorporating our TxM program with additional features and
functionality requested by students in our pilot trial (Aim 1.1). After obtaining user feedback (Aim 1.2) we will
complete programming in both iOS and Android languages (Aim 1.3). To ensure that the College Alcohol Risk
Education System (CARES) is well positioned to get into the community college marketplace, it is critical to
demonstrate efficacy. Therefore, in Phase II, we will conduct an efficacy trial (Aim 2.1) of CARES compared to
a competing alcohol education program that would be feasible for most community colleges to adopt, thus
providing a real-world comparison with data suitable to support our efforts in future commercialization. We also
seek to identify the types of individuals for whom CARES is more/less effective (Aim 2.2), and identify how it
might be improved (Aim 2.3).
With an increasing number of states making community college free to state residents, demand for
services is likely to increase rapidly in coming years. With over 1,400 community college systems across the
U.S., this seems an opportune moment to be targeting this market for health promotion products such as the
CARES app.While heavy alcohol use is a significant health problem for community college students, who
comprise nearly 45% of all college students nationwide, alcohol programs currently marketed to
colleges rely on resources that are typically not available on community college campuses. This
project will develop and test a smartphone app to provide an alcohol risk reduction program
designed for, and in collaboration with, community college students. An effective evidence-based
intervention tailored to the needs of this population could have a major impact on the
health of millions of Americans who are at high risk from the consequences of heavy drinking.

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

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