My Health Coach
Mobile Health Tools for Adults with FASD
- Christie Petrenko, Ph.D.
- Cristiano Tapparello, Ph.D.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) affect the health and development of people across the lifespan. Adults with FASD desire meaningful inclusion in their communities. As with most adults in today’s world, efforts at independence and self-advocacy often mean accessing the internet. Yet online information about FASD is often deficit-focused and stigmatizing. Adults with FASD also experience significant barriers to care. There are very few providers who are knowledgeable about FASD, especially in adulthood. Adults with FASD need reliable and accessible information to inform decision making about their health and well-being. Innovative and scalable solutions are needed.
We are developing a novel mobile health (mHealth) app, currently called “My Health Coach.” This project is being completed in partnership with an advisory board of adult leaders with FASD. The goal of the My Health Coach app is to directly provide adults with FASD with evidence-based education about their condition and tools to promote their own self-management and health advocacy goals.
The My Health Coach app is grounded in self-determination theory and integrates well-established behavior change strategies. It uses a just-in-time adaptive intervention design and a simple and engaging chatbot interface. This will provide adults just the right type and amount of support, when they are most receptive.
We will use a systematic approach to develop and evaluate the My Health Coach app. Focus group and survey methods will be used to obtain feedback from diverse adults to inform the development of the My Health Coach app. We will then conduct a feasibility trial to assess user satisfaction and experiences with the app. The results will inform further refinements of the app and help us plan larger-scale trials.
The My Health Coach app is part of the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD), which has been funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism since 2003. The purpose of this consortium is to inform and develop effective interventions and treatment approaches for FASD, through multidisciplinary research involving basic, behavioral and clinical investigators and projects. You can read more at cifasd.org