What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
I am a psychologist committed to improving the well-being of the underserved. In particular, I would like to contribute to eradicating HIV. Effective prevention programs have been developed to address this epidemic, but they have had very limited dissemination or impact. This, in large part, is due to the fact that the programs are difficult and resource intensive to implement, require highly trained staff, and are not easily accessible by the underserved. Consequently, I’ve been very interested in developing programs that can be easily disseminated, don’t require intensive training, and can be easily accessed by those that need it. I have also examined how people communicate with each other and how they get information in today’s society. Finally, in my therapeutic work with underserved adolescents, I observed that although they had various struggles to contend with in their lives, such as poverty and violence, most had video games and frequently used technology. Therefore, it was clear that technology was an underutilized strategy that had the potential to make a huge impact in bringing prevention to the underserved. I have spent the last 7 years using my experience and training to develop accessible and relevant programs that help people change behavior and improve their well being.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material
I am counseling psychologist who conducts behavioral research at UCLA. My specialization is in the areas of adolescents, intervention, and prevention. I have conducted with underserved adults, couples, and families infected/affected by HIV. I am particularly interested in developing cost-effective programs that are easily translatable to community settings, that are cutting-edge and likely to successfully engage these populations to increase mental health functioning and well-being.
How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)
I heard about this contest through a friend and an RWJ email. My friend knew of the work I was doing and thought this would be a good fit. My main incentive to participate is the potential for increasing visibility to my work and the work of ehealth applications. I, as a psychologist, don’t develop programs so that they can sit on a shelf somewhere. I want my work to have utility and contribute to humankind. I think my work supports the effectiveness of ehealth programs and the need for investment in the development of more ehealth applications. These programs are not only fun, they can actually help people in a cost-effective way. I think my work supports this assertion and their success may open the doors for continued investment in this area.