Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member is funded to develop an interactive computer system


TO THE POINT: Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member is funded to develop an interactive computer system that delivers video vignettes aimed at reducing HIV sexual risk in young urban women.

NEWARK, N.J. The National Library of Medicine awarded a Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member, Rachel Jones, and her team a three-year $398,000 grant to develop an interactive computerized decision support system (DSS) that delivers relevant video vignettes in an effort to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior among women in urban communities.

Jones, assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will work with Nabil Adam, professor of computer and information systems at Rutgers Business School and founding director of Rutgers Center for Information Management, Integration and Connectivity (CIMIC), and Vijay Atluri, associate professor of computer information systems at CIMIC, on this project.

"The content for the DSS will be based on the state of the science and the wisdom shared by young women and men in focus groups held throughout Newark and Jersey City. CIMIC will program and develop the prototype," said Jones. "We will evaluate the computerized decision support system on hand-held, laptop, and desktop computers to determine which format is preferred by young urban women. Together we will develop an innovative approach to deliver culturally relevant HIV health promotion messages in a medium that has not previously been fully explored."

Participants will be using a computer where they can read each question on a computer screen, simultaneously hear the question via a headset, and then respond by pressing a keypad. Feedback that is tailored to the participant's pattern of risk behaviors will be immediately provided in culturally relevant video vignettes that deliver health promotion messages to promote safer sexual practices, according to Jones.

"HIV/AIDS among urban women is one of the most pressing public health problems in Newark, Jersey City and the surrounding communities," Jones said. "Over 68 percent of HIV infections in urban women are heterosexually transmitted. This is a preventable disease and the computer prototype to deliver video vignettes is an innovative approach to promote change in women's HIV risk behaviors."

The National Library of Medicine grant follows a two-year $155,500 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health which Jones received earlier this year. That grant allowed Jones to conduct several focus groups with men and women and develop a series of digital video vignettes concerning trust, sexual pressure and high-risk sexual behavior. Researchers will create storyboards and produce 20 video vignettes performed by actors that will include people in the community and Rutgers students.

"We are developing a computerized interactive system," said Jones. "By using a computer, urban women will be able to self-assess their HIV risk depending on their behavior. Participants will see a video tailored to their relationship pattern."

Jones said the prototype should be ready for testing by the end of this year.

From its headquarters at Rutgers Newark, Rutgers College of Nursing offers a broad range of academic programs on all three Rutgers campuses. The college offers a master's program with unique practitioner specialties and the only doctoral (Ph.D) nursing degree in New Jersey.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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