Mobile personal sensing (MPS) is the assessment of real-time data in situ through a mobile phone. MPS is poised to revolutionize the ability to both assess and self-monitor HIV-transmission risk behaviors. The proposed five-year career award will provide W. Scott Comulada, Dr.P.H., a statistician working in the field of HIV prevention, with protected time and the methodological expertise in MPS to inform the design of MPS- based HIV interventions. During the proposed career award, he will develop innovative methods to integrate information from three data types related to HIV transmission risk over time: social network, diary, and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) location trace data. Three years ago, Dr. Comulada received a doctoral degree in Biostatisics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently the Associate Director of the Methods Core for the Center for HIV, Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS). Dr. Comulada's academic training and recent career path have focused on the development of statistical methodology that will further HIV research. MPS is moving HIV research away from traditional research methods that Dr. Comulada has expertise in. It is critical at this stage in his career that Dr. Comulada be afforded the time and training opportunities needed to become an independent investigator who is at the forefront of methodological development in HIV research. His training will focus on quantitative methods specific to social network and MPS data, the ethical conduct of research, and will build general skills for an academic career. The training plan includes structured coursework and mentoring by a group of experts in social networks, MPS, and HIV intervention design.
The aims of the research are to: 1) Expand on established social network statistical models to handle assessment of real-time data in a MPS environment;2) Develop models to predict behavioral outcomes using previous measurements of the outcome and previous / concurrently measured diary data and GPS location traces;and 3) Expand model from 2) to incorporate social network characteristics as a predictor of behavioral outcomes. A key component of the research will involve designing self-monitoring algorithms that will be based on his proposed statistical models and programmed into a mobile phone. For example, a mobile phone user could be alerted when they are in close proximity to a physical location that may lead to unwanted behavior, such as a bar. The mobile phone self-monitoring application will be pilot tested on persons living with HIV in Los Angeles County, California. Methodology developed from this study will be used by the applicant to inform the design of a MPS-based HIV intervention trial that will be developed in a subsequent R01 application.

Public Health Relevance

Mobile personal sensing (MPS), i.e. real-time data assessment on a mobile phone, will revolutionize intervention delivery in the behavioral and biomedical sciences. With increasing wide-spread use of more advanced mobile phones, intervention delivery will be more cost effective and offer more treatment options than current delivery methods. Prior to implementation of MPS, new quantitative methods must be developed, such as methods that will be developed during the proposed K01.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSCH)
Program Officer
Stoff, David M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
Swendeman, Dallas; Comulada, Warren Scott; Koussa, Maryann et al. (2018) Longitudinal Validity and Reliability of Brief Smartphone Self-Monitoring of Diet, Stress, and Physical Activity in a Diverse Sample of Mothers. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 6:e176
Comulada, W Scott; Swendeman, Dallas; Koussa, Maryann K et al. (2018) Adherence to self-monitoring healthy lifestyle behaviours through mobile phone-based ecological momentary assessments and photographic food records over 6 months in mostly ethnic minority mothers. Public Health Nutr 21:679-688
Farmer, Shu; Mindry, Deborah; Comulada, W Scott et al. (2017) Mobile Phone Ecological Momentary Assessment of Daily Stressors Among People Living With HIV: Elucidating Factors Underlying Health-Related Challenges in Daily Routines. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 28:737-751
Harwood, Jessica M; Weiss, Robert E; Comulada, W Scott (2017) Beyond the Primary Endpoint Paradigm: A Test of Intervention Effect in HIV Behavioral Intervention Trials with Numerous Correlated Outcomes. Prev Sci 18:526-533
Comulada, W Scott; Swendeman, Dallas; Wu, Nancy (2016) Cell phone-based ecological momentary assessment of substance use context for Latino youth in outpatient treatment: Who, what, when and where. Drug Alcohol Depend 167:207-13
Swendeman, Dallas; Ramanathan, Nithya; Baetscher, Laura et al. (2015) Smartphone self-monitoring to support self-management among people living with HIV: perceived benefits and theory of change from a mixed-methods randomized pilot study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 69 Suppl 1:S80-91
Swendeman, Dallas; Comulada, W Scott; Ramanathan, Nithya et al. (2015) Reliability and validity of daily self-monitoring by smartphone application for health-related quality-of-life, antiretroviral adherence, substance use, and sexual behaviors among people living with HIV. AIDS Behav 19:330-40
Comulada, W Scott (2015) Model specification and bootstrapping for multiply imputed data: An application to count models for the frequency of alcohol use. Stata J 15:833-844
Comulada, W Scott; Lightfoot, Marguerita; Swendeman, Dallas et al. (2015) Compliance to Cell Phone-Based EMA Among Latino Youth in Outpatient Treatment. J Ethn Subst Abuse 14:232-50
Comulada, W Scott (2014) Mobile Phone Assessment in Egocentric Networks: A Pilot Study on Gay Men and Their Peers. Connect (Tor) 34:43-51

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications