Smoking is still the number one preventable cause of cancer death. New approaches are needed to engage smokers in the 21st century in smoking cessation. I propose to develop S4S (Smokers for Smoker), a next- generation patient-centered computer tailored health communication (CTHC) system. Unlike current rule- based CTHCs, S4S will replace rules with complex machine learning algorithms, and use the collective experiences of thousands of smokers engaged in a web-assisted tobacco intervention to enhance personally- relevant tailoring for new smokers entering the system. This NCI K07 will provide a mentored research experience, giving me the opportunity to acquire new competencies in cancer health communication for behavior change, research design and statistical methods underlying clinical trial implementation and evaluation. I will adapt collectiv intelligence algorithms that have been used outside healthcare by companies like Amazon and Google to enhance CTHC. Using knowledge from scientific experts, current CTHC collect baseline patient profiles and then use expert-written, rule-based systems to tailor messages to patient subsets. Such theory-based market segmentation has been effective in helping patients reach lifestyle goals. However, there is a natural limit in the ability of a rule-based system to truly personalize content, and adapt personalization over time. Current CTHC have reached this limit, and I propose to go beyond.
My first aim i s to develop the Web 2.0 S4S recommender system.
My second aim i s to evaluate S4S within the context of a NCI funded web-assisted tobacco intervention ( In my efforts, I will guided by my primary mentor (Dr. Houston, MD MPH) and two other mentor teams: The Cancer Health Behavior and Communication Team (Stephenie Lemon, PhD and Kathleen Mazor, EdD), and the Clinical Trial Design and Analysis Team (Jeroan Allison, MD, MS and Arlene Ash, PhD). My comprehensive training also includes coursework, seminars, and conferences.

Public Health Relevance

A high priority research area identified by the NIH is to understand the role of different media in increasing consumer demand for and use of effective, individually oriented tobacco cessation treatments for diverse populations. Specifically, a research focus is on understanding how to best tailor interventions. Although effective, there is a natural limit in the ability of current rle-based tailoring systems to truly personalize content, and adapt personalization over time. This NCI K07 will advance computer tailoring by adapting machine learning collective intelligence algorithms that have been used outside healthcare by companies like Amazon and Google to enhance the personal relevance of the health communication.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Other Health Professions
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Jake-Schoffman, Danielle E; Silfee, Valerie J; Waring, Molly E et al. (2017) Methods for Evaluating the Content, Usability, and Efficacy of Commercial Mobile Health Apps. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 5:e190
Sadasivam, Rajani S; Cutrona, Sarah L; Luger, Tana M et al. (2017) Share2Quit: Online Social Network Peer Marketing of Tobacco Cessation Systems. Nicotine Tob Res 19:314-323
Sadasivam, Rajani Shankar; Cutrona, Sarah L; Kinney, Rebecca L et al. (2016) Collective-Intelligence Recommender Systems: Advancing Computer Tailoring for Health Behavior Change Into the 21st Century. J Med Internet Res 18:e42
Cutrona, Sarah L; Sadasivam, Rajani S; DeLaughter, Kathryn et al. (2016) Online tobacco websites and online communities-who uses them and do users quit smoking? The quit-primo and national dental practice-based research network Hi-Quit studies. Transl Behav Med 6:546-557
Cutrona, Sarah L; Mazor, Kathleen M; Agunwamba, Amenah A et al. (2016) Health Information Brokers in the General Population: An Analysis of the Health Information National Trends Survey 2013-2014. J Med Internet Res 18:e123
DeLaughter, Kathryn L; Sadasivam, Rajani S; Kamberi, Ariana et al. (2016) Crave-Out: A Distraction/Motivation Mobile Game to Assist in Smoking Cessation. JMIR Serious Games 4:e3
Sadasivam, Rajani Shankar; Borglund, Erin M; Adams, Roy et al. (2016) Impact of a Collective Intelligence Tailored Messaging System on Smoking Cessation: The Perspect Randomized Experiment. J Med Internet Res 18:e285
English, Thomas M; Kinney, Rebecca L; Davis, Michael J et al. (2015) Identification of Relationships Between Patients Through Elements in a Data Warehouse Using the Familial, Associational, and Incidental Relationship (FAIR) Initiative: A Pilot Study. JMIR Med Inform 3:e9
Rocheleau, Mary; Sadasivam, Rajani Shankar; Baquis, Kate et al. (2015) An observational study of social and emotional support in smoking cessation Twitter accounts: content analysis of tweets. J Med Internet Res 17:e18
Houston, Thomas K; Sadasivam, Rajani S; Allison, Jeroan J et al. (2015) Evaluating the QUIT-PRIMO clinical practice ePortal to increase smoker engagement with online cessation interventions: a national hybrid type 2 implementation study. Implement Sci 10:154

Showing the most recent 10 out of 21 publications