The proposed project is designed to develop and test the feasibility of an innovative, individualized intervention to increase blood donation rates among African Americans. Red blood cell transfusions are used to treat and to prevent some of the complications of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). However, as a result of multiple transfusions, a high proportion of SCD patients become immunized against blood group antigens. As blood group antigens are more common within racial groups, a demand exists for blood products specifically from African American donors to treat patients with SCD. A variety of efforts to increase blood donation have been developed, but few have had strong theoretical bases or have been empirically evaluated. The primary specific aim of this study is to develop and examine the feasibility of an individually tailored intervention based on the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change to increase the blood donation rate among African Americans. The TTM is an empirically validated theory that incorporates a person's readiness to make a decision or change a behavior. To achieve this aim, TTM-based measures for increasing blood donation will first be developed and refined with 150 African Americans in the New York City. These measurement data will then provide the norms for the development of an expert system intervention to increase blood donation. The expert system intervention will provide normative (and subsequently ipsative) feedback via reports delivered to study participants complemented by a stage-matched self-help brochure for blood donation. Focus groups will be used to assess the content, format and quality of the intervention materials. Once developed, fifty African Americans in New York City will participate in a feasibility study for new expert system intervention for blood donation providing both quantitative and qualitative assessments. Refinements to the expert system will then be made. Once developed, feasibility tested and refined, the efficacy of the TTM blood donation intervention on increasing blood donation rates in African Americans in NYCMA can be evaluated in a future randomized trial. This theory-based intervention can have significant implications for the efforts to increase blood donation among African Americans, which in turn impact the lives of SCD patients. Public Health Relevance: This project will address the issue of limited inventories of antigen-matched blood for transfusion for SCD patients by developing a theory-driven tailored expert system intervention to increase the low blood donation rate among African Americans. While development and feasibility testing of the intervention proposed here will be targeted and focused on African Americans in the context of sickle cell disease, our experience strongly suggests that this methodology can easily be adapted to other populations to address the larger blood shortage issue.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section (PRDP)
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Werner, Ellen
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University of Rhode Island
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Robbins, Mark L; Paiva, Andrea L; Amoyal, Nicole R et al. (2015) Acceptability and feasibility of a culturally tailored Internet-delivered intervention to promote blood donation in Blacks. Health Promot Pract 16:227-35
Amoyal, Nicole R; Robbins, Mark L; Paiva, Andrea L et al. (2013) Measuring the processes of change for increasing blood donation in black adults. Transfusion 53:1280-90