The promise of mobile technologies in fostering health-behavior change (mHealth), particularly in behavioral and substance addictions, has been largely unrealized. Siloed development of mHealth solutions, an absence of shared vocabulary and a dearth of cross-disciplinary interactions are some of the underlying drivers. Version 2.0 of our annual mHealth Training Institute (mHTI) will refine and extend our capacity-building and knowledge transfer activities. Beyond inculcating shared knowledge and cross-cutting skills in behavioral change approaches and mHealth methodologies, our key objectives are to provide the mHTI scholars with team-science learning opportunities that promote transdisciplinary competencies and collaborations. Distinctive elements of the mHTI 2.0 include: 1) a blended learning approach that integrates e-learning and group lectures with team-based projects where disparate researchers, guided by experienced faculty mentors, co-create mHealth solutions for common problems; (2) a logic model that anchors program design, implementation, evaluation and iterative refinement; (3) testing of short and long-term effectiveness and impact through an articulated ?Theory of Action? that connects the mHTI components (proposed activities) with indicators of implementation (outputs), and the intended effects (program outcome objectives); (4) social-network analyses to study how successful transdisciplinary networks develop and evolve among the mHTI scholars; and (5) independent assessments of the mHTI program by the UCLA Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). Our ?transdisciplinary mHealth incubator? will continue to derive from the contributions of an group of mHTI faculty with extensive training priors and a deep commitment to educating the next generation of diverse mHealth scientists. It will capitalize on UCLA?s culture of innovation for societal good, backing from campus leadership, and mature physical infrastructure and logistical systems to support knowledge transfer. Synergistic partnerships with the NIH-Mobile Data to Knowledge (MD2K) Center and Northwestern?s CTSA Team Science program will amplify the mHTI?s educational efforts. Enabling mHTI scholars with the MD2K?s ePlatform and digital tools will lower entry barriers to high quality mHealth research. Our virtual collaboratory (mHealthHUB) will facilitate and sustain transdisciplinary collaborations between the geographically-dispersed scholars. Furthermore, the mHealthHUB will serve as a low-cost ?one-stop? digital portal for disseminating mHTI content and MD2K tools broadly to the mHealth community and thus, promote long-term educational sustainability. Finally, the didactic resources of the mHTI will be curated into content clusters to serve as a toolkit for scholars desirous of delivering similar mHealth and team science training at their home institutions (Train-the-Trainer). By priming the mHealth innovation pipeline with a diverse cadre of self-actualizing, integrative scientists with transdisciplinary competencies and mindsets, mHTI 2.0 will ensure that the fields of behavioral health and addictive disorders are better positioned to realize the transformative potential of mHealth.

Public Health Relevance

To address the growing need for mHealth scientists who can integrate diverse scientific approaches and work in transdisciplinary teams, the UCLA mHealth Institutes will provide an innovative training program that will offer the didactic and team science experiences essential for solving complex behavioral health problems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Aklin, Will
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University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Dentistry/Oral Hygn
Los Angeles
United States
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