Project Title: HOPE

Faculty Sponsor: Susan Frazen

Department: Prevention Research Center/School of Public Health, UM-Ann Arbor

Telephone: 810.239.3463


Project Description: The specific aim of this community-based participatory research project is to test a technology enhanced evidenced-based prevention program for sexually transmitted infections including HIV (STI/HIV) among 18-24 year olds. We plan a quasi-experimental design to compare a Peer Education Party (PEP) intervention to PEP plus a technology-based social networking component (PEP+). STI/HIV remains a significant health issue in the nation, Michigan, and our community (Flint/Genesee County). Health disparities in STI/HIV are among the largest for any chronic or infectious diseases where African-Americans are many more time likely to be infected than whites. Our research goals include testing: 1) the efficacy of a technology enhanced evidenced-based peer education program compared to the evidenced based program alone; 2) the effects of the intervention on behavioral and health outcomes in a design that follows young adults over a year post-intervention; and 3) the relationships among network and psychosocial factors as mediators of the effects of the intervention on healthy sexuality.

The project will develop of a web-based resource for  STI/HIV prevention that may be used by other communities and as a model for applications to other issues, assess of network factors associated with risky sexual practices and the spread of disease, and create a protocol for expanding an evidenced-based intervention. Our core research project will have several secondary benefits including: 1) application of a participatory approach to develop an interactive website and utilize social networking technologies that will both attract young adults and provide useful prevention information; 2) development of process evaluation procedures for program improvement and documentation of lessons learned in creating an integrated face-to-face intervention with a web-based adjunct; and 3) creation of measures of fidelity that can be applied to such an integrative approach. 

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  Students will recruit party hosts at the Flint or Saginaw Health Departments and will administer and collect surveys from the party sites. Interested students may have the opportunity to work with our web master and contribute to the website as a blogger.

Minimum Student Qualifications:  Students must be motivated and self starters with good people skills. Students MUST be comfortable working in a community setting with minimal supervision.