Melissa Vilaro and Janice Krieger Co-Author Article on Using Virtual Health Assistants to Promote Colorectal Screening Among Black Women
University of Florida STEM Translational Communication Center (STCC) post-doctoral associate Melissa Vilaro and STEM Center Director Janice Krieger are the co-authors of “Tailoring Virtual Human-Delivered Interventions: A Digital Intervention Promoting Colorectal Cancer Screening for Black Women” published in the Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer on Sept. 6.
Vilaro, Krieger, former STCC associate Lauren Griffin, Danyell Wilson-Howard, Fatemeh Tavassoli, Mohan Zalake, Ben Lok, Francois Modave, Thomas George and Peter Carek examined responses by non-Hispanic Black women to virtual health assistant-delivered intervention promoting colorectal cancer screening with an at-home stool test.
The authors found that “Participants identified 26 cues relating to components of the virtual health assistants’ credibility, including trustworthiness, expertise, and authority. Comments on early versions revealed preferences for communicating with a human doctor and negative critiques of the virtual health assistants’ appearance and movements. Modifications to specific cues improved the user experience, and participants expressed increased willingness to engage with later versions of the VHA and the screening messages it delivered.”
They concluded, “Virtual health assistants provide a systemic way to deliver health information. [It is] a culturally sensitive intervention designed for credibility promoted user interest in engaging with guideline-concordant colorectal cancer screening messages.”