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Janice Krieger Receives $2.1 Million Grant to Use Virtual Human Technology to Promote Clinical Trial Participation Among Older Adult Minorities

Janice Krieger, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications STEM Translational Communication Center director, and a team of researchers has been awarded a National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant to use the virtual health assistant ALEX (Agent Leveraging Empathy for eXams) to recruit older adult minorities for clinical trials.

Janice Krieger
Janice Krieger

The grant project, totaling $2.1 million over a three-year period, will focus on underserved populations at a high risk for developing chronic diseases and health conditions. These populations are significantly underrepresented in clinical research. Tailoring content and source preferences to be patient-centered and culturally and personally relevant to the patients is expected to have a lasting and positive effect on their health attitudes and behaviors.

The long-term goal is to increase clinical trial participation among older adult minorities (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and/or rural adults over the age of 50) using virtual human technology. The project has three aims: conducting focus groups with older adult minorities to obtain data that will be used to redesign ALEX to be culturally sensitive for these minorities; to track engagement of such minorities into active, NIH-funded clinical trials for remotely delivering ALEX; and, to compare ALEX and standard recruitment methods for enrolling such minorities into NIH-funded clinical trials.

In 2017, Krieger received a $3.04 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the efficacy of using virtual human technology to increase colorectal cancer screening among rural and minority patients.

Posted: September 22, 2021
Category: College News, Diversity News and Profiles, Research News, Science Communication News, STEM Center News, Why Alex
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