How can we use your smartphone to make your health care smarter?
The overarching goal of Dr. Jonassaint’s program of research is to improve behavioral and physical health and reduce health disparities by using mobile multimedia technology to deliver evidence-based interventions to underserved populations. The focus of this research is sickle cell disease (SCD), a condition that disproportionately affects those of African descent. Many people living with SCD suffer from daily chronic pain as well as recurrent acute pain episodes that require medical attention. Opioid medication is the primary treatment for pain in SCD, despite its limited effectiveness and negative side-effects. This research presentation will review some of the novel technology innovations Dr. Jonassaint and his team have explored to help addresses the challenge of pain assessment and management in under-resourced settings. One such technology, computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) has been found effective for reducing chronic pain and may be a low cost, easily accessible and scalable mental health and pain treatment in SCD and other underserved population. Dr. Jonassaint will present trial data examining the impact of cCBT for mental health in minority primary care patients and pilot data of cCBT with adults with SCD and comorbid depression or anxiety. This research will present the benefits and limitations of current cCBT programs. Dr. Jonassaint will also discuss current research efforts to work with stakeholders to co-design and test a culturally-tailored, mobile phone-delivered cCBT program for adults with SCD living with chronic pain. Through a human-centered design approach and partnering with patients and family members from the target population, Dr. Jonassaint is building digital health tools that are more engaging, effective and capable of reaching and impacting individuals who are traditionally “hard-to-reach”.