Development and testing of digital tools require a team science approach that brings together expertise in behavior change theory and methods, informatics/analytics, human factors, and engineering. The Digital Physical Activity and Diet (dPAD) Collaborative, a joint core between MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Texas Health Science Center, can increase investigator expertise and improve the innovation and scientific rigor of obesity-related digital health research by building an intellectual community of investigators focused on this topic and providing core services such as training, expert consultation, resource clearinghouse, and services such as usability testing and harvesting/pre-processing of digital data. This resource will enable investigators in the two institutions to conduct rigorous studies to test digital weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity interventions and assessment tools with high potential for funding, dissemination, and implementation.
The aims for the dPAD Collaborative in the two-year funding period include:
(1) To conduct a needs assessment to identify MD Anderson and UTHealth investigators doing relevant research in this space, describe their research, and identify their need for training/consultation, infrastructure/technical capability, and collaborators;
(2) To provide training and networking activities to support and connect researchers who are using digital health methods with those who are studying and/or intervening to address obesity through diet, physical activity, or social determinants of health (SDOH);
(3) To create core services based on investigator needs identified in Aim 1, such as an online resource clearinghouse and collaboration platform, consultation/navigation services to advise investigators on and connect them to available resources, and services such as usability testing, measurement of physical activity, accessing and pre-processing of digital device data.
Dr. Leah Whigham, PhD – Director of UTHealth Center for Community Health Impact (CCHI), UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso
Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH – Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Deanna Holscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS – Director and John P McGovern Professor in Health Promotion, UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin
Dr. Sahiti Myneni, PhD, MSE – Associate Professor, UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics
Dr. Susan Peterson, MPH, PhD – Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Thuan Le, MPH – Program Manager of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Kate Faris – Communications Specialist for the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin
Asyjia Brown – Research Data Coordinator, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center