An innovative, interactive mHealth smartphone app to improve reproductive health outcomes for minority male teens, providing medically-accurate information for prevention of pregnancy, HIV, and STIs.

Period of Performance: 09/30/2017 - 09/29/2018


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Metamedia Training International, Inc.
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


Abstract MetaMedia, and partner Healthy Teen Network, will develop a mobile application aimed at reducing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Latino and African American men aged 15-19. In the U.S., teen pregnancy, teen births and STIs affect African American and Latino youth in greater proportion compared to other youth. A comprehensive literature search revealed that multiple sexual and reproductive health apps exist for adolescents in general; however, none were found that specifically address the needs of diverse young males. And none were evaluated for behavior change. During the SBIR Phase 1 study, the project team will achieve three aims/objectives. First, it will conduct a five-phased qualitative formative study to guide the development of MAPP. The formative study will obtain: 1) youth suggestions/ideas for app content, features, branding, and visual design; 2) youth feedback on the readability, word/language usage, and amount and phrasing of the app's text; 3) youth feedback on the mechanics, educational messages, and interest of an interactive game(s); 4) youth feedback on usability and navigation by conducting a user-centered walkthrough of the app; and 5) quality assurance feedback from project team staff. Second, it will develop a mobile app that strategically addresses a prioritized set of determinants of five sexual health behaviors directly related to preventing pregnancy/STIs while applying principles and preferences of how young men learn. These behaviors include: 1) delay the onset of sexual initiation/reduce the frequency of sex, 2) increase correct and consistent use of condoms, 3) increase support to female partners in the correct and consistent use of effective forms of contraception, 4) reduce the number of sexual partners/concurrent sexual partners, and 5) increase visits to health centers for STI testing and treatment. And third, it will develop an educational and entertaining game that reinforces key behavioral messages presented in MAPP. In the SBIR Phase II of the study, MAPP will be rigorously evaluated using adequately powered samples. In addition, a commercialization and marketing plan will be developed to maximize MAPP's commercialization potential and wide dissemination to youth and youth-serving professionals. MetaMedia, a small business with 35 years of experience, is a pioneer in adapting emerging technologies to improve learning and performance. Healthy Teen Network, a national nonprofit organization with 30 years of experience, has a proven track record in applying evidence approaches to develop and evaluate teen pregnancy and STI prevention interventions. Their organizational missions and experience create an ideal partnership for this project.