In September 2009, the PHS research project All Gender Health Online (AGHO) received a funding supplement as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This was one of 128 Recovery Act grants, totaling more than $34 million, received by the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center (AHC).
The funding will accelerate AHC research to advance science and improve health. The funding will also create jobs. According to the National Institutes of Health, for every dollar of research funding more than two dollars return to the economy through the purchase of supplies, hiring of staff, and other research expenses. Stimulus grants distributed by the National Institutes of Health target projects promising results within two years as well as provide support for ongoing research.
The AGHO study consists of two parts. The first part investigates the characteristics and sexual behavior of male partners of transgender women and men. The second part will incorporate those findings in the development and rigorous evaluation of an online intervention to prevent the spread of HIV and promote the sexual health of transgender people as well as the population at large. The funding supplement in the amount of $238,730 over a period of two years will help the group to develop a virtual coach to personalize prevention messages for participants during the online intervention. Virtual pedagogical agents will help to create a sense of personal connection, enhance motivation, and reduce the complexity of interacting in a virtual environment, thus improving retention and learning.
Walter Bockting, PhD, is the principal investigator. The project researchers include Bean Robinson, PhD, Jamie Feldman, MD, PhD, Michael Miner, PhD, Eli Coleman, PhD, Alex Iantaffi, PhD, Cesar Gonzalez, PhD, Hale Thompson, MA, Rebecca Swinburne Romine, MA, Laura Gurak, PhD (Writing Studies), Joe Konstan, PhD (Computer Science), Keith Horvath, PhD (Epidemiology), and David Valentine, PhD (Anthropology). These funds will support the addition of Aaron Doering, PhD, and Charles Miller, PhD (Curriculum & Instruction).
PHOTO: AGHO Advisory Board and research team
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