Duke MsGH ’20, Jacob Stocks, talks about his experience working on an mHealth app to support cervical cancer screening in western Kenya.  The app was developed by four Duke seniors (‘T20) as part of their Computer Science Capstone course. Stocks’ experience co-designing the app with end-users, clinicians and community health volunteers in Kenya, was published recently in JMIR Formative Research.

In 2019, I worked alongside members of the Center for Global Reproductive Health to develop and pilot test mSaada, a mobile phone app for use by lay-providers during cervical cancer screening. This experience was an exercise in self-reflection, flexibility, and perseverance, as the study team had to acknowledge the gaps in our intervention and work effectively and efficiently to address them while adapting to additional challenges as they arose.

Our team, working face-to-face with local collaborators as well as virtually with app developers, conducted feedback sessions with community health volunteers and clinicians in Kisumu and Migori, Kenya. The main findings of this work, included adding translations in local languages, improving clinically relevant logic checks, and incorporating the ability to make real-time edits to client records.

Having had the opportunity to contribute to all phases of the project, from protocol development to data collection and analysis to manuscript writing, I am thrilled to have this work be my first academic publication. To me it is emblematic of the partnership, support, and mentorship that I experienced working with Dr. Huchko and others within the Center for Global Reproductive Health and DGHI as a whole.

Jacob Stocks is a Research Assistant with the Behavior and Technology Lab (BATLab) at UNC-Chapel Hill where he works on projects that use mhealth strategies to address a spectrum of needs for youth at risk or living with HIV. In this role, he uses skills developed while at DGHI to interact directly with LGBTQ+ youth, refine study protocols, and manage participant data.

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