Technology-based behavioral health interventions offer potentially limitless opportunities to localize content and target specific populations. However, this ability to customize requires developers to make a wide range of decisions not only about who should appear on screen, but how each message should be refined to most effectively reach a particular group of intervention recipients. These issues become especially salient as interventions are scaled for delivery to multiple populations in different geographical locations or settings (e.g., a hospital emergency department versus the drop-in center of a community-based clinic), and in more than one language. To facilitate evidence-based development of customized, targeted intervention content, our team created a multi-step methodology over a series of NIH-funded research projects. The resulting Participatory Education and Research into Lived Experience (PEARLE) Methodology entails formative qualitative interviews to examine why members of a given population do not enact a specific health behavior such as HIV/HCV testing or vaccinating against COVID-19 (this step includes identifying potential gaps in related health literacy), followed by iterative evaluations of draft content designed to address these barriers, and extensive discussions with a Community Advisory Board. The final step is a clinical trial. PEARLE is designed to be highly flexible, adaptable to a variety of behavioral outcomes in clinical and community settings, and to create content in more than one language depending on the needs or preferences of a population. The current paper discusses how our team employed PEARLE to develop content in English and Spanish for our latest project, which is intended to increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake among people who inject drugs.
Using the participatory education and research into lived experience (PEARLE) methodology to localize content and target specific populations
Frontiers in Digital Health, 4, 992519. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2022.992519. PMCID: PMC9634163.