In a changing health communication landscape brought on by technology and new media, the branch engages scholars and practitioners in areas such as:
- Descriptive behavioral research to characterize user-generated content and interactions relevant to health
- Natural Language Processing-assisted quantitative methods, network analysis, sentiment analysis, and mixed methods content analysis
- Dynamic health intervention design through Web 2.0 technologies to measure exposure, reach, and engagement
- Nimble and rapid experimental design
- Systems science and engineering
- Participative media (e.g. peer support and connection; enabling authentic voices of individuals)
- Addressing the digital divide and digital literacy from a health-equity perspective
HCIRB support for social media research
Social Media and Addiction Research Funding Initiative
NIH announces 11 awards funded across three Institutes, October, 2014
The branch recently led two funding opportunities on social media and addiction. The research initiative, Using Social Media to Understand and Address Substance Use and Addiction [RFA-CA-14-008 (R01) & RFA-CA-14-009 (R01)] is funded as part of Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN), a trans-NIH partnership with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Interactions on social media have the potential to influence attitudes and behaviors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. To advance the science and methodology in this emerging field, the funding opportunity invited proposals in two distinct areas: (1) observational research using social media interactions as surveillance tools to aid in the understanding of the epidemiology, risk factors, attitudes, and behaviors associated with ATOD use and addiction, and (2) intervention research measuring the reach, engagement, and behavioral and health impact of social media-based interventions for the screening, prevention, and treatment, of ATOD use and addiction.
The funding announcements attracted a large number of applications from researchers representing diverse fields of study and enabled a growing portfolio of social media research at the NIH.
CRAN provides a collaborative framework for NCI, NIDA, and NIAAA to integrate resources and expertise to advance substance use, abuse, and addiction research and public health outcomes.