Traditionally, promotion of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among minority and rural populations including African American men was delivered by Community Health Workers (CHW), Patient Navigators, and decision aids (printed text or video media) at clinics. A novel approach to increase CRC screening of black men includes developing and utilizing a patient-centered, tailored message delivered via mobile-health (m-health) technology. In this study, a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach provided feedback on a Virtual Health Assistant (VHA) designed to deliver precision and personalized messages promoting the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) for CRC screening. Focus groups of Black men were recruited to understand and employ their perceptions of a Black-male VHA. Specifically, these men identified source characteristics that would enhance the credibility of the VHA and likeability of an m-health app. The MAIN Model which examines how an interface features affect the user’s psychology through four Affordances: Modality, Agency, Interactivity, and Navigability was used to assess the presumed credibility of the VHA and likability of the app from the focus group transcripts. Each affordance triggers heuristic cues that stimulate a positive or negative perception of trustworthiness, believability, and understandability thereby increasing source credibility and likability. Data collected in the focus group included feedback on the different content modalities, both text and visual: size and font of the text, VHA appearance, voice, movement, diction, the environment as well as perceptions of the trustworthiness and expertise of the interface. Data related to interactivity and ease of navigation through the app was also collected and analyzed. All in all, 25 Black men from the community contributed to the development of three iterations of a Black male VHA over an eighteen-month time span. The final version of the Black male-VHA, ALEX is now part of an intervention to increase CRC screening among minority and rural populations.

Citation Format: Danyell Wilson-Howard, Melissa Vilaro, Lauren Griffin, Fatemeh Travassoli, Mohan Zalake, Benjamin Lok, Francois Modave, Peter Carek, Thomas George, Janice Krieger. Community engagement in the development of an m-health app utilizing a black male virtual health assistant (VHA) to promote colon cancer screening: An iterative study of credibility and likeability [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2019 Sep 20-23; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl_2):Abstract nr A041.