HIV online information and services targeting African American females are of particular interest given the impact of this infectious disease in this underserved community. That is, data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention show that African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV. In 2009, Black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all Blacks. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for Black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for White women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women (CDC Data, 2009). Numerous technology-based tools and applications have been designed for intended populations and users based on age, gender, ethnicity and medical conditions, including smoking cessation, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and heart disease. Prior research (Payton, 2009; Payton and Kiwanuka-Tondo, 2009; Payton, et al., 2011) evaluated health information technology applications relative to people, processes and patients as well as the HIV prevalence among Black women. As articulated in Payton, et al. (2011), patient-centered care has its focus in community involvement, participation and formulation, such as social networks or support groups, thus enabling social change. According to Healthy People 2020, the criticality of health communication and health information technology lends itself to a myriad of topics, including building health skills and knowledge, supporting community and home care, facilitating clinical and consumer decision-making and improving the public health infrastructure. Further, Healthy People 2020 articulates the need for the application of evidence-based best practices in user-centered design approaches to dissemination health information across underserved and under-represented populations to better understand health disparities and health outcomes. Given this context, interdisciplinary approaches can enable improved design and awareness while creating a service experience to address the health issues affecting and infecting a vulnerable population, such as Black female college students. Aforementioned research studies provide insight to social models that can drive the technology design and experiences among Black females. In an effort to reach underserved populations, engagement, design research, communication and human computer interaction frameworks collectively provide the theoretical bases to better engage and design service systems. In this paper, we will provide preliminary findings from a study of African American female college students and their use of online HIV health information. We will also discusses the use of interdisciplinary approaches to address the design and creation of a dynamic IT artifact intended for the population under investigation.
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