Principal Investigators

  • Mikhail Koffarnus, PhD, Family and Community Medicine
  • Carolyn Lauckner, PhD, Behavioral Science

Research Priority Area

Mobile health (mHealth) applications

How to Join

The goal of the mHealth Application modernization & Mobilization Alliance (MAMMA) is to mobilize the existing strengths of UK researchers to modernize and deploy mHealth applications in cancer, addiction, chronic disease prevention and management, and other health research.

To learn more about becoming a member of the MAMMA alliance, please fill out the following survey:


Smartphone applications to promote healthy behaviors (mHealth apps) are exploding in popularity with the increasing ownership rates of smartphones. mHealth apps excel at real-time data collection (Ecological Momentary Assessment; EMA) and interventions that can be delivered in the user’s natural environment. mHealth apps of this type have been used by members of this alliance to measure health behaviors in natural environments to greater understand the causes of disease, as well as to deliver efficacious behavioral interventions to improve unhealthy behavior.  

Despite the dramatic potential impact of mHealth apps designed to assess specific theories and deliver custom interventions, there are substantial and often overwhelming barriers to entry for junior investigators interested in using mHealth apps in their research. The development of a successful mHealth app requires expertise in treatment delivery, behavioral science, assessment methods, user interface design, programming, database management, and data privacy. Furthermore, while the intended use of each app varies, many of the technical implementation challenges are common and do not necessarily need to be reinvented. Depending on the expertise of the group, the implementations could be deficient and insecure. These core variabilities also make these applications hard to evaluate and support. These multifaceted skillsets require a team science approach, and often a large expenditure of resources that is unobtainable for a junior faculty member who is just beginning to seek extramural funding to support their work. Finally, investigators familiar with behavioral methods and theory can benefit from learning more about the technical aspects and data privacy of mHealth development, while those with technical skillsets can benefit from learning behavioral science principles and behavior change. This back-and-forth translation and team building will be a strength of this alliance. 

The overall goal of this alliance is to leverage the knowledge, experience, and skillset of the transdisciplinary alliance members to create resources that can be used by junior faculty and others new to mHealth research. Through mentorship, linkage to existing resources, and assistance with customized protocols for our existing mHealth platform, we will facilitate the development of research programs in faculty new to mHealth research. We expect that these efforts will also lead to new grant funding among these new faculty, as well as among teams of senior and junior faculty who can leverage a robust smartphone app platform to propose large-scale, collaborative grants.