​​Health Communications​​

In the digital age, opportunities for improving health and quality of life using technology are robust and more sophisticated than ever before. Research suggests that the way we communicate about health—both the messaging and the tools—can impact health outcomes and participation in health-related programs, absorption of health-related information, and willingness to seek treatment.

The Health Communications workgroup of the Envolve Center develops, implements, and evaluates research to find the most effective and efficient ways to engage diverse audiences in health programming for sustained health behavior change. This research includes developing the best ways to measure the personal value systems of diverse audiences and exploring strategies for designing and implementing online goal setting platforms and health-coaching programs.

Possessing a better understanding of the needs, values and behaviors of specific Centene memberswhether Medicaid or commercial health insurance memberswill enable researchers and product developers to tailor health communication efforts and offer services that are more likely to facilitate health behavior change.
Matthew Kreuter
​Faculty Director, Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change

Matthew W​. ​Kreuter, PhD, MPH, is a faculty director in the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change, leading the Center’s work on health communications. His research seeks to identify and apply communication-based strategies to eliminate health disparities, including increasing the reach and effectiveness of health information to low-income and minority populations and using technology to connect people to needed health services. He is associate dean for public health and Kahn Family Professor of Public Health at the Brown School and senior scientist and founder of the Health Communication Research Laboratory. Kreuter served for six years on the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice and in 2014 was named by Thomson Reuters as one of the most influential scientists in the world, ranking in the top 1% in his field based on the number of highly cited papers from 2002-2012. Read more.

Amy McQueen, PhD
​Lead Faculty, Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change​

​Amy McQueen is a lead faculty in the Envolve Center’s Health Communications core. Her research has focused on understanding how cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental determinants influence health behaviors and testing behavioral interventions to improve health. She is particularly interested in individuals’ biases and defenses that impede their engagement in health behaviors and adherence to recommendations, as well as testing novel strategies for reducing defenses. She is assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and co-director of the Brown School's Health Communication Research Laboratory.  She received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Houston and completed a National Cancer Institute-funded post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health.


The Studies

Online Health Coaching Study

What are the most efficient and effective methods to engage members in an online health coaching platform?

This qualitative pilot study collects member insights to inform the design and content of a new online health coaching program to be implemented by Envolve PeopleCare. Researchers are focusing on assessing participants’ perceptions around “coaching” and related terms and their preferences for design elements in the online platform. Researchers are examining when to introduce coaching in the goal setting platform, what terminology to use when referring to coaching, how to present personalized targets for behavior change, and which data-capturing methods are most efficient and intuitive for users in helping to set specific behavior change goals. This study will help ensure a specific online coaching platform is custom designed to meet the unique needs of Medicaid members and, more broadly, could provide important evidence on the most effective ways to communicate in online health coaching platforms for use by all consumers.

Life Values Study

How can we consider the life values, attitudes and behavior of consumers to enhance the relevance and impact of future messages, programs and services?

This formative research study employs an online survey to explore participants’ life values and their association with health attitudes and behaviors. Up to 1,500 participants will participate in the 20-30 minutes survey, including health plan members and a convenience sample of Medicaid recipients in multiple states. Researchers will use the results to inform and enhance the relevance and impact of future messages, programming and interactions with Centene Medicaid members to encourage healthy behaviors.