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The Dr. Maria Verhoef ISCMR Lectureship:

Plenary Session 02: "Building More Effective and Efficient Behavioral Interventions with the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST)" presented by: Linda Collins, PhD

09:30 - 10:15, Regency Ballroom, Terrace Level

Linda Collins, PhD 

The Methodology Center

Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Professor, Department of Statistics

Penn State University


Presentation Synopsis

Behavioral interventions are typically developed and evaluated using a treatment package approach.  In this approach the intervention is assembled a priori and evaluated by means of a randomized controlled trial (RCT).   Using this approach, the intervention is a “black box” because it is unknown which components of the intervention are working and which are not.  In this talk I will review an alternative approach called the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST).  MOST is an engineering-inspired framework for developing, optimizing, and evaluating behavioral interventions.  MOST includes the RCT for intervention evaluation, but also includes other steps before the RCT.  These steps are aimed at empirically assessing the performance of individual intervention components, and at intervention optimization using criteria chosen by the behavioral scientist.  The goal may be to develop an intervention made up entirely of active components; to develop a cost-effective intervention; to achieve a specified level of effectiveness; to arrive at the briefest intervention that achieves a minimum level of effectiveness; or any other reasonable goal.  The MOST framework relies heavily on resource management by strategic choice of highly efficient experimental designs.  I propose that MOST offers several benefits, including more rapid long-run improvement of behavioral interventions, without requiring a dramatic increase in intervention research resources. 



Linda M. Collins, Ph.D., is Professor of Human Development & Family Studies and Professor of Statistics at Penn State. She is also Director of The Methodology Center, an interdisciplinary research center devoted to the advancement and dissemination of quantitative methods for applications in the behavioral sciences. Dr. Collins received her Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology from the University of Southern California. Her research interests center on engineering-inspired methods for improving behavioral interventions, particularly the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST), a methodological framework for optimizing and evaluating behavioral interventions. Her peer-review publications have appeared in a wide range of outlets, including methodological journals such as Clinical Trials, substance use journals such as Nicotine and Tobacco Research, behavioral health journals such as Annals of Behavioral Medicine, and engineering journals such as IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology. Dr. Collins has co-edited several books and special issues of journals, and co-authored a book on latent class analysis. Her research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Science Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.