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Burton Edelstein,
Professor of Clinical Dentistry (in Community Health), School of Dental and Oral Surgery, and Professor of Clinical Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health

Burton Edelstein

"Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the leading chronic disease of children under six in the United States.  ECC disproportionately impacts families that are disadvantaged by low-income, low-literacy, cultural barriers and minority status.  Envisioned with funding from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities was the development of a computer tool for use in community sites that would assess risk for ECC, determine family capacity and match them with a care plan.  Created through work with the CCNMTL Triangle Initiative, MySmileBuddy is an interactive, web-based health education and health behavioral change tool that aims to change the focus of ECC treatment from surgical intervention to disease prevention.  Designed for use on an iPad, MySmileBuddy (MSB )is a bilingual, interactive application developed by a multidisciplinary team of educators for community health workers in helping parents understand and manage risks for ECC.  Our partners at CCNMTL have been consistently accommodating in working with our team to meet a wide range of requests while staying on a timeline and completing the prototype with time for pilot testing in the community.  CCNMTL provided creative input equivalent to their technical prowess by designing dynamic visuals, story lines and videos. 
This project truly serves the Triangle Initiative’s intersecting interests of education, research, and service to the larger community.  Students enrolled in Columbia’s nutrition and pediatric dentistry programs continue to work on and learn from this novel collaboration. 
Community health workers who have used MSB appreciate the interactive style and innovative approach to working with their clients.  At risk families trust the information taught to them by their peer community health workers.  By educating families through the community health worker via a multimedia platform, low- literacy families are receiving understandable instruction through a source they believe in.  We look forward to continuing to revise and test MSB for use in the community with the ultimate goal of reducing ECC prevalence."

Robert Remien,
Research Scientist, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Robert Remien

“The increasing availability of antiretroviral medications in resource poor settings around the world is offering hope to millions of people living with HIV. However, just as we have seen in settings with greater resources for healthcare providers and health delivery infrastructures and a longer history of providing HIV treatment, it is a major challenge to find ways to help patients adhere to complex medication regimens over the long term. And HIV in particular requires higher levels of adherence to medical treatments for clinical success than most other chronic illnesses.

Building upon a proven behavioral intervention called “SMART Couples” which we developed at the HIV Center, our team is working with the CCNMTL Triangle Initiative to design a new multimedia intervention in South Africa called Masivukeni. This new computer-based system can be used by non-professional peer counselors to help patients enlist the assistance of partners, friends, and other people from their social support network so that together they can understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed and maintain high levels of treatment adherence. Adapting this dyadic intervention is a natural fit for the setting since patients in South Africa are required to identify a “treatment buddy” prior to initiating antiretroviral therapy. The goal of our program is to enhance the instrumental and emotional support from network partners while they learn together the advantages of good adherence.

It is very exciting to build this program in partnership with clinicians, counselors, patients, and researchers in South Africa. Our South African partners are particularly excited about developing a visually engaging and user-friendly tool that will standardize the counseling and boost the lay counselors confidence to deliver strong and accurate health-focused messages and help motivate positive behavioral change. Through this partnership with CCNMTL, we are able to provide many more HIV-positive people in South Africa – and potentially around the world – with the support and guidance they need to lead longer, healthier lives. We look forward to working with Columbia faculty in Public Health, Nursing and Social Work and other programs for human service professionals to integrate our new digital tools as well as our experience with multimedia-driven health interventions into the educational programs.

We look forward to working with Columbia faculty in Public Health, Nursing and Social Work and other programs for human service professionals to integrate our new digital tools as well as our experience with multimedia-driven health interventions into the educational programs.”

Susan Witte,
Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Susan Witte

"The Triangle Initiative contributes enormously to both my research and my teaching. Developing Multimedia Connect with CCNMTL staff, we are producing new teaching tools and materials for our students at the Columbia School of Social Work alongside developing a more streamlined, efficient way to deliver a complex HIV prevention program for couples at risk. For instance, video is an important part of the tool kit both for the prevention program and the classroom, and the project has enabled us to produce a valuable new collection of professional communications training videos used for teaching couples therapy. Another innovation is the digitized version of the social support network map. Having this new tool has transformed the way I teach this topic. Instead of spending class time introducing the mapping process with pencil and paper, I can assign students to create their own digital maps in the field with clients. They bring them in to share with the class and reflect on how they can be useful in practice. The discussion is much more valuable and the students' understanding is clearly better.

The ultimate goal of the Multimedia Connect project is to help more people practice safer sex so that they avoid getting or giving HIV - not only here in the U.S. but in places where HIV prevalence is much higher or rapidly increasing. We are well on our way to creating a highly effective digital environment to support couples in changing their behavior. In the meantime, we are breaking new ground in intervention design and in curriculum development."

Conrad Johnson,
Clinical Professor, Columbia Law School

Conrad Johnson

"The Collateral Consequences Calculator will help defense attorneys better counsel their clients, prosecutors charge defendants with more precision and with better understanding of the ramifications of those charges, and judges assure appropriate sentences are imposed, because it makes possible the previously impossible: the quick and easy consideration of the entire range of collateral consequences of a criminal charge.

Today, because we have nothing like this tool, legal professionals are not held accountable for knowing the full impact of the law. New York's Chief Judge, Judith Kaye, wants to raise the bar. In the future, the Collateral Consequences Calculator will allow lawyers and judges to better understand the effects of collateral consequences.

CCNMTL made the theoretical possible. They helped us articulate our thoughts and understand the relevance for our work, both within the University and beyond. Working with the Triangle Initiative has allowed us to imagine and realize the larger pedagogical, social and research opportunities that the Collateral Consequences Calculator creates."

Nabila El-Bassel,
Professor, School of Social Work, Director, Social Intervention Group

Nabila El-Bassel

"CCNMTL's Triangle Initiative is groundbreaking and employs state-of-the-art advanced media technologies to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. It will also contribute to increasing the use of technology in research dissemination."