Optimization of Prevention Interventions Using MOST: State of the Science and Future Directions

April 23, 2019
Dr. Linda Collins

Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University

*A recording of this webinar will be available approximately one week after the session.

About the Webinar

For many years, prevention interventions have been developed by creating or selecting intervention components, assembling the components into a treatment package, and evaluating the package in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Recently an alternative framework has been developed, called the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST). Inspired by approaches that are standard in fields such as industrial engineering, MOST emphasizes development of an optimized intervention before an RCT is considered. The information needed for optimization is gathered in an optimization trial. Based on the results of this trial, the investigator can eliminate underperforming components. If desired, the investigator can select from among the remaining components with cost (broadly defined) as a criterion—for example, can select the subset of components that provides the best expected outcome that can be obtained within some upper limit on implementation cost. 

In this presentation, Dr. Collins will briefly describe MOST and contrast it to the classical treatment package approach. She will then review examples of recent and current applications of MOST. Finally, she will discuss where she sees the field of intervention optimization going, including future methodological directions.

About Linda Collins

Dr. Linda M. Collins is Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. She is also Director of The Methodology Center, an interdisciplinary research center devoted to the advancement and dissemination of quantitative methods for applications in drug abuse prevention and treatment, as well as other areas in the behavioral sciences. Dr. Collins’ research interests include the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), an engineering-inspired methodological framework for optimizing and evaluating behavioral, biobehavioral, and biomedical interventions. The objective of MOST is to improve intervention effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and scalability. Dr. Collins is currently collaborating on research applying MOST to develop optimized behavioral interventions in the areas of smoking cessation, weight loss, prevention of excessive drinking and risky sex in college students, and HIV services. Her research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.   

Dr. Collins is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and Society for Prevention Research. She is a past president of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology and the Society for Prevention Research. Dr. Collins has delivered more than 130 invited presentations and workshops on MOST around the world.