The Pulse Project evaluation

Since 2016, Child Trends has collaborated with Healthy Teen Network to evaluate Pulse, a web-based mobile health app designed for Black and Latinx women ages 18–20. Through culturally responsive and engaging content, Pulse provides its audience with information on birth control, healthy relationships, sexual health and physiology, pregnancy, and utilization of clinical services. The content is designed to help women who do not want to become pregnant choose effective birth control, seek reproductive health services, and, ultimately, prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Related Documents:

Blog – Best practices for enrolling young women in online research studies

  • Online recruitment is an innovative and cost-effective way to reach potential participants for research studies. Through social media advertisements, researchers can recruit from a large and diverse population. However, without the face-to-face interactions and personal follow-ups that traditional recruitment methods employ, online recruitment efforts may have difficulty building the trust and credibility needed to get sufficient numbers of eligible potential study participants to complete the enrollment process. This blog offers tips for researchers on how to recruit their desired sample size using online enrollment.

Evaluating Young Women’s Engagement with an Online Reproductive Health App

  • This research brief highlights the characteristics of women who participated in the Pulse program, their differing levels of engagement with the mobile app, and the characteristics of the participants who engaged with the app versus those who had little or no engagement. Results provide important lessons about the types of young women who can be effectively reached through a solely tech-based pregnancy prevention program.

Blog – Technology-based reproductive health programs can reach young women, but user experience matters

  • Many existing health programs and interventions reach only a portion of the population in need. As a result, practitioners increasingly use tech-based interventions to deliver services to hard-to-reach populations. Because mobile devices are becoming universal, innovative service delivery methods can use mobile apps and text messaging to effectively reach some of these historically hard-to-reach groups—particularly older teens and young adults. This blog discusses the importance of continuously improving user experience with these types of interventions.

Blog – Identifying scammers in online studies

  • AEA 365 blog. Health interventions have increasingly incorporated technology components, sometimes even using technology to recruit participants. Identifying suspicious accounts can be a difficult, time-consuming process for online interventions—but it’s also a necessary one. Study teams involved in similar online interventions are encouraged to consider the tips presented in this blog when developing study procedures.
  • Healthy Teen Network blog. This blog post builds on the content in the AEA 365 blog, diving deeper into avoiding scammers in online studies. Such studies present unique advantages, including the needs to be cost-efficient, provide researchers with a large recruitment pool, and allow participants to remain anonymous. However, ensuring that participants are who they claim to be represents a challenge that accompanies this form of recruitment. This blog addresses the issue by presenting tips from an evaluation of a strictly technology-based intervention.

Evaluating Pulse: Lessons from an online evaluation of an app-based approach to teen pregnancy prevention

  • Intervention and Comparison App Main PagesThis resource introduces the Pulse intervention and describes Child Trends’ unique approach to evaluating Pulse’s impact on pregnancy among older teens. For this intervention, Child Trends recruited a sample of more than 2,300 young women completely online. The study team was able to retain most of these women for the duration of the intervention and post-test survey administration by using both the app and pre-programmed, automatically delivered text messages.

Roundtable Discussion – Sex ed + tech: Using innovation to evaluate a sex ed digital intervention

  • Presented at American Public Health Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting, November 10–14, 2018, by Elizabeth Cook and Jennifer Manlove
  • Description: This roundtable session provided an overview of the Pulse app, the recruitment and research process, and the key lessons learned. The session discussed the importance of branding, social media channels as effective means of online recruitment, strategic targeting in online recruitment, and identifying scammers and duplicates in study samples.

Poster – Sex ed goes high tech: Findings from a RCT evaluation of the Pulse app

  • A graphic showing the usage rates for the web app.Presented at American Public Health Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting, November 10-14, 2018, and at Family & Youth Services Bureau’s 2018 Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Conference, May 30-31, 2018, by Jennifer Manlove, Elizabeth Cook, Brooke Whitfield, and Makedah Johnson (Child Trends), Milagros Garrido, Nicholas Sufrinko, and Genevieve Martínez-García (Healthy Teen Network)
  • Description: This poster provides descriptive characteristics, app usage information, and text message data from Child Trends’ evaluation of Pulse. It also includes short-term impact results for outcomes related to behaviors, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions.

Presentation – Pulse: Evaluating a pregnancy prevention mobile app for older adolescents nationwide

  • Two examples of the MMS messages we sent to participants. Presented at American Evaluation Association’s 2017 Annual Conference, November 8-11, 2017, by Elizabeth Cook, Jennifer Manlove, Makedah Johnson
  • Description: This presentation provides a brief overview of the design of Child Trends’ evaluation of Pulse. This presentation was given as one segment of a three-part presentation with Healthy Teen Network and the University of California, San Francisco, and presents study characteristics, recruitment and enrollment processes, and the process of identifying and removing suspicious accounts from the study.

Poster – Likes, tweets, and hashtags: Harnessing the power of social media for study recruitment

  • A graphic breaking down the different Pulse recruitment campaigns.Presented at Healthy Teen Network’s 2017 Annual Conference, October 3-4, 2017, by Nicholas Sufrinko, Milagros Garrido, and Genevieve Martínez-García (Healthy Teen Network), Jennifer Manlove, Elizabeth Cook, and Makedah Johnson (Child Trends)
  • Description: This poster provides an overview of how the authors used social media advertisements to recruit and enroll participants for Child Trends’ evaluation of Pulse. It also provides a detailed timeline of when a subset of ads was employed throughout the study, along with several lessons learned from the online recruitment process.

Poster – Pulse, an app in action: Preliminary usage results from a randomized control trial

  • A graphic breaking down the quantity and kind of messages Pulse users receievePresented at Healthy Teen Network’s 2017 Annual Conference, October 3-4, 2017, by Jennifer Manlove, Elizabeth Cook, Brooke Whitfield, and Makedah Johnson (Child Trends), Milagros Garrido, Nicholas Sufrinko, and Genevieve Martínez-García (Healthy Teen Network)
  • Description: This poster provides descriptive characteristics of the first cohort of 754 participants in Child Trends’ evaluation of Pulse. It also provides preliminary results for how often the app was visited and the types of text messages that were delivered to participants, and from in-depth interviews with several participants.

Poster – Teen pregnancy research 2.0: Taking sexual health research to the mobile world

  • A graphic showing the research design and timeline for PulsePresented at the Health & Human Services’ 2016 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference, July 19-21, 2016, by Genevieve Martínez García, Mila Garrido, Yewande Olugbade, Alex Eisler, Pat Paluzzi, Kelly Connelly (Healthy Teen Network), Jennifer Manlove, Elizabeth Cook (Child Trends)
  • Description: This poster reviews how the authors adapted Crush—a sexual health app designed for teen girls—to create the Pulse app, with the goal of better serving the sexual and reproductive health needs of young women ages 18–20. The poster outlines the research design and projected timeline of Child Trends’ evaluation of Pulse, the major adaptations made to create the app, and lessons learned from the study design process.