The NIH mHealth Training Institute (mHTI) was created to serve as an incubator for developing transdisciplinary scientists capable of co-creating mHealth solutions for “wicked” healthcare problems. Funded through a competitive renewal (OBSSR/ODP/NIDA: 5 R25 DAO38167), Version 2.0 of the mHTI builds on the experiences of earlier mHTIs and the feedback of its graduates. The annual institute identifies academic unicorns – from disciplines ranging from medicine and psychology to computer science and biomedical engineering – with an aptitude for interdisciplinarity and a passion for translational research with societal impact.
Through a week-long workshop, the mHTI helps the selected scholars develop a shared vocabulary and conceptual framework, acquire core domain expertise in latest mHealth technologies and methodologies, and get practical experience in cross-disciplinary mHealth innovation. A major focus is the advancement of team science skills and the soft skills required to develop them into influential nodes in an expanding collaborative network of catalyst mHealth researchers linked to national funding systems. Beyond the NIH, the mHTI is supported by the generous contributions of a core group of faculty thought-leaders with extensive teaching priors and a deep commitment to educating the next generation of diverse mHealth scientists. Synergistic partnerships with the mHealth Center for Discovery, Optimization & Translation of Temporally-Precise Interventions (mDOT) and the CERES Collaborative augment and sustain its educational efforts. An anchoring logic model for the educational activities and independent evaluations by UCLA’s Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) ensures that the educational program remains cutting-edge and impactful within the rapidly transforming healthcare landscape. Alumni of previous mHTIs are actively transforming the mHealth research programs on their home campuses and many have become trailblazers integrating mHealth into healthcare delivery.