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ACCESS teams with the University of Chicago's Ci3 and Resilient Games Studio to design an app to address back-to-back pregnancies in Englewood



Valerie M. Reynolds; 773.834.8474


Elaine Hegwood Bowen: 312.526.2086


FOR RELEASE: Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

The University of Chicago’s Ci3 receives NIH grant to design a mobile app to increase access to immediate postpartum contraception

Researchers and designers from Ci3, Resilient Games Studio, and Access Community Health Network partner to develop an app that aims to lengthen interpregnancy intervals in teens and young women.

(Chicago) The University of Chicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation (Ci3) in Sexual and Reproductive Health was recently awarded a grant to pilot an app and toolkit designed to help young women ages 15-25 lengthen inter-pregnancy intervals (IPIs). Short IPIs - pregnancies within 18 months of a previous birth - were identified as an issue of national importance in Healthy People 2020’s 10-year agenda for improving the nation’s health.

The Patient-Centered Postpartum Contraceptive Toolkit was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The project will be led by Ci3’s founder and director Dr. Melissa Gilliam in partnership with Resilient Games Studio, LLC, and Access Community Health Network’s Center for Discovery and Learning, an NIH-funded, community-based research center.

“As this generation of digital natives comes of age, it is time to rethink and retool the clinical visit,” said Gilliam. “According to one study, adolescents spend nine hours a day using technology, so a mobile app for postpartum contraceptive education is an obvious tool.”

According to a 2015 National Vital Statistics Report from the CDC, shorter IPIs may affect the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and small gestational age. The National Survey of Family Growth reports that 29.3% of women have short IPIs, with the highest rates among teenagers ages 15-19 (57%), followed by women ages 20-29 (33%). With close to 40% of teen girls ages 15-19 having short IPIs, followed by 24.5 % of women ages 20-24, Chicago mirrors national rates. African-American teenagers in Chicago were more likely to have a short IPI (11.8%) than their Hispanic (8.6%) and white (8.1%) peers.

This project will be conducted in two phases. Though the final toolkit will serve all adolescents, the first phase will develop and test a prototype for African-American teen girls in Englewood, where 25% of adolescents have short IPIs, compared to 18.9% for Chicago as a whole. The full toolkit will be a multisystem, multimedia intervention for the prenatal and postpartum periods that will include apps, training videos, algorithms, policies, patient educational materials, resources and research.

“This project is just the type of innovative, community-based research that we hoped to bring to the ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning,” said ACCESS’ Director of Research Dani Lazar. “As we continue to tackle real health issues that are plaguing our communities, we must think differently and find ways to engage area residents in developing the right solutions that will work for that specific community.”

For more information or for interviews of investigators, please contact Valerie Reynolds, Communications Director for the University of Chicago’s Ci3 at or 773-834-8474.

About the Ci3 Ci3 is a research center at the University of Chicago addressing the social and structural determinants of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. At Ci3, we envision a world in which all youth emerge into adulthood with agency over their bodies and futures. Ci3 houses three labs: The Game Changer Chicago Design Lab; The Transmedia Story Lab; and The Design Thinking Lab. Within these labs, we create games and digital narratives and design interventions with and for youth. Ci3 is committed to empowering young people, conducting innovative research, and uncovering opportunities for policy and systemic change.

About ACCESS Community Health Network Chicago area’s largest provider of community health care?, Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) has 36 health centers, located throughout Chicago, Cook and DuPage counties, and serves as the medical home for more than 180?,000 patients each year. Founded in the early 1990’s, ACCESS is a federally-qualified health center (FQHC) organization accredited by The Joint ?Commission that strives to improve the health and wellness of our communities. The ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded translational research center. Opening its doors in 2016, the ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning convenes patients, community members, schools, public officials, academics, health providers and other stakeholders to develop solutions that will positively impact the total health of our communities.


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