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The overarching goal of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School Roybal Center for Therapeutic Optimization using Behavioral Science is to develop principle-driven interventions to enhance the evidence-based use of prescription medications. The Center is directed by C4HDS Executive Director, Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD, and is overseen by an Executive Committee that includes Jerry Avorn, MD (BWH/Harvard), Punam Keller, PhD (Dartmouth), Wendy Wood, PhD (USC), Elad Yom-Tov, PhD (Microsoft Research Labs), and Ted Robertson, MPA (ideas42).

roybal projects

The Roybal Center for Therapeutic Optimization Using Behavioral Science is supported by National Institute on Aging, Grant # P30AG064199.

To see our Roybal affiliated publications, visit  Roybal Publications.

The structure and activities of the BWH Roybal Center are based on 4 key principles: 

  1. a multi-disciplinary approach integrating collaborators with expertise in medication use, theory-based behavioral science, implementation research, and data science

  2. the testing of principle-driven interventions in real-world settings

  3. the explicit testing of mechanisms of action for each intervention

  4. the use of novel analytic methods and technological approaches to gain a deeper understanding of behavior and to facilitate the creation of interventions that are both personalized but applicable to population health improvement

The NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research supports several Roybal Centers across the nation, as well as a Coordinating Center

Reinforcement learning to personalize message framing for health habits (REINFORCE)

Key Personnel: Julie Lauffenburger, PharmD, PhD; Elad Yom-Tov, PhD, MA; Punam Keller, PhD, MBA; Marie McDonnel, MD; Robert Glynn, PhD, ScD; Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD

This project conducted a randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of using reinforcement learning, a machine-learning based approach, to optimize and personalize medication adherence health communication for patients with diabetes. 

Using Cues and Rewards in Patients with Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease

Key Personnel: Candace Feldman, MD, MPH, ScD; Wendy Wood, PhD; Ted Robertson, MPA; Nancy Haff, MD, MPH; Julie Lauffenburger, PharmD, PhD; Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD

This project evaluated the effectiveness of the cue-reward-repetition method to promote medication-taking habit formation for patients with rheumatic conditions.

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