Behavioral Health Innovations Lab's Ongoing Studies

Smoking and Vaping Cessation

close up of hands holding a mobile phone with a cessation app showing on the screen

E-STOP (R01 CA258669)

Cigarette smoking causes 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States, of which 36% are due to cancer. Two-thirds of individuals who smoke want to quit, but fewer than one-third make a quit attempt using an evidence-based approach. Consequently, fewer than one in ten individuals who smoke report quitting successfully in the last year. Comprehensive dissemination strategies are needed to increase utilization of evidence-based cessation treatments and improve cessation rates. The E-STOP study is evaluating a proactive, telehealth approach to improving access to high quality smoking cessation treatment within MUSC’s primary care and family medicine clinics.

Study Contact: Noelle Natale (

INSPIRE (R01 CA268023)

Residents of rural areas are both more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit than their urban counterparts. Consequently, individuals in rural areas have a 7% higher incidence of tobacco-associated cancers. Comprehensive smoking cessation treatment dissemination strategies are needed to increase utilization of evidence-based treatment, improve cessation outcomes, and ultimately decrease cancer incidence among residents of rural areas who smoke cigarettes. The INSPIRE study is partnering with rural primary care and family medicine clinics across South Carolina to evaluate a proactive, telehealth approach to the delivery of comprehensive smoking cessation treatment.

Study Contact: Katherine Bullard (

Telehealth Strategies for Improving Early and Accurate COPD Identification (U66RH31458)

In partnership with MUSC’s Center of Excellence in Telehealth, our team has an ongoing program of research that focuses on extending the reach of early and accurate identification of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease which disproportionately impacts individuals who smoke cigarettes. This work has included development of an integrated system to facilitate remote completion of home spirometry that pairs a Bluetooth home spirometry device with REDCap.

Study Contact: Sarah Reilly (

VapeX (R41 DA053856)

The prevalence of vaping nicotine (i.e., e-cigarette use) has skyrocketed among adolescents in recent years, rising from near zero in 2011 to 27.8% in 2019. These rapid increases in adolescent vaping led the Surgeon General in 2018 to declare adolescent e-cigarette use an epidemic. The purpose of this line of research is to develop and evaluate a digital health intervention, called “VapeX,” to help adolescents who are vaping nicotine quit. VapeX specifically seeks to improve mood to make it easier to quit vaping.

Study Contact: Olivia Levins (

Depression Treatment

close up of hands holding a mobile phone with an app showing a list of options on the screen


Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Most adults with depressive symptoms make at least one annual visit to a primary care provider. As such, primary care offers a ripe opportunity to identify and treat adults with depressive symptoms. Yet, depression has historically been undertreated in primary care and more than two-thirds of U.S. adults who screen positive for depression do not receive treatment.

Mobile health (mHealth) technologies, and specifically mobile apps, offer an ideal strategy to meet the need for evidence-based psychological treatment via primary care. To address the need for disseminable, evidence-based depression treatment resources within primary care, our team developed and is evaluating Moodivate, a self-directed mobile app treatment based on brief behavioral activation treatment for depression. This work is in partnership with MUSC’s primary care and family medicine clinics.

Study Contact: Katherine Bullard (

Depression Treatment for Individuals Living with Likely Incurable Cancer

Individuals living with advanced cancer experience high rates of depression but oftentimes have limited treatment options. The goal of this line of work is to evaluate a proactive model of care for connecting individuals with advanced cancer to digital depression treatment resources. This work is in partnership with various oncology clinics within MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and is supported by a pilot grant award from Hollings.

Study Contact: Olivia Levins (

Decentralized Clinical Trial Methods

close up of a hand holding a mobile phone with a blood pressure app showing on the screen


Decentralized clinical trials aim to increase access to clinical trials by bringing trials to participants rather than bringing participants to trial sites. However, these trials face a key methodological limitation: the need for biomarker collection. Biomarkers often serve as important trial outcomes and/or are used as adjuncts to patient-reported outcomes. Over the last decade, a multitude of Bluetooth-enabled remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices have become available which could allow researchers to capture trial-relevant biomarkers remotely.

The goal of this line of research is to develop, refine, and evaluate an integrated digital RPM solution for decentralized trials (“MyTrials”). To accomplish this goal, we will leverage REDCap, an online research data capture system that is freely available to research institutions. MyTrials will have the ability to be deployed across institutions using REDCap and used either with a single RPM device or with multiple devices.

Study Contact: Sarah Reilly (