Tips4Health (T4H)

An interactive, personalized, text-messaging program to help participants prevent cancer and lead a healthy life.

T4H is a nationally available resource that was created by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the CHCR. Participants get several texts per week for about 6 weeks. Text messages include healthy tips, strategies to stay on track, and check-ins.

T4H Programs

There are 4 programs to choose from and participants can enroll in as many as they want:

  1. Eat healthier
  2. Be more active
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Get screened for colorectal cancer (CRC)

Version 1 - 2016

The first version of T4H included the 3 primary programs:

  1. Eating healthy
  2. Exercising more
  3. Quitting smoking

Version 2 - 2017

The second version of T4H added a new program to promote screening for colorectal cancer (CRC). It targets people age 50 and older at average risk for developing colon cancer and encourages them to get a colonoscopy or complete a home stool test.

The CRC program includes interactive text messages and additional educational components on a dedicated website. The website contains information and video stories related to:

  • Getting checked
  • What tests are available
  • How to pay for testing
  • How to overcome barriers to getting tested

The text messages and website content were highly tailored to each participant’s testing preference, as well as their barriers and motivators to getting tested.

The CRC screening program was built on findings from an earlier project called Inside Health led by Dr. Ken Resnicow. Inside Health used a tailored print newsletter to encourage CRC screening in an African Americans in Detroit.

Version 3 - 2019

The third version of T4H included a few updates:

  • Text messages for the healthy eating, exercise, and quit smoking programs was updated to align with new messages released by NCI
  • Created 2 new versions of the quit smoking program:
    • 1 focused on patients in the University of Medicine system
    • 1 focused on patients in rural clinics in Michigan
    • These versions are very similar to the original program, with modifications to deliver these patients more relevant resources and follow-up
  • Added a new feature to allow healthcare providers or clinic staff to send a welcome text directly to potential patient participants inviting them to enroll
  • CHCR redesigned the T4H website for easier dissemination among healthcare providers and patients, as well as more efficient enrollment

Yallah Quit - 2020

This version of T4H uses culturally specific, bilingual messaging to help the Muslim community quit smoking during Ramadan. Southeast Michigan is home to some of the largest Middle Eastern and North African populations in the US.

We partnered with the Dearborn-based organization ACCESS – the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the US – to update T4H smoking cessation messages to create a campaign called Yallah Quit. Yallah is Arabic for “Let’s go!” We worked closely with community stakeholders at ACCESS to modify messaging to ensure relevance and cultural humility. For example, smoking hookah is a social activity that is sometimes considered less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, though both increase cancer risk significantly.