Motivational Interviewing for Getting Healthy Today


MIGHTY (Motivational Interviewing for Getting Healthy Today) is a research project testing whether a type of health coaching called motivational interviewing can help young men set and reach their health goals.
Each guy in the study will be assigned to one of two groups, Fitness or TPP. Both groups will receive motivational interviewing coaching to help them set and reach their own health goals.

  • Guys in the Fitness group will focus on nutrition, physical activity, and/or smoking.
  • Guys in the TPP group will focus on sexual and reproductive health.


We want to support young men in making positive changes for their own health, specifically around nutrition, physical activity, smoking, and avoiding becoming a father before they’re ready. We want to see whether motivational interviewing coaching and the use of a smartphone app can help young men set and reach their goals.


MIGHTY is a Columbia University research project. The lead researchers have years of experience in young men’s health and using motivational interviewing to help young people reach their health goals.

Most importantly, every part of the study – from the app to the surveys to this very website – was designed by our research team with the help of young men like you.


We are recruiting patients of three health centers in NYC: the Young Men’s Clinic at 21 Audubon, and the School-Based Health Centers at JFK Educational Campus and George Washington Educational Campus.


You can take part in the study starting April 2018.

What’s involved in the study?

There are two parts of the study:

Each guy in the study will get four 30-40 minute sessions of one-on-one coaching with a health coach over 12 weeks (3 months). Each coaching session will be focused on you and your personal goals. You can have the coaching sessions by phone or video call.

The MIGHTY app is designed to support your coaching sessions and help you set and meet your goals. You can use the app to answer surveys, complete activities about goals and values, and learn more about healthy behaviors.

Who can participate?

To be eligible for the MIGHTY study, you must meet the following criteria:
  • A guy between the ages of 15 and 24
  • Enrolled as a patient at one of the following: Young Men’s Clinic School-Based Health Center at George Washington Educational Campus School-Based Health Center at JFK Educational Campus
  • Sexually active with at least one female partner in the last 3 months
  • Not planning to try for pregnancy with a partner in the next 3 months
  • Have an iPhone running iOS 10.0 or later
  • Able to read and speak English
  • Able to commit to a 12-week study


(Questions we’ve been asked by guys like you)

What is motivational interviewing?

Motivational interviewing is a way of talking about your health and goals that lets you set the agenda and decide what’s most important to you. After all, you know yourself better than anyone, and you’re the best judge of what’s right for you! Your coach will help you talk through your goals and behaviors, and support you to create a change plan that makes sense for your life.

Am I just going to get lectured about what some doctor thinks I should be doing?

Definitely not! Your coach’s role is to help you understand your goals and how to get there. You decide what’s important and what changes are right for you.

Can I choose which group I’m in?

No. You will be randomly assigned (like flipping a coin) to either Fitness or TPP. Remember, you’ll get the same coaching and be doing the same activities no matter which group you end up in, just focusing on different topics.

I don’t have a lot of free time – how can I make this work with my busy schedule?

We understand that you’ve got a lot going on. That’s why the MIGHTY study makes it easy for you to participate. Everything is done right on your phone – you never have to come in for an appointment or fill out a bunch of paperwork.

You’ll have 4 coaching sessions over the phone over the course of 12 weeks, each taking about 30-45 minutes. Your coach will work with you to schedule these sessions at times that work for you.

In addition to your coaching sessions, you’ll be asked to complete a few surveys on the app. Some surveys are short and sweet, taking just a couple minutes to complete; a couple are longer and might take you 30-35 minutes. The longer the survey, the more you earn for completing it.

What about privacy? Who all is going to see my information?

Your participation is confidential – that means we won’t tell anyone you’re involved in the study, and your name won’t be connected to your survey answers. Instead, you’ll receive an ID code that’s different from everyone else who takes part. Only certain members of our study team will be able to see your name and ID code. You can even set a passcode for the MIGHTY app so that you’re the only person who can open it, even if someone else uses your phone.

Will I get paid?

Yes. You can earn up to $125 by completing surveys over the 12 weeks.

Is this going to change how I’m treated at the clinic?

No. Your choice to participate or not will not affect the treatment you receive from the medical staff or other staff at the Young Men’s Clinic or the School-Based Health Centers at JFK or GW. If you decide to participate, we will not share any of your personal information or survey answers with the staff at the health center(s) where you’re a patient.

How can I find out more?

Click the link below to email us. We’re happy to talk to you by email or phone about any questions you have.

How do I sign up?

Click the link below to email us, and we’ll be in touch to get you started.

Email us!