Blue Star Helps Health System Win $1.2 Million Grant to Create Web App

By Julia Briggs / 15 Dec 2015

Blue Star News

We are thrilled to be working with The MetroHealth System’s Compass Services on their exciting Positive Peers project. Three years ago, we collaborated with Compass Services to create a secure, non-searchable, password-protected online support system for people ages 18-34 living with HIV/AIDS, as featured on

Since then, the online group has grown to more than 60 members, eight times the number of patients who are able to attend Compass Services sessions regularly in person. The online meeting place has served as a venue for free-flowing discussion and support, and for sharing articles and other health related information.

Earlier this year, Compass Services at MetroHealth came back to us for guidance and creative thinking to take the concept a step further. The challenge: to create a social media app to be presented in their quest for a Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We here at Blue Star are pleased to report MetroHealth has been awarded one of only 10 grants across the U.S., and has tapped Blue Star, along with our partner, Blackbird Interactive, to create the application architecture.

The MetroHealth System’s Compass Services Awarded $1.2 million Grant to Create an App for Young People Living with HIV

(Cleveland) – The MetroHealth System’s Compass Services is the recipient of a $1.2 million grant from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create an app for young adults living with HIV. MetroHealth is one of 10 organizations across the U.S. to be awarded the funding.

The 10 demonstration projects were chosen based on proposals outlining innovative social media methods to identify, link, and retain HIV positive underserved, underinsured, hard-to-reach youth and young adults (ages 13-34) in HIV primary care and supportive services.

Compass Services, a support program offered at MetroHealth for people living with HIV/AIDS, will use the funding to create the Positive Peers App which will provide health management tools and a virtual community to connect people ages 16-34 living with HIV. The app will feature information, social networking and self-management tools to support HIV-related holistic care. Positive Peers will be made available to this young adult population at MetroHealth as a password-protected application, accessible only through a confidential registration process.

MetroHealth is partnering with two local Cleveland companies, Blue Star Design and Blackbird, to create the application architecture, content and tools for the Positive Peers App, which will support and improve retention in care and clinical outcomes for young patients living with HIV/AIDS. An evaluator from Kent State University’s School of Public Health will investigate the associations of user engagement and activation with self-management behavior, perceptions of stigma and retention in HIV care.

For more information about the grant and other winners, visit

For more information about Positive Peers, visit

About The MetroHealth System
The MetroHealth System is an essential health system committed to providing health care to everyone in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and improving the health of the community overall. Its 6,700 employees deliver care to everyone at its main campus, just west of downtown Cleveland, and at 18 other locations. It also provides health care at more than 30 additional sites in Cuyahoga County through the MetroHealth School Health Program and other community partnerships.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s only Level I Adult Trauma Center and only adult and pediatric burn center in the state of Ohio verified by the American Burn Association and the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. In the past year, MetroHealth provided more than one million patient visits in its hospital and health centers. MetroHealth also is an academic medical center committed to teaching and research; each of its active physicians holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. MetroHealth has earned Magnet status, which places it in the top 7% of all hospitals nationwide for nursing excellence.

MetroHealth’s mission is, “Leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery and teamwork.” For more information, visit

About Blue Star Design
Blue Star is a creative agency offering graphic design, branding, marketing and web services, with plenty of experience in B2B, B2C, healthcare, nonprofit, technology and education industries. Blue Star, established in 1999, is located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. For more information, visit

About Blackbird
Blackbird is a Cleveland digital marketing firm that combines award-winning design, acute knowledge of technology, and marketing know-how to turn ideas into digital experiences that your audience will love.

Blackbird designs websites, develops web and mobile apps, and devises digital marketing strategies that help you attract and engage with customers.


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