Current Research Projects

Digital Support for Black Women’s Maternal Mental Health

COVID-19 is profoundly impacting pregnant women and new mothers. As the COVID-19 pandemic has caused models of healthcare to rapidly shift and as introduced widespread economic and social stressors, there is a vital need for innovations that help expecting women and new mothers manage their mental health, given that prenatal and postpartum stress threatens the wellbeing of the mother and child. Research is especially needed in the context of Black women, who have the highest rates of adverse maternal health outcomes (e.g., maternal mortality and maternal depression), lower utilization of and access to prenatal care, and significant lifetime and chronic stress exposure.

With funding from a Georgia Tech seed grant, this project is using qualitative and quantitative methods to examine Black women’s experiences with digital mental health supports amidst COVID-19, and opportunities for improved digital support in the future.

COVID-19 Information Seeking in Vulnerable Populations

Information-seeking online has become a crucial lifeline for many individuals as they search for knowledge and resources to counteract a myriad of social, health, safety, and financial COVID-19 challenges. However, exposure to pandemic-related information can actually have negative impacts on wellbeing, for example, through access to content that increases anxiety amidst existing stressors. This Google-funded project is investigating patterns and impacts of COVID-19 information seeking amongst underserved and marginalized populations.

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Experiential Learning Technologies for Family Fitness

Thumbnail for projectWe designed a sensor-based physical activity tracking tools to support healthy behaviors for children in low-income families. We work closely with families to target the application more directly at their needs while adding features to support “experiential learning”—the idea that reflecting on concrete past experiences can help people develop insights that guide their future behavior. This project received a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

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Social Computing Supports for Youth Civic Engagement

Youth Advocacy ThumbnailThis project is about designing technology tools with the aim of empowering teenagers to become health advocates to address health disparities in their communities. We have done participatory observations to understand the challenges that youth advocacy organizations face.

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Previous Work

Community-Driven Technologies for Family Physical Activity Promotion

Thumbnail SHLSedentary living is one major contributing factor to childhood obesity; as such, interventions that help young children increase their physical activity levels are needed. Involving parents in these interventions is critical, given parents’ influence on children’s physical activity environments and the powerful impact they have as role models. The project seeks to increase physical activity within the family unit, that is, in both parents and young children.

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Digital Support for Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers

AD Project ThumbnailThe number of informal caregivers who are caring for family members with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is rising dramatically. These caregivers have numerous mental and physical health problems associated with the burdens of care. In this project, we are developing a digital game to increase physical activity and social connections for the AD caregivers.

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#MeToo: The Networked Disclosure Landscape of Twitter

MeToo Project ThumbnailFollowing a tweet from actress Alyssa Milano calling on women to share the phrase “me too” if they have been sexually harassed or assaulted, thousands of women disclosed experiences of sexual violence, sometimes for the first time, through the hashtag #MeToo. To understand the landscape painted by these disclosures and the effect of disclosing these experiences publicly, we study the conversational social network that emerged around the #MeToo.

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mHealth Systematic Review

Poster ThumbnailThere has been a proliferation of research examining how mobile health (mHealth) applications can encourage wellness. A growing focus of this work has been exploring how mHealth tools can promote healthy behaviors within vulnerable populations. We conducted a systematic review of such research, examining the design and impact of mHealth tools for low-socioeconomic individuals and racial/ethnic minority groups. Our findings highlight trends that can drive critically needed digital innovations in health promotion for populations that experience disproportionate barriers to wellness.

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Click here for more information on our completed projects.