Michael D. Barnes, PhD, MCHES, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Science
Computational health science, as we define it, represents the application of innovative computer science tools, including social media and data mining, to addressing health-‐ related questions and problems. With multidisciplinary student mentoring as our aim, we have established the BYU Computational Health Science Research Collaborative (CHeSRC), which integrates the analytical strengths and skills of health scientists and computer scientists, supported by complementary expertise from other researchers, practitioners, and disciplines as applicable (http://dml.cs.byu.edu/chs/). As stated on the CHeSRC website, our mission is to better understand how technology can affect human interactions and enhance supporting environments by conducting innovative research that will inform future practice directed at changing health behavior through improved communication, networking and social capital.
This MEG project involved students and faculty exploring ways in which social media could be integrated and analyzed using innovative computational health science tools to improve monitoring, tracking, and intervention of various health-‐related conditions.
For two years, we conducted weekly research meetings and short seminars of the form “Fast track to X for Y,” where X may be a topic in Computer Science, in which case Y is “health scientists” or X is a topic in Health Science/Psychology, in which case Y is “computer scientists.” These seminars allowed students to bring their own expertise to the group and become competent in the other subjects. We feel that this was essential to successful mentoring of students through the CHeSRC. We successfully launched a special Lecture Series in Computational Health Science (see http://dml.cs.byu.edu/chs/lectures.php), which offered us an opportunity to bring renowned experts to campus to interact with our students. Over the period of the MEG, we were able to successfully introduce ourselves and our students to five of the best known leaders of our field.
Members of our team have been collaborating (including students), notably in the discovery of health-‐related content and the role of communities. With this productivity and success, students from both departments h av e been exposed to a full range of scholarly experiences to include review of literature, project development, cross-‐ disciplinary techniques for creating appropriate algorithms for data collection and analysis, and participation in the oral and written expression of scholarly work. As stated earlier, students have had access to faculty mentors during weekly meetings. Students from both departments have worked with each other during intervals of time and brought their questions, products and solutions forward to the faculty mentor team. Mentoring involved highly interactive sessions that allowed students and faculty to ask questions, share resources and literature findings that will accelerate interdisciplinary relationships and prompt rich student learning. It also yielded many significant mentoring outcomes.
Impact of MEG-‐Funded Mentoring
Faculty and students involved in the multidisciplinary CHeSRC have a track record of success pursuing scholarly work. The past two years have greatly accelerated our productivity, including the publication of the following 15 articles (projects consistently involving undergraduate and graduates as authors, see underlined below).
• Hanson, C.L., Cannon, B., Burton, S., Giraud-‐Carrier, C. (2013). An exploration of social circles and prescription drug abuse through Twitter. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(9), e189.
• Burton, S.H., Tew, C.V., Cueva, S.S., Giraud-‐Carrier, C.G., Thackeray, R. (2013). Social Moms and Health: A Multi-‐platform Analysis of Mommy Communities. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining.
• Jashinsky, J., Burton, S., Hanson, C.L., West, J., Giraud-‐Carrier, C., Barnes, M., Argyle, T. (2013). Tracking Suicide Risk Factors through Twitter in the U.S. Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.
• Burton, S.H., Morris, R.G., Giraud-‐Carrier, C.G., West, J.H. and Thackeray, R. (2013). Mining Useful Association Rules from Questionnaire Data. Intelligent Data Analysis. 18(3), in press.
• Hanson, C.L., Burton, S., Giraud-‐Carrier, C., West, J., Barnes, M., and Hansen, B. (2013). Tweaking and Tweeting: Exploring Twitter for Nonmedical Use of a Psychostimulant Drug (Adderall) Among College Students. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 15(4):e62.
• Lee, J. and Giraud-‐Carrier, C. (2013). Results on Mining NHANES Data: A Case Study in Evidence-‐based Medicine. Computers in Biology and Medicine. 43(5):493-‐503
• Neiger, B., Thackeray, R., Burton, S., Giraud-‐Carrier, C., Fagen, M. (2013). Evaluating Social Media’s Capacity to Develop Engaged Audiences in Health Promotion Settings: Use of Twitter Metrics as a Case Study. Health Promotion Practice. 14(2), 157-‐162.
• Burton, S.H., Tanner, K.W., Giraud-‐Carrier, C.G., West, J.H. and Barnes M.D. (2012). “Right Time, Right Place Health” Health Communication on Twitter: Value and Accuracy of Location Information. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 14(6):e156 [PMID: 23154246]
• Burton, S.H., Tanner, K.W. and Giraud-‐Carrier, C.G. (2012). Leveraging Social Networks for Anytime-‐Anyplace Health Information. Network Modeling Analysis in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics. 1(4), 173-‐181.
• Hanson, C.L., Barrett, J., West, J., Barnes, M.D. (2012). Protecting public health in a social media world: Policy responses to online threats. Internet Journal of Public Health. 2(1).
• Neiger, B., Thackeray, R., West, J., Hanson, C.L., Barnes, M. (2012). Use of social media in health promotion: Purposes, key performance indicators and evaluation metrics. Health Promotion Practice. 13(2), 159-‐164.
• Thackeray, R., Neiger, B. L., Koch Smith, A., Van Wagenen, S. (2012). Adoption and Use of Social Media among State Health Departments. BMC Public Health, 12, 242.
• West, J.H., Hall, P.C., Prier, K., Hanson, C.L., Giraud-‐Carrier, C., Neeley, E.S., Barnes, M.D. (2012) Temporal variability of problem drinking on Twitter. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2(1), 43-‐48.
• Burton, S., Morris, R., Hansen, J., Dimond, M., Giraud-‐Carrier, C., West, J. Hanson, C. and Barnes, M. (2012). Public Health Community Mining in YouTube. In Proceedings of the Second ACM International Health Informatics Symposium, 81-‐90.
• West, J.H., Hall, P.C., Hanson, C.L., Barnes, M.D., Giraud-‐Carrier, C. and Barrett, J.S. (2012). There’s An App for That: Content Analysis of Paid Health & Fitness Apps. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 14(3):e72.
CHeSRC faculty have a solid track record of successful mentoring for both undergraduate and graduate students. Our eleven mentored students enjoyed the dynamics of the existing research environments of both departments. Such close association with professors and student researchers to acquire long-‐term learning skills. Our students are increasingly interested in the CHeSRC.
• Kyle Prier a BYU undergraduate student with experience in these areas was admitted to the leading School of Public Health (Johns Hopkins University). Kyle was reportedly hand-‐selected to the school to work in the Center for Media and Health to work with leading scholars in social media and health communication. According to Prier, this opportunity was due to his training and experience with the emerging work of CHeSRC.
• Scott Burton, a BYU doctoral student completed his PhD and was hired in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and BYU Idaho. Scott was the graduate student lead on numerous CHeSRC research projects including…
• Jared Jashinsky, a BYU undergraduate student was admitted to the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. Jared helped lead the CHeSRC study on suicide risk conversations in Twitter.
• Ben Cannon, BYU undergraduate student was admitted to the BYU Master of Public Health Program. Ben helped lead the CHeSRC study on prescription drug abuse social circles in Twitter.
In sum, the CHeSREC participants are grateful for the MEG funding provided by the university. These successes could not have been fully funded were it not for the support received. We are hopeful to continue these efforts through renewed funds in an expanded project.