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Social Technologies for Predicting and Changing Health Behavior


FEBRUARY 3, 2023

Sean Young, PhD, MS
Executive Director, University of California Institute for Prediction Technology
Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, University of California, Irvine

About the Presentation: Social technologies and their data are increasingly being used as tools in public health research and practice. Examples include social media, mobile apps, internet searches, and wearable sensors. Four and a half billion people (more than half of the world) use social media sites to create, share, and discuss content—often in the form of personal thoughts, behaviors, and clinical diagnoses. I will discuss how social technologies and data (e.g., artificial intelligence and data science modeling) are being used to impact public health and how researchers and health departments/agencies might apply them in public health surveillance/intervention efforts. I will also present our team’s research on how these tools can be employed to predict and change health behaviors, and on implementation-related issues such as policy and ethical questions. The studies to be discussed involve populations affected by HIV, mental health and substance use disorders, car crashes, or COVID-19.

About the Presenter: Sean D. Young, Ph.D., M.S., is executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT) and a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, and the Department of Informatics, at the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice within the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. His research focuses on: (1) using social big data to monitor and predict public health issues such as HIV, substance use, suicide, and public safety/crime; and (2) designing and testing technologies to address public health and medical issues among populations experiencing health disparities, including African Americans, Latinxs, and men who have sex with men (MSM). He earned his doctorate in psychology and his master’s degrees in psychology and in health services research from Stanford University.