In the United States (U.S.), there are serious and persistent disparities in health outcomes. Socioeconomic status is predictive of mortality and disease, with low-SES households disproportionately experiencing the poorest health outcomes. This inequality is due in large part to social determinants of health—social, physical, and economic conditions that make it more challenging to achieve wellness in low-SES communities. Disruptive innovations are sorely needed to reduce health disparities. Technology, with its growing ubiquity and ability to provide engaging, informative, and empowering experiences for people, presents exciting opportunities for health equity research. However, there has been little Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research examining how software tools should be designed to facilitate health equity in the U.S. by addressing the social determinants of health.
In this talk, I will present a set of case studies demonstrating how the Wellness Technology Lab is pursuing technology-driven social change through health promotion. These case studies explore how social, mobile, and civic technology can help low-SES communities to both cope with barriers to wellness and address these barriers directly. Using findings from this research, I will articulate opportunities and challenges for a community wellness informatics agenda within HCI.
Andrea Grimes Parker is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, with joint appointments in the College of Computer & Information Science and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. She holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in Computer Science from Northeastern University.
Dr. Parker is the director of the Wellness Technology Lab at Northeastern University. This interdisciplinary research group spans the domains of human-computer interaction (HCI), personal health informatics, and public health to examine how social and ubiquitous computing systems can help reduce ethnic, racial and socio-economic health disparities. Much of her research has focused on the design of interactive systems that help neighborhoods care for themselves, and systems that encourage adolescent and family-based behavior change.
Dr. Parker’s research has yielded best paper nominations at CHI and CSCW and she has served on technical program committees for the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) top HCI conferences, including CHI, CSCW and Ubicomp. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Aetna Foundation. Dr. Parker served as the National Evaluator for the Aetna Foundation’s portfolio of projects on mobile health interventions in community settings. She is currently Technical Program Committee Co-Chair for Pervasive Health 2017.