Growing up in a rural, low-income setting, access to information was sparse. The internet and social media are unprecedented resources that have the potential to give voice to people and democratize access to information.

My research focuses on how people use online media to locate information and support for sensitive, stigmatized health issues. To do so, I develop and apply data science methods (machine learning, natural language processing, and time series modeling) to digital data (search engines, social media) to monitor online information seeking to yield novel insights for public health resources.

Currently, I am an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego. I have a PhD in Systems & Information Engineering with postdoctoral training in public health. I am also a Virginia Commonwealth Fellow, Jefferson Fellow, UVA StatLab Fellow, and UVA Presidential Fellow in Data Science. I work with experts across computer science and public health including Drs. John Ayers, Mark Dredze, Eric Leas, and Steffanie Strathdee.

My work includes the domains of substance use, reproductive health, sexual health, mental health, health disparities, and health literacy. My work has been featured in journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), JAMA Internal Medicine, Nature Digital Medicine, and Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and in news outlets such as CNN, BBC, and NPR.

Research areas: data science, human-computer interaction, online communities, public health surveillance