Elihu Katz Colloquium: Raina M. Merchant, Penn Medicine

"Mining Digital Data to Improve Health"
22 Nov 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
ASC Only

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About the Talk

While it seems like a cliché to mention the profound impact of digital social media on everyday lives, there is indeed great substance in the opportunities these new media provide for understanding and shaping a culture of health. Health is shaped most by the behaviors, events, and circumstances that occur outside of traditional health care contact.

Social media offers a window into what people do in their day to day lives external to a healthcare provider visit. The online data reflecting patients' daily activities and social exposures has been termed the social mediome as a corollary to the genome, which is a collection of genetic data from our genes.

We discuss our experience collecting social media data from patients in a large health system, connecting those data with electronic health records and using this conception of the social mediome to understand and advance health.

About the Speaker

Dr. Raina M. Merchant is an Associate Vice President at Penn Medicine and an Associate Professor of emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has secondary appointments in the Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care. She is the Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health and Co-Director of the Penn National Clinician Scholars Program.

Dr. Merchant attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree, University of Chicago for Medical School, and the University of Pennsylvania for a Masters of Science in Health Policy Research and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. Her research is at the intersection of digital media and health. She has specifically conducted projects evaluating health behaviors and communication on digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, and Google. One of her projects in this area involves “banking language” through the development of a unique longitudinal database of social media data merged with health record data. Much of her work also bridges new technologies in the field of cardiovascular health and resuscitation science. In this context, she is the Director of the MyHeartMap Challenge, a social media and crowdsourcing project aimed at improving (automated external  defibrillator) AED access and awareness by engaging the public to serve as citizen scientist. Dr. Merchant is currently funded by the NIH and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as NEJM, JAMA, Circulation, and Health Affairs. Her work has been featured in Wired, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and others. She is a member of the editorial board of JAMA. She is an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow and was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of 10 young investigators likely to have a significant impact on the future of health and healthcare in the US.

Research Area: 
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