User Engagement with Mental Health Apps and Health Outcomes

Project Lead: Alice Zhang

Collaborators: CBITs

Mobile technology has become a crucial medium for delivering health interventions and supporting behavior change. IntelliCare is a suite of 13 mobile apps targeting depression and anxiety developed by CBITS. A field trial and a randomized controlled trial (RCT) have been conducted since 2016 to evaluate the efficacy of InteliCare. We conducted semi-structured interviews with IntelliCare users to understand how they used and adapted these apps to attain their goals. Additionally, we drew on system usage data to analyze how different patterns of use predicted improvement in depression and anxiety.

Exploring how the homeless youth experience trust and community to better aid their connections to mental health resources

Project Lead: Angela Smith

Collaborators: CBITs

As part of the Delany Grant, we, along with CBITS, are looking to develop an enhanced understanding of the relationship among the mental health needs of homeless youth, their experiences about trusting others as well as technology, and their use and satisfaction with one form of support (health services). This research study will examine the attitudes of homeless youth and better understand their connections with others to inform technological tools to facilitate connection and improve health. We hope these groups will inform efforts to improve the health and mental health of homeless youth through digital tools and resources.

Alice Zhang’s paper accepted by ECSCW

Alice Renwen Zhang is going to present her work on online depression communities at the 16th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work in Nancy, France.

Her paper Online Support Groups for Depression in China: Culturally Shaped Interactions and Motivations, in collaboration with Jordan Eschler and Madhu Reddy, was accepted as a long paper at ECSCW (acceptance rate < 15%). This paper has also been published in the journal Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and can be found here.

Ada Ng to speak at Anxiety Tech 2018 in San Francisco – July 18

Our own Ada Ng will be giving a talk titled UX of Wearables in Clinical Treatment for PTSD at Anxiety Tech this summer in San Francisco, CA on July 18th, 2018. The conference will take place at The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre at 3301 Lyon Street. Register today!

Why Anxiety Tech?
Mental health affects all of us, regardless of our career, gender, lifestyle, or hobbies. Similarly, technology affects all of us as well, whether we are on the frontlines, designing and programming, or simply using and engaging with it. By coming to Anxiety Tech, you will learn how to advocate for mental health at work, how technology can be better designed to support mental health, what technologies are already working to help those who suffer with mental illnesses, and how you or your company can be leaders in this field.

Come Find us at CHI in Montreal!

PITCH-ers Angela Smith, Ashley Walker, and Ada Ng will be attending CHI 2018 in Montreal, Canada.

Angela Smith was accepted to the 3rd annual CHI Mentoring (CHIMe) Symposium, a two-day workshop designed to bring together a unique, talented group of researchers to discuss aspects such as culture, socio-economic background, gender, race, physical and mental abilities, etc., and their incorporation in the systems that we build and study.  Given HCI’s focus on both computing, design, and people, there is a clear argument for the development of diverse researchers who bring to bear a wide range of experiences in their approaches to problem-solving. CHI Mentoring (CHIMe) was designed to do exactly that.

Ashley Walker‘s position paper “A Social Ecological Model of Privacy” was accepted to Networked Privacy workshop.
The goal of this one-day workshop is to promote important discussions in the CHI community around the varied privacy needs and expectations of users, and rethink the “one-size fits all” approach to privacy. These issues are especially important for diverse populations, including people from different cultural backgrounds and users of various age ranges. We will invite leading researchers from the HCI community, social sciences and other diverse backgrounds to work collaboratively to develop viable solutions that will support users’ individual differences in privacy.

Ada Ng was invited to speak about her work “Veterans’ Perspectives on Fitbit Use in Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Interview Study” at the 3rd Symposium on Computing and Mental Health.
The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental illnesses will be the leading disease burden globally. Advances in technology create opportunities for close collaboration between computation and mental health researchers. The intersection between ubiquitous computing and sensing, social media, data analytics and emerging technologies offers promising avenues for developing technologies to help those in mental distress. Yet for these to be useful and usable, human-centered design and evaluation will be essential. The third in our series of Symposia on Computing and Mental Health will provide an opportunity for researchers to come together under the auspices of CHI to discuss the design and evaluation of new mental health technologies. Our emphasis is on understanding users and how to increase engagement with these technologies in daily life.

Ada will also be speaking on her “Designing Digital Treatment for Eating Disorders in Military Personnel” abstract which was  accepted to the Designing Recipes for Digital Food Lifestyles workshop.
This workshop seeks to extend the existing HFI research by addressing personal, socio-political, and environmental consequences of digital food lifestyles. More specifically, our focus is on digital technologies used in food making (e.g. ‘smart’ kitchenware, digital and Machine Learning cookbooks; diet planning (e.g. diet tracking devices and personalized nutrition services); food sharing (food sharing apps and IoT sensors); dining (e.g. social dining services and interactive dining tools); and also food play (celebratory technology, food based games). While approaching digital food cultures as a contested area navigated by stakeholders from corporate, governmental, as well as private and NGO sector, we want to critically unpack issues surrounding digital food technologies, and address questions such as: What advantages and challenges does digital food technology bring into the day-to-day lives of users? What are the present digital food trends and controversies and how will they look in the near future? How can HCI help scaffold these developments and support playful but also sustainable, safe, and just digital food practices? 

Angela Smith accepted into Cornell’s Summer School on Designing Technology for Social Impact

PITCH lab member Angela Smith has been invited to attend Cornell’s Summer School, a week-long workshop that will take place on the Ithaca campus of Cornell University. Rising seniors and graduate students from various disciplines have been invited to provide lessons from science & technology studies, technology design, and the arts to analyze the values embodied in technology design and to design technologies to promote alternative perspectives and positive social impact.

Check back to see what Angela’s has learned and how she’s incorporated it into her research (and also for photos!). Until then, check out more about the program here.

Ada Ng receives Honorable Mention for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

From the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship news announcement:

April 3, 2018

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) has announced the offer of 2,000 fellowship awards, following a national competition.

The program recruits high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and supports their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Launched in 1952 shortly after Congress established NSF, GRFP represents the nation’s oldest continuous investment in the U.S. STEM workforce.

“To support U.S. leadership and innovation in science and engineering, we must recognize and nurture talent from all of our nation’s communities,” said Jim Lewis, NSF acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources. “I am pleased that again this year, the competition has selected talented students from all economic backgrounds and all demographic categories. In addition, NSF worked successfully to accommodate students from U.S. islands devastated by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, so that they could still compete for a fellowship.”

The new awardees were selected from more than 12,000 applicants and come from all 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Honorable mention recognition went to 1,459 individuals.

The group of 2,000 awardees is diverse, including 1,156 women, 461 individuals from underrepresented minority groups, 75 persons with disabilities, 27 veterans and 780 who have not yet enrolled in graduate school. These awardees did their undergraduate studies at more than 443 institutions, ranging from small undergraduate, minority-serving, tribal and community colleges, to large state or private universities and Ivy League institutions.

About GRFP

GRFP is a critical program in NSF’s overall strategy to develop a globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation. Former NSF fellows make transformative breakthroughs in STEM, are leaders in their chosen careers, and have been honored as Nobel laureates. A hallmark of GRFP is its contribution to increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce, including geographic distribution, as well as the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans.

GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period — $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM field.

Fellows have opportunities for international research collaborations through the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) initiative and professional career development with federal internships provided through the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP). GRFP also supports NSF’s Career-Life Balance (CLB) initiative.

Ada Ng’s Research Featured in Report by RWJF on Integration of Patient-Generated Data into Mental Health Care for Veterans

PITCH Lab’s Ada Ng, Madhu Reddy, and Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies’ (CBITs) Stephen Schueller participated in a series of innovation workshops hosted by Reos Partners funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in order to explore the use of patient-generated data in the clinical space. We investigated challenges and opportunities to the integration of wearable data through the lens of Ng’s research on the use of Fitbits in the treatment of veterans with PTSD.

We invite you to read the report here.
For a deeper overview, check out Reos Partner’s post here.

News Coverage on PITCH Lab Students Competing in AMIA Student Design Challenge

Northwestern News recently featured PITCH lab members — Eleanor Burgess, Ada Ng, and Angela Smith — who took second place in the Student Design Challenge hosted by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) in November 2017.

Here is the news report:

The team from Northwestern and OHSU at the 2017 AMIA Symposium.