Joining Drexel

As of 6/1/2019, I will be joining Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Human-Centered Computing.

Consumer Health Informatics Adoption among Underserved Populations: Thinking beyond the Digital Divide

Consumer Health Informatics Adoption among Underserved Populations: Thinking beyond the Digital Divide

Authors: Huh, Jina; Koola, Jejo; Contreras, Alejandro; Castillo, Alanah KP.; Ruiz, Melissa; Tedone, Keely G.; Yakuta, Melissa; Schiaffino, Melody K.

Objectives: Underserved populations can benefit from consumer health informatics (CHI) that promotes self-management at a lower cost. However, prior literature suggested that the digital divide and low motivation constituted barriers to CHI adoption. Despite increased Internet use, underserved populations continue to show slow CHI uptake. The aim of the paper is to revisit barriers and facilitators that may impact CHI adoption among underserved populations.

Methods: We surveyed the past five years of literature. We searched PubMed for articles published between 2012 and 2017 that describe empirical evaluations involving CHI use by under- served populations. We abstracted and summarized data about facilitators and barriers impacting CHI adoption.
Results: From 645 search results, after abstract and full-text screening, 13 publications met the inclusion criteria of identify- ing barriers to and facilitators of underserved populations’ CHI adoption. Contrary to earlier literature, the studies suggested that the motivation to improve health literacy and adopt technology was high among studied populations. Beyond the

digital divide, barriers included: low health and computer literacy, challenges in accepting the presented information, poor usability, and unclear content. Factors associated with increased use were: user needs for information, user-access mediated by a proxy person, and early user engagement in system design.

Conclusions: While the digital divide remains a barrier, newer studies show that high motivation for CHI use exists. However, simply gaining access to technology is not sufficient to improve adoption unless CHI technology is tailored to address user needs. Future interventions should consider building larger empirical evidence on identifying CHI barriers and facilitators.

Medical informatics applications, consumer health information, ethnic groups, socioeconomic factors, minority groups, health disparities

Yearb Med Inform 2018:146-55


Rejoining MSU

As of 4/15/2018, I am excited to be rejoining the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. I will live in San Diego, CA and travel to Michigan.

Towards Supporting Patient Decision-making In Online Diabetes Communities

Towards Supporting Patient Decision-making In Online Diabetes Communities

Authors: Jing Zhang, Rebecca Marmor, Jina Huh

Accepted at AMIA 2017, Washington DC


As of 2014, 29.1 million people in the US have diabetes. Patients with diabetes have evolving information needs around complex lifestyle and medical decisions. As their conditions progress, patients need to sporadically make decisions by understanding alternatives and comparing options. These moments along the decision-making process present a valuable opportunity to support their information needs. An increasing number of patients visit online diabetes communities to fulfill their information needs. To understand how patients attempt to fulfill the information needs around decision-making in online communities, we reviewed 801 posts from an online diabetes community and included 79 posts for in-depth content analysis. The findings revealed motivations for posters’ inquiries related to decision-making including the changes in disease state, increased self-awareness, and conflict of information received. Medication and food were the among the most popular topics discussed as part of their decision-making inquiries. Additionally, We present insights for automatically identifying those decision-making inquiries to efficiently support information needs presented in online health communities.

Toward Predicting Social Support Needs in Online Health Social Networks

Our paper on identifying features critical for predicting social support needs in online health communities have been accepted to the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Min-Je Choi, Sung-Hee Kim, Sukwon Lee, et al. 2017. Toward Predicting Social Support Needs in Online Health Social Networks. Journal of Medical Internet Research (forthcoming).


Background: While online health social networks (OHSNs) serve as an effective platform for patients to fulfill their various social support needs, predicting the needs of users and providing tailored information remains a challenge.

Objective: The objective of this study is to discriminate important features for identifying users’ social support needs based on knowledge gathered from survey data. This study also provides guidelines for a technical framework which can be used to predict users’ social support needs based on raw data collected from OHSNs.

Methods: We initially conducted an online survey with 184 OHSN users. From this survey data, we extracted 34 features based on five categories: (1) demographics, (2) reading behavior, (3) posting behavior, (4) perceived roles in OHSNs, and (5) values sought in OHSNs. Features from the first four categories were used as variables for binary classification. For the prediction outcomes, we used features from the last category: the needs for emotional support, experience-based information, unconventional information, and medical facts. We compared 5 binary classifier algorithms: Gradient Boosting Tree, Random Forest, Decision Tree, Support Vector Machines, and Logistic Regression. We then calculated the scores of the area under the ROC curve (AUC) to understand the comparative effectiveness of the used features.

Results: The best performance was AUC scores of 0.89 for predicting users seeking emotional support, 0.86 for experience-based information, 0.80 for unconventional information, and 0.83 for medical facts. With the gradient boosting tree as our best performing model, we analyzed the strength of individual features in predicting one’s social support need. Among other discoveries, we discovered that users seeking emotional support tend to post more in OHSNs compared to others.

Conclusions: We developed an initial framework for automatically predicting social support needs in OHSNs using survey data. Future work should involve non-survey data to evaluate the feasibility of the framework. Our study contributes to providing personalized social support in OHSNs.

Increase in Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Conversation Online Unrelated to Decision-Making

Our paper led by Rebecca Marmor has been accepted to the Journal of Surgical Research [impact factor: 2.198]:

Rebecca A. Marmor, MD, MAS; Wenrui Dai, PhD; Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD; Shuang Wang, PhD; Sarah L Blair, MD; Jina Huh, PhD

Increase in Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Conversation Online Unrelated to Decision-Making

Background: The increased uptake of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) among breast cancer patients remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that the increased rate of CPM is represented in conversations on an online breast cancer community and may contribute to patients choosing this operation.

Methods: We downloaded 328,763 posts and their dates of creation from an online breast cancer community from August 1, 2000 to May 22, 2016. We then performed a keyword search to identify posts which mentioned breast cancer surgeries: contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (n=7,095), mastectomy (n=10,889) and lumpectomy (n=9,694). We graphed the percentage of CPM-related, lumpectomy-related and mastectomy-related conversations over time. We also graphed the frequency of posts which mentioned multiple operations over time. Finally, we performed a qualitative study to identify factors influencing the observed trends.

Results: Surgically-related posts (e.g., mentioning at least one operation) made up a small percentage (n=27,678; 8.4%) of all posts on this community. The percentage of surgically related posts mentioning CPM was found to increase over time, whereas the percentage of *Revision version w/ Markings surgically-related posts mentioning mastectomy decreased over time. Among posts that mentioned more than one operation, mastectomy and lumpectomy were the procedures most commonly mentioned together, followed by mastectomy and CPM. There was no change over time in the frequency of posts that mentioned more than one operation. Our qualitative review found that the majority of posts mentioning a single operation were unrelated to surgical decision-making; rather the operation was mentioned only in the context of the patient’s cancer history. Conversely, the majority of posts mentioning multiple operations centered around the patients’ surgical decision-making process.

Conclusions: CPM-related conversation is increasing on this online breast cancer community, while mastectomy-related conversation is decreasing. These results appear to be primarily informed by patients reporting the types of operations they have undergone, and thus appear to correspond to the known increased uptake of CPM.

FamilyLog: A Mobile System for Monitoring Family Mealtime Activities

Our work on acoustic sensing mechanism led by Chuongguang Bi and Guoliang Xing on the SHINE system has been published in 2017 IEEE Pervasive Computing. [link to the paper]

FamilyLog: A Mobile System for Monitoring Family Mealtime Activities

Research has shown that family mealtime plays a critical role in establishing good relationships among family members and maintaining their physical and mental health. In particular, regularly eating dinner as a family significantly reduces prevalence of obesity. However, American families with children spend only 1 hour on family meals while three hours watching TV on an average work day. Fine-grained activity logging is proven effective for increasing self-awareness and motivating people to modify their life styles for improved wellness. This paper presents FamilyLog – a practical system to log family mealtime activities using smartphones and smartwatches. FamilyLog automatically detects and logs details of activities during the mealtime, including occurrence and duration of meal, conversations, participants, TV viewing etc., in an unobtrusive manner. Based on the sensor data collected from real families, we carefully design robust yet lightweight signal features from a set of complex activities during the meal, including clattering sound, arm gestures of eating, human voice, TV sound, etc. Moreover, FamilyLog opportunistically fuses data from built-in sensors of multiple mobile devices available in a family through an HMM-based classifier. To evaluate the real-world performance of FamilyLog, we perform extensive experiments that consist of 77 days of sensor data from 37 subjects in 8 families with children. Our results show that FamilyLog can detect those events with high accuracy across different families and home environments.

New seed grant received on expressive art therapy in inpatient services

We received $10,000 to develop the project, ‘Assessing efficacy of passive and active forms of expressive art therapy in inpatient services’, through the UCSD Health Sciences Academic Senate Research Grant Program.

Research questions and hypotheses
Study 1. Investigate efficacy and feasibility of passive expressive art therapy (PEAT)
Research Question. How is PEAT used at the JMC hospital?

Hypotheses: We hypothesize that patients who use the PEAT application will demonstrate reduced pain (Primary). We hypothesize that prediction models among patients will be able to identify patient cohorts that are more likely to use the PEAT application (Secondary).

Study 2. Evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of passive and active expressive art therapy
Research Question. What is the feasibility of recruitment, assessment, retention, compliance, and patient satisfaction?

Hypotheses: Expressive art therapy (both, active and passive) will improve reported pain among inpatients compared to usual care (Primary). Expressive art therapy will improve anxiety among inpatients compared to usual care (Secondary).

With Jejo Koola, MD, at Biomedical Informatics, Jina Huh will collaborate with the following people for this project: Chief Information Officer of UC San Diego Health (UCSDH) Chris Longhurst’s office, Steven Hickman’s group at the Mindfulness Institute at UCSDH, the Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego, CEO of UCSDH Thomas Savides, CMIO of Inpatient and Hopsital Affiliations at UCSDH, Paul Mills at CTRI UCSD, Rebecca Marmor, Kevin Ramotar at UCSD CAPS, and palliative care clinician Jeremy Hirst and alternative medicine researcher Erik Groessl.