Gregory D. Abowd, PhD, is a Regents’ and Distinguished Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, where he has been on the faculty since 1994. His research interests concern how the advanced information technologies of ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp) impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces. Dr. Abowd’s work has involved schools (Classroom 2000) and homes (The Aware Home), with a recent focus on health and particularly autism. Dr. Abowd received the degree of B.S. in Honors Mathematics in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. He then attended the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, earning the degrees of M.Sc. (1987) and D.Phil. (1991) in Computation from the Programming Research Group in the Computing Laboratory. From 1989-1992 he was a Research Associate/Postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in England. From 1992-1994, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Software Engineering Institute and the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He has graduated 22 PhD students who have gone on to a variety of successful careers in academia and industry He is an ACM Fellow, a member of the CHI Academy and recipient of the SIGCHI Social Impact Award and ACM Eugene Lawler Humanitarian Award. Dr. Abowd has been involved in 5 commercial start-up ventures in his career, several of which are still active. He is also the founder and President of the Atlanta Autism Consortium, a non-profit devoted to bridging the communication gaps between various stakeholder communities in the Atlanta area concerned with serving and understanding autism.
Title: Health and Technology: How to Balance the Research Agendas Effectively
A Computer Science researcher who seeks to apply technological solutions to health faces several challenges. The majority of these challenges stem from the balancing act between the need as researchers to advance knowledge in an academic discipline and the desire to make (or be perceived as making) a contribution in the health. In this talk, I will describe through a set of examples how this balancing act can play out in the career of a computer scientist. My examples will draw from research at Georgia Tech, which have attempted to apply the technologies of computing’s third generation, ubiquitous computing, to opportunities ranging from autism to chronic disease management for old and young. I will end with some speculation about how emerging computing technologies may provide new challenges and opportunities for health and technology research.
Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist Administrator at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the Program Director for the Smart and Connected Health program at NSF. Wendy’s scientific focus is on the science of human behavior and behavior change, including: utilizing technology to better understand and improve health, adherence, the mechanisms of behavior change and behavioral interventions in complex patients in primary care. More specifically, her efforts in mobile and wireless health (mHealth) research include: serving as the NIH lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement, convening meetings to address methodology in mobile technology research; serving on numerous federal mHealth initiatives; and, leading the NIH mHealth training institutes. Wendy is also the chair of the Adherence Network, a trans-NIH effort to enhance and develop the science of adherence. She is also a member of the Science of Behavior Change, Health Economics and HMO Collaboratory working groups. These projects are initiatives funded through the Common Fund that target behavioral and social sciences research to improve health across a wide range of domains. Wendy also chairs the NIH Integrating Health Strategies workgroup that supports the science of behavioral treatments for patients with multiple chronic conditions in primary care. At NSF, she leads the Smart and Connected Health program which targets science at the intersection between computer science, engineering, medicine and health, broadly defined.
Title: Crossing the Bridges to Create a Shared Vision for Health
Using novel technologies and computational approaches to more rapidly and accurately assess, track and modify health has great potential to transform health research. Recent advances have created opportunities for research applications that were not previously possible. The use of novel technological and computational approaches afford numerous methodological advantages over traditional methods, but require researchers from very different disciplines and who often have very different requirements to partner to develop effective applications. This talk will highlight some of the current research challenges and the bridges that have to be developed to create a truly smart and connected system for health. These challenges include the defining of essential research questions, development of transdisciplinary teams, pooling disparate knowledge, evaluation methodology and funding for research.