Health Risk & Science Communication

Health Projects

I am involved in multiple projects on disease prevention (cancer, STD/STI prevention) and challenging notions of health normativity and shame on social media (mental health, STD/STI, lactation) (Niu, Jeong, Coups, Stapleton, 2019; Wang, Christensen, Jeong, Miller, 2019), both of which require a modern perspective of science communication that must account for social media influence in promoting and/or encouraging positive discussion, and accurate information exchange. Indeed, the health and science communication fields today may be re-conceptualized as “misinformation management”, as social media content ranges from complete scientific inaccuracies (the autism/vaccine link), to the perpetuation of medical pseudoscience. Inevitably, the reduction of science into simplified social media content may perpetuate scientific inaccuracies.

I am a longtime member of the SOLVE Lab (Socially Interactive Learning in Virtual Environments) led by Dr. Lynn Miller at USC, a NIH-funded virtual health intervention for safe sex. Work in this lab afforded me advanced training in multivariate statistics, brain imaging, and computational modeling, and also formed the basis for one of my primary research interests in virtual environments.

I am actively involved in multiple collaborative projects focused on cancer prediction and prevention. For instance, I am examining the role of social media on access to reliable health information, in addition to applying machine learning models on HINTS (Health Information National Trends Survey) data to predict types of cancer individuals may be at-risk for, given a set of features.