Twitter: @LMVizer

The same commitment to including the patient perspective and promoting patient engagement that grounds my research also informs my teaching. I use a practical approach to provide an overview and foundation for the course topic, use student-led sub-topic selection, incorporate current literature, and elicit experiences from patients and current researchers in the field. My background qualifies me to teach courses in information technology, research methodology, human-centered computing, consumer health informatics, and others, as well as provide mentorship to students seeking advice on these topics.

This quarter I am teaching a seminar I designed entitled “Consumer Health Informatics (CHI)” that explores consumer-facing tools designed to support health. I define CHI as all consumer-facing tools designed to support health. To ground the topic, I use the following framework dimensions and examples:

  • Intervention strategies: self-tracking (passive/active), communication / decision-making with healthcare team, social communication, increasing health literacy and access, entertainment
  • Populations: child, adolescent, young adult, older adult, vulnerable populations, low SES, healthy, disease-specific, parents, proxies, peers
  • Goals: behavior change, improved health outcomes, health maintenance, patient education, patient engagement
  • Technologies: SMS, machine learning, websites, sensors, telecommunications, apps, medical devices, patient portals
  • Methods: quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, theory, usability testing, user-centered design

I am integrating current literature, real-world experiences, and the CHI framework to equip students to explore the topic on their own. Students each select a current paper on an aspect of consumer health informatics and lead a class discussion. Two CHI researchers, one of whom is also a patient, spoke about their experiences with vulnerable populations, online peer support, apps for mental health, and promoting patient engagement. In the final class we will unify the quarter’s topics by situating them in the above framework to see what we have learned, where the field is heading, and where there are research opportunities. This approach encourages students to be responsible for their learning, offers practical perspectives, and provides a tool for framing the research space in CHI.

At the middle of the term I conducted an interim evaluation to elicit feedback for improving the course and my teaching within the structure of the remainder of the course. For example, students enjoy the freedom to choose their own topics, but would like a little more structure during discussions. To address this concern, I am suggesting that discussion leaders to use the CHI framework to categorize their papers and refer back to the dimensions in the discussion. I also plan to use the last class to revisit the framework and covered topics.

Outside of the classroom I mentor students appropriate to their degree progress and research interests using a similar approach. Beginning students often need help learning how to read scientific literature, students midway through the degree often struggle with selecting and scoping a project, and students close to finishing often seek advice about academic writing. I support student development by providing practical advice, helping to formulate a plan for moving forward, guiding them to current resources, and sharing my experiences.

To conclude, my pedagogical strategies are dedicated to teaching the principles of informatics research in a practical, hands-on ways that will remain with the student long after he or she leaves my classroom, and I am particularly dedicated to bringing the insights of patients and researchers to students’ experience.