Webinar - Keeping Pace: Dynamic Assessment of Environment and Exercise Using Personal Health Data with Rumi Chunara, and Zhan Guo. Friday March 18th 10:00AM PST

You can view the webinar above or on our Google Plus Event page. Please feel free to ask questions prior to or during the webinar using Google’s Question and Answer feature or via Twitter using #HDEwebinar. In order to use the Question and Answer feature on Google Plus, you must be logged into a Google Plus account. To navigate to the Question and Answer feature 1) go to the webinar Google Plus event page, 2) click on the video box, 3) select the application icon (9-squar grid) in the top right corner), 4) select Q&A from the drop-down menu, 5) ask questions using the Q&A panel to the right.


How does the environment around us support or inhibit our healthy behaviors? Past studies have aimed to understand how the environment relates to preventative behaviors such as exercise, but have been limited by cost and labor-intensive formats involving hours of phone calls, clinic or home visits and surveys used to measure those behaviors. New efforts from health startups to large corporations reveal a massive investment in tools that measure physical activity. Accordingly, Internet and mobile connectivity potentially offer a new opportunity for behavior data collection with extremely fine spatio-temporal resolution that can also evade survey recall biases. Thus in this pilot study, we will demonstrate and learn from the use of new personal sensor data in aggregate to, inform our understanding of how the relation between the built environment and types and amounts of exercise varies over time. Our work is pertinent to the broad community of stakeholders in the personal health data domain because it brings together and leverages expertise from multiple partners and Health Data Exploration Network members: companies and industry members or others producing data, academics who are interested in using data for research, other groups interested in improving health outcomes in general, and importantly, individual members of the public. In addition to the specific examination of environment and preventative health behaviors, overall our efforts will also help understand how public engagement can improve healthcare.

About the PI: Rumi Chunara

Named one of MIT’s 2014 Top 35 Innovators Under 35, Rumi Chunara is an innovative leader, accomplished computer engineer and scientist whose unique approach to medical and public health research — gathering health data through the Internet and mobile technology — is revolutionizing how public health experts collect health information.

As a joint Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Public Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and Polytechnic School of Engineering, Rumi works closely with Post-doctorates, PhDs and Masters students on campus to collect crowd sourced data of influenza in real-time. Driven to understand how and why diseases spread in populations, she has developed cutting-edge research models at HealthMap and the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Chunara holds a PhD at Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Sciences and Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (Honors) from Caltech.

About Zhan Guo


Zhan Guo studies individuals’ travel behavior and explores innovative ways to influence that decision-making process to produce better social outcomes such as reduced congestion and carbon emissions. At the micro level, he focuses how travelers perceive travel alternatives and attributes and what discrepancies exist between perception and reality. The ability to reinforce, change, or even deceive that perception to promote the “right” behavior, and the methods used to do so, also figure largely in his research. At the macro level, he is interested in the effect of technical standards, such as parking and street standards, on the built environment and the rationale behind these standards. The (dis)connection between government regulations, market forces, and consumer preferences is the focus of his research. Zhan has conducted empirical work on transfer behavior in Boston, metro map design in London, parking in New York, and pedestrian environments in Hong Kong.  His work has been covered by New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Economist, Le Monde, ABC Evening News, the Atlantic Cities, Nudges.org, etc.