Massachusetts University establishes digital health centre
December 6, 2016
The University of Massachusetts is establishing a centre for digital health helped by a $125,000 grant from the UMass President’s Science & Technology Initiatives Fund.
The centre – a collaboration of UMass’ Medical School, Lowell and Boston campuses – will be a hub for research activities in digital health innovations; validation and evaluation of tools for digital health; academic-industry partnerships in digital health; consultancy and technology transfer for digital health; and education for the digital health workforce, according to Yunsheng Ma (pictured), associate professor of medicine and co-director of the centre.
“The ultimate goal of the centre is to use available data technology to improve health and reduce health care costs,” said Ma.
UMass Medical School’s Hong Yu, professor of quantitative health sciences, and Hebert Stevenson, associate professor of family medicine and community health, are also involved with the project.
Additional co-directors of the centre include Yu Cao, associate professor of computer science, Katherine Tucker, professor of nutritional epidemiology at UMass Lowell, and Wei Ding, associate professor of computer science at UMass Boston.
Digital health is a convergence of digital technology and health care, living and society, Ma said. Given the breadth of the digital health field, centre members anticipate potential collaborations with two other previous science and technology fund award recipients: the UMass Center for mHealth & Social Media and the Center for Data Science at UMass Amherst.
“Our centre for digital health has strength in high performance networking and computing infrastructure that distinguishes itself from the mhealth centre, and a focus on application to health systems with unique strength in aging populations, chronic disease and health disparities and health equity distinct from both the mhealth and the CDS,” Ma said.
In the first year of establishing the centre, the team will analyse existing research efforts and identify growth areas and collaboration opportunities; conduct collaborative research in the identified growth areas; generate preliminary results; and start to develop grant proposals. They will focus on submitting at least two large National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health proposals, in addition to small group or individual proposals to various agencies, and organising a national digital health workshop and research symposium that will invite the participation of academia, industry and government to share research results in digital health.