Andrea Parker, assistant professor of computer and information science and health sciences
Parker is shaping the field of personal health informatics—the use of technology to influence and inform the choices people make about their health.
She begins by examining disparities—such as limited access to nutritious food—that affect people with limited economic resources and elevate their risk for chronic health conditions. Then she applies her own interactive solutions to help people overcome those disparities.
For example, Parker is collaborating with colleagues at Northeastern to create digital programs—a mix of mobile applications, web-based games, and social media—to encourage low-income families to increase their weekly exercise and teenagers to become peer advocates for good nutrition.
To be effective, the technology must align with the communities she’s trying to reach. It has to “feel authentic,” she says, to connect naturally with people and their lives, in ways that energize and motivate.