Faculty

Faculty of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media represent many different disciplines, areas, and expertise. These snapshots provide a glimpse of the wide range of expertise in the Center.

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Sherry Pagoto, PhD

Director 
Professor
Department of Allied Health Sciences
University of Connecticut

Dr. Pagoto is a Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media. She is also the President-Elect of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and co-chair of the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative. Her research focuses on leveraging technology in the development and delivery of behavioral interventions targeting diet, physical activity, and cancer prevention behaviors. She has had federal funding for her program of research for 15 consecutive years, totaling over $11 million, and has published 177 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has received several awards for her work including the UMass Medical School Women in Science and Health Achievement Award in 2015, The Obesity Society Pioneer in mHealth/eHealth Award in 2014, Society of Behavioral Medicine Early Career/Young Investigator Award in 2006, and the Western Michigan University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. Devoted to science communication she has 21K followers on Twitter and a contributor to US News and World Report, Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, STAT News, Psychology Today, and KevinMD.com. Her work has been featured in major news outlets including CNN, NPR, NBC News, ABC News, and Good Morning America.

Molly Waring, PhD

Molly Waring, PhD

Director of Methodology Core
Assistant Professor
Department of Allied Health Sciences
University of Connecticut

Dr. Waring is an epidemiologist, Assistant Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut, and Director of the Methodology Core of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media. Her program of research focuses on leveraging technology and social media for health promotion, with a topical focus on weight management among pregnant and post-partum women. She has served as the PI of 3 grant-funded projects to develop and test the feasibility of interventions that deliver evidence-based weight loss strategies via social media or interactive websites, including currently a NHLBI R34 to conduct a feasibility randomized controlled trial to compare a post-partum weight loss delivered via Facebook versus in-person groups. In addition to leading digital health research studies as PI, Dr. Waring is a collaborative methodologist, serving the role of statistical scientist on projects utilizing social media for participant recruitment, intervention delivery, or public health surveillance.

DAVID ATKIN

David Atkin, PhD

Professor
Department of Communication
University of Connecticut

Dr. Atkin’s research interests include the uses and effects of new media – including a current project investigating uses of the Internet for health information. In 1999, Dr. Atkin received the Kreighbaum Under 40 Award, recognizing the field’s top junior journal scholar, and in 2000, he received a University Distinguished Scholar Award. He has taught courses on communication and campaigns, in addition to doing research on the diffusion of new media technologies. He has worked on research grants and contracts supported by the Ameritech Foundation, Cleveland State University, Crowell and Moring Attorneys at Law, the National Association of Broadcasters, Northern Telecom University Interaction Program and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education. Dr. Atkin also serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly & the American Journal of Media Psychology.

ACADEMIC PARTNERS

EMMANUEL AGU

Emmanuel Agu, PhD

Associate Professor
WPI Computer Science

Emmanuel Agu is currently an associate professor in the computer science department at WPI having received his Masters and PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests are in the areas of computer graphics, mobile computing, and wireless networks. He is especially interested in research into how to use a smartphone as a platform to deliver better healthcare. In collaboration with researchers at WPI and at UMass Medical School, he is currently working on an NSF research project that will design and develop a mobile application for advanced diabetes and wound care management for users with foot ulcers. His research has been funded by the NSF, the US department of education, US Army Research Labs, Google, Nvidia and AMD. His research has been published in various ACM and IEEE conferences.

ED BOUDREAUX

Edwin Boudreaux, PhD

Professor
Department of Medicine
UMass Medical School

Dr. Boudreaux is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He has extensive experience with applying ecological momentary assessments (EMA) with medical patients. He has recently completed a NIDA funded study that created a cell phone- delivered, interactive voice response EMA assessment for cardiac patients who smoked cigarettes. He is particularly interested in measuring how affective and stress states influence health behaviors.

SOPHIE DESROCHES

Sophie Desroches, RD, PhD

Associate Professor
Laval University School of Nutrition

Dr. Sophie Desroches, PhD, RD, is an Associate Professor at the School of Nutrition of Laval University, in Quebec City, Canada. She is also a research scientist at the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods and at the Population Health and Optimal Health Practices Research Unit, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Quebec (CHU de Quebec), of Laval University. Her research program aims to study the conceptual, methodological and practical bases for developing and evaluating knowledge translation strategies that will optimize adherence to dietary advice. She is the lead author of the Cochrane systematic review “Interventions for enhancing adherence to dietary advice for preventing and managing chronic diseases”. Her more recently funded research projects have explored shared decision making in nutrition counseling, and the use of social media, and more specifically blogs, as knowledge translation strategies to enhance adherence to evidence-based dietary advice for preventing and managing chronic diseases.

WERNER KUNZ

Werner Kunz, PhD

Associate Professor
College of Management

Werner H. Kunz is Associate Professor of Marketing and Director of the Global Center for Digital Media and Innovative Services at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He received his doctorate from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. His research interests are in social media, social networks, innovation, and service marketing. His work has been published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Service Management, and Computational Statistics and was multiple times awarded. Werner Kunz is member of the editorial board of the Journal of Service Management, Journal of Service Marketing, Journal of Business Market Management and International Journal of Marketing Studies and he is the current chair of the Service Marketing Special Interest Group (SERVSIG) of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

ROSALYN NEGRON

Rosalyn Negrón, PhD

Associate Professor
UMass Boston Anthropology

Rosalyn Negrón is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, specializing in urban social anthropology. Broadly, Rosalyn’s research deals with the interpersonal dimensions of ethnicity in diverse cities, with a special focus on social interaction and social networks. With a range of applications, Rosalyn’s work bridges multiple substantive and methodological areas, including social network analysis, sociolinguistics, health disparities, and disparities in STEM participation. She has conducted research in Jamaica, Florida, New York City, and Boston. Rosalyn’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Ford Foundation, and the Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity.

LORI PBERT

Lori Pbert, PhD

Professor
Department of Medicine
UMass Medical School

Dr. Pbert is a Professor of Medicine, Associate Chief of the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and founder and Director of the Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training (CTTRT). She is a Clinical Psychologist and clinical and translational researcher specializing in tobacco and obesity prevention and treatment, optimizing organization and health care systems to improve delivery of health care services, development and evaluation of clinician-delivered behavior-change interventions protocols, and chronic care management. Dr. Pbert has an interest in the use of technology to enhance the reach, acceptability, and effectiveness of health behavior change interventions, particularly in adolescent and difficult to reach populations. Current related work includes the use of a smartphone app to help adolescent smokers learn and apply mindfulness in their efforts to quit, and the use of the photovoice method to enhance the design, content and delivery of patient navigation linking low SES and minority patients with tobacco treatment. Dr. Pbert is involved in multiple national and international collaborations and has been continuously funded by NIH for her research programs. She is a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and was elected to the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research for her national and international behavioral medicine research work.

MILAGROS ROSAL

Milagros C. Rosal, MS, PhD

Professor
Department of Medicine
UMass Medical School

Dr. Milagros C. Rosal is a Professor in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a faculty member in theh Clinical and Population Health Research Ph.D.  Program. Dr. Rosal is a health disparities researcher specializing in clinical trials of health behavior change interventions that address cultural preferences and literacy needs of socio-economically disadvantaged and racial/ethnic minority populations at risk for obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases.  Dr. Rosal has content expertise in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, gestational weight gain and post-partum weight loss, adherence to cancer screening recommendations, psychosocial influences on health, and health care utilization. Dr. Rosal has an interest in the use of technology for increasing the reach of behavioral interventions to populations that bear the burden of health disparities click here and here for recent publications. Dr. Rosal directs the Research Center for Behavior and Community Health Solutions in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine. She is Co-Director of the CDC-funded UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center (PRC), and Co-PI of the NIH/NIMHD Center for Health Equity Intervention Research, funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Rosal is involved in several national and international collaborations and her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Dr. Rosal is a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and a member of several professional organizations, including the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.

CAROLINA RUIZ

Carolina Ruiz, PhD

Associate Professor
WPI Computer Science

Carolina Ruiz’s research interests are in data mining, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Together with her graduate and undergraduate students, colleagues in computer science and biology, and medical doctors, Ruiz investigates and develops data mining algorithms for genomics and for clinical medicine. In addition to being a faculty member in computer science, she is a founder and active member of the bioinformatics and computational biology program at WPI. She enjoys teaching courses, and advising undergraduate and graduate research projects in data mining and machine learning.

BENGISU TULU
Bengisu Tulu, PhD
Associate Professor
WPI School of Business

Areas of expertise include design and development of health information technologies, implementation of health information technologies, and implications of health information technologies on healthcare organizations and consumers.

POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWS