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New Center for Digital Health launched by UMass Medical School, Boston and Lowell campuses

The Center for Digital Health, a collaboration of UMass Medical School, UMass Lowell and UMass Boston, has received a $125,000 grant from the UMass President’s Science and Technology Initiatives Fund.

The new center 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, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and co-director of the new center.

“The ultimate goal of the center is to use available data technology to improve health and reduce health care costs,” said Dr. Ma. UMass Medical School’s Hong Yu, PhD, professor of quantitative health sciences, and J. Hebert Stevenson, MD, associate professor of family medicine & community health, are also involved with the project.

Additional co-directors of the center include Yu Cao, PhD, associate professor of computer science, and Katherine Tucker, PhD, professor of nutritional epidemiology at UMass Lowell, and Wei Ding, PhD, 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, center members anticipate potential collaborations with two other previous science and technology fund award recipients: the UMass Center for mHealth and Social Media and the Center for Data Science at UMass Amherst.

“Our Center for Digital Health has strength in high performance networking and computing infrastructure that distinguishes itself from the mHealth center, and a focus on application to health systems with unique strength in aging populations, chronic disease and health disparities/health equity distinct from both the mHealth and the CDS,” Ma said.

In the first year of establishing the center, the team will analyze existing research efforts and identify new 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 organizing a national digital health workshop and research symposium that will invite the participation of academia, industry and government to share cutting-edge research results in digital health.


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