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Design Lab’s Edward Wang wins NIH R21 for work on Smartphone-based Alzheimer’s Screening

Design Lab’s Edward Wang wins NIH R21 for work on Smartphone-based Alzheimer’s Screening

Design Lab’s Edward Wang, who is a jointly appointed professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering in Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, wins a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R21 through the National Institute of Aging (NIA) for his work around transforming smartphones into pocket-sized personal health monitors. 

The NIA has selected Design Lab’s Edward Wang, who directs the Digital Health Lab, to receive NIH R21 funding for his work with Co-investigator Eric Granholm, Director of UCSD’s Center for Mental Health Technology (MHTech), to develop a smartphone app that can screen for early signs of cognitive decline indicative of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). An NIH R21, also known as the Exploratory/Development Grant, provides support in the early and conceptual stages of a project’s development. As part of a national push towards combating the debilitating effects of AD, the National Institute of Aging looked towards funding novel ways to screen for AD through the use of digital technologies. 
UC San Diego Health Launches New Center to Spur Patient-Centered Technologies

UC San Diego Health Launches New Center to Spur Patient-Centered Technologies

On behalf of UCSD Design Lab and the Center for Health Design, we’re excited to support the launch of this collaborative innovation ecosystem designing healthcare with our community. From tele-monitoring patients with diabetes to using artificial intelligence to prevent sepsis, the newly launched Center for Health Innovation at UC San Diego Health will seek to develop, test and commercialize technologies that make a real, measurable difference in the lives and wellbeing of patients.

The new Center for Health Innovation will be located on the La Jolla campus of UC San Diego. Collaborators will include the UC San Diego Design Lab, Qualcomm Institute and Jacobs School of Engineering. It is modeled after the University Health Network’s (UHN) Techna Institute, jointly located within the organization’s hospital sites and at the University of Toronto, and has designed numerous products now used in hospitals and clinics.

“Doctors, nurses and medical teams know best where there are existing technology gaps in patient care,” said Christopher Longhurst, MD, chief information officer, UC San Diego Health. “With our proximity to the health and biotech sector as well as the cross-border region, the number of collaborative opportunities are immense.”

To learn more about the Center for Health Innovation, visit
How to Reduce Obesity among Latino Children

How to Reduce Obesity among Latino Children, with Precision

UC San Diego and community collaborators receive $3 million grant to develop more community-centered, precision approaches to reducing adverse childhood events that lead to obesity, a nationwide problem

“Working with the Latino community, we want to create a family-based approach to improve individual and community resilience to stress and address the obesity epidemic,” said lead principal investigator Gary S. Firestein, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and ACTRI director.

Blanca Meléndrez, director of the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego and a co-principal investigator on the study with Eric Hekler, PhD, Design Lab member, professor and interim associate dean for community partnerships in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, said that beyond determining which methods best promote resiliency and reduce obesity among children, researchers and community collaborators will seek to create interventions that can be delivered to different families that match a family’s unique circumstances and needs.
diabetes design

Diabetes Design Initiative Presents Community Challenge Designs To Over 50 Stakeholders

Photo Courtesy of Matt Chesin

This Wednesday, September 2nd, the Diabetes Design Initiative presented the culmination of an entire summer of work to over 50 stakeholders in the healthcare industry. The team shared a prototype that will redefine the way how diabetes is explained without numbers and a new design to simplify data sharing.

Led by Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, director of the Center for Health Design, Design Lab fellow Lars Müller, and Ben West, a nightscout developer, DDI is re-thinking how healthcare technology is designed.
subtance addiction digital health

The Digital Health Landscape in Addiction and Substance Use Research: Will Digital Health Exacerbate or Mitigate Health Inequities in Vulnerable Populations?

A new paper from Design Lab member Camille Nebeker

Novel and emerging digital health technologies are increasingly used in substance use and addiction-related self-management and treatment research. The promise of digital health is exciting, yet there are important factors regarding population characteristics to consider prior to using novel technologies with vulnerable populations. This paper by Camille Nebeker, Design Lab member and UCSD Behavioral Medicine professor, and Dina Hamideh reports a review of scientific literature published between 2015 and early 2020 on the use of digital health strategies in research focused on substance use and addiction in vulnerable populations.
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