Named one of MIT’s 2014 Top 35 Innovators Under 35, Rumi Chunara is an innovative leader, accomplished computer engineer and scientist whose unique approach to medical and public health research — gathering health data through the Internet and mobile technology — is revolutionizing how public health experts collect health information.
As a joint Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Public Health at NYU's College of Global Public Health and Polytechnic School of Engineering, Rumi works closely with Post-doctorates, PhDs and Masters students on campus to collect crowd sourced data of influenza in real-time. Driven to understand how and why diseases spread in populations, she has developed cutting-edge research models at HealthMap and the Children's Hospital Informatics Program at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Chunara holds a PhD at Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Sciences and Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (Honors) from Caltech.
Rumi is now playing a significant role in an innovative new initiative just announced on Tuesday, 3.24.15, titled The Open Humans Network. Created by researchers from Harvard, NYU and the University of California San Diego, the program is backed by a $1 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, each of which contributed $500,000 in separate grants.
The project aims to break down barriers that make it difficult for willing individuals to access and share their data with researchers. To this end, the Open Humans Network creates an online system that helps match people who want to share their health data with researchers who would benefit from access to more information.
“GoViral is a good model for other initiatives and we hope that it will inspire future projects. It allows researchers to fill in the gaps and augment the current paradigms,“ said Dr. Chunara.
“It’s a very democratic approach to medical research because it involves people volunteering their medical history and information. That in itself is very inspiring. We hope that it (GoViral) will also change people’s mindsets about health information“.