College of Science & Engineering
Online health communities (or online social support groups) are important places for patients and caregivers to seek information, express themselves, and exchange support. This lab is collaborating with CaringBridge, a prominent online community for writing about and sharing personal health journeys, to study these online health communities. The group's work investigates all kinds of user activities on the platform (e.g. text entries, social networks, social interactions) to understand individuals' engagement with the community, their phases in the health journeys, their interactions and connections, and their expressive writing that discloses deepest thoughts and feelings. These user logs, when combined with other tools such as surveys and interviews with CaringBridge users, can inform implications to improve the platform design and benefit its users. CaringBridge has served over 27 million people total in over 230 countries and territories around the world. The Yarosh group uses MSI to store and to compute the vast amount of user-generated data provided by CaringBridge.