May 2022 Newsletter


UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media, 6th Annual Conference

6th Annual Conference, May 19-20, 2022
Telehealth and Remote Care in a Post-Pandemic World

Registration open until May 17, 2022 11:59 PM ET

Promo event flyer with speaker names/affiliations on left, telehealth image on right

International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII) 11th Scientific Meeting

Pittsburgh, PA | September 19-21, 2022
Storm Clouds and Silver Linings: How Digital Technologies Have Helped Us Weather the COVID Pandemic

Registration is now open!

Promo flyer with the Pittsburgh skyline in the background

Job Opportunities

Data Analyst, University of Maryland

The data analyst for the Department of Epidemiology, University of Maryland provides research support for a NIH-funded R01 project entitled “Risk and strength: determining the impact of area-level racial bias and protective factors on birth outcomes.” Under the direction of Dr. Thu Nguyen, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the analyst will help lead publications investigating the role of area-level racial sentiment, hate speech, and racial prejudice on adverse birth outcomes and other health outcomes. The analyst must have expertise in data science as the role involves collecting, cleaning, and analyzing social media data. The analyst will help address conceptual, methodologic, and analytic issues related to examining the impact of area-level racial bias measured from online and social media data, the timing of racialized events as social shocks, and adverse birth outcomes. Data sets the analyst will be working include social media data such as Twitter data and national natality files. The analyst will be part of an interdisciplinary research team and will be invited to collaborate on other components of the research project involving qualitative analysis and community-engaged research. Candidates who can relocate to UMD OR who can only work remotely are encouraged to apply. Please contact Dr. Nguyen at [email protected] if interested in learning more about the position. 

Senior Research Associate, University of Southern California

The Department of Population and Public Health Sciences is seeking a full-time Senior Research Associate to be part of Project 1 of the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) situated in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Project 1 titled, “Effects of Social Media Marketing and Messages on Tobacco Product Use and Use Transitions,” comprises a multidisciplinary team of researchers conducting studies at the intersection of tobacco control, communication, and regulatory science. In general, the aims of Project 1 are to: (1) identify, quantify, and describe the promotional practices of the tobacco industry; (2) examine the user experiences with popular new tobacco products to understand their appeal, and the social and environmental characteristics surrounding their use. The Senior Research Associate will assist in reaching the aims related to Project 1 of the USC TCORS. The main goal of the project is to inform the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products so they can best regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect public health. Apply and read more job details here:

Request for Information

Request for Information (RFI): Challenges and Opportunities in Health and Science Communication Research (NOT-RM-22-012)

The NIH seeks to identify important research opportunities, challenges, methods, approaches, and technologies to enable the future study of health and science communication that can best be addressed through a concerted and coordinated research effort. Specifically, the NIH welcomes input about research needs in the following domains:

  1. Communication research to enhance access to, equitable uptake of, and meaningful use of evidence-based health information
  2. Understanding and improving health and science literacy
  3. Understanding and reducing the spread and impact of health misinformation

Response must be received by: May 27, 2022, 11:59pm ET

Recent Social Media and Health Publications

Grigsby-Toussaint, D., Champagne, A., Uhr, J., Silva, E., Noh, M., Bradley, A., & Rashleigh, P. (2022). US black maternal health advocacy topics and trends on Twitter: Temporal infoveillance study. JMIR Infodemiology, 2(1), e30885.

This study aims to assess the feasibility of Twitter for identifying public discourse related to social determinants of health and advocacy that influence maternal health among Black women across the United States and to examine trends in sentiment between 2019 and 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tweets were collected from March 1 to July 13, 2020, from 21 organizations and influencers and from 4 hashtags that focused on Black maternal health. Additionally, tweets from the same organizations and hashtags were collected from the year prior, from March 1 to July 13, 2019. Approximately 17,000 tweets were gathered, as well as all publicly available metadata. Tweets on reproductive justice, maternal mortality crises, and patient care increased by 67.46% in 2020 versus 2019. Topics on community, advocacy, and health equity increased by over 30% in 2020 versus 2019. In contrast, tweet topics that decreased in 2020 versus 2019 were as follows: tweets on Medicaid and medical coverage decreased by 27.73%, and discussions about creating space for Black women decreased by just under 30%.

Pierri, F., Perry, B.L., DeVerna, M.R. et al. (2022). Online misinformation is linked to early COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy and refusal. Sci Rep, 12 (1), 5966.

To understand the relationships between misinformation, beliefs, behaviors, and health outcomes, this study investigated the extent to which COVID-19 vaccination rates and vaccine hesitancy are associated with levels of online misinformation about vaccines. Study team examined 55 million tweets from the CoVaxxy dataset from the Twitter filtered stream API using a comprehensive list of keywords related to vaccines. A negative relationship was found between misinformation and vaccination uptake rates. Online misinformation was also correlated with vaccine hesitancy rates taken from survey data. Associations between vaccine outcomes and misinformation remained significant when accounting for political as well as demographic and socioeconomic factors. While vaccine hesitancy is strongly associated with Republican vote share, we observe that the effect of online misinformation on hesitancy is strongest across Democratic rather than Republican counties.