Calit2 awards $200,000 to five data sharing projects

By Aditi Pai

RunKeeperThe University of San Diego’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology's (Calit2) data sharing initiative, called Health Data Exploration (HDE), has awarded a total of $200,000 to five projects that aim to use aggregated personal health data to advance research. Some of the projects involve big digital health names like Fitbit, RunKeeper, and PatientsLikeMe.

Calit2, which received the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this initiative, first launched the HDE project in May 2013. The project was led by Kevin Patrick and Jerry Sheehan of Calit2.

The projects that have received funds from the HDE project came from New York University, University of Washington, PatientsLikeMe, Center for Democracy and Technology, and Arizona State University.

“We were delighted at the response to our call for proposals, and very pleased to see these projects emerge as the ones selected,” Patrick said in a statement. “These hold great promise to move the field of personal health data research forward. Taken together these projects are exploring how to leverage anonymous and aggregated data from companies like Fitbit, Jawbone and RunKeeper in ways that improve our understanding of health.”

Here are the five projects that have received funding from the HDE project:

New York University Assistant Professor Rumi Chunara received $50,000 to develop a platform that aggregates RunKeeper data and uses it to study the relationship between the environment and how types and amounts of exercise vary over time.

University of Washington Associate Professor Julie Kientz received $36,772 for a project that will use passive sensing of circadian rhythms to develop individualized models of cognitive performance.

PatientsLikeMe Research Director Emil Chiauzzi received $37,700 to study the impact of merging behavior change programs with use of wearables for patients with MS.

Center for Democracy and Technology Deputy Director Michelle De Mooy received $50,000 partnered with Fitbit to study "how companies can integrate responsible privacy practices into their internal research to protect users’ privacy while improving products and fitness results for customers".

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Eric B. Hekler received $25,528 to study how the use of smartwatches and home-based sensors could provide people with context-appropriate support to stay physically active.