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Community-Engaged Research

Computing with the Community

Computing with the Community is an effort with the UR Data Science Institute that partners computer science students with community members promoting the well-being of youth and communities in our area. Together, we seek to advance training in, and application of, new technologies to advance public health and wellness within the community. This project is overseen by UR faculty (Drs. Ann Marie White and Henry Kautz) and our community advisory group, Big Data Docents (BDD), oversee this effort.

For instance, undergraduate students involved in “Computing with the Community” activities are now assessing the feasibility and acceptability in three areas:

  • STEM education and training via hardware and video game creation among urban youth seeking a high school equivalency diploma
  • New Android app development to create a product from data science with local data that reduces risks associated with alcohol use in social settings
  • Community-engaged hidden signal detection in social media data via support vector machine and natural language processing approaches to computer-based learning

Big Data Docents (BDD)

BDD is a collaborative group — made up of community agencies, community members, and local faculty — that seeks to improve community health via research projects and community education initiatives focused on information technology. For example, BDD members have used Twitter data to identify markers of alcohol consumption, stages of the job cycle, and helping behaviors. BDD has also developed projects to provide local youth with alternative learning spaces, including alternative schools and public libraries. Currently, BDD is working on creating a health app for emerging adults entering the workforce.

Community Collaborative Boards

Community Collaborative Boards in research provide a way for academicians and community members to collaborate equitably in research and scientifically rigorous evaluation. To learn about examples or how to successfully develop such processes, please contact the Center for Community Health and Prevention.


Many community partners have taught us how to build equitable partnerships in mental health, as highlighted in this brief video: