Dr. Weitzman is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston. She received her Masters and Doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health, and completed a post-doctoral training fellowship in Medical Ethics in the Division of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Weitzman is pioneering the field of public health informatics with a focus on advancing use of personally controlled health records and online social networking systems to support consented, distributed, population-based monitoring of chronic illness and behavioral health issues including through prospective longitudinal studies. New work builds on her international leadership addressing problems related to behavioral and psychosocial health problems among adolescents and young adults through approaches that integrate structured, rapid epidemiologic and social environmental surveillance with community-based policy initiatives, interventions and clinical response. Her work has been featured in scholarly journals, in advisory roles to NIH, CDC and other public health authorities, and in reports by CNN, US News and World Reports, Psychology Today, and other media channels.
My research involves investigating use of new bioinformatics technologies for personally controlled health records and social networking systems to support cohort research, public health surveillance, contextualized medicine and real time community-based prevention. My principal focus is on improving the health of adolescents and young adults, including those who are affected by chronic illness and those who are experiencing risks related to behavioral or psychosocial problems. An overarching goal of my work is to close the loop between health research and response through public health or health care channels. My projects use multiple methods, from qualitative and narrative investigation to large sample multilevel statistics and experimental evaluations. Working to advance use of biomedical informatics for public health and care improvement, I lead several innovative projects, including:
- Personally Controlled Health Records for Public Health Research and Response: Testing use of a personally controlled health record as a medium for delivering targeted health promotion and contextualized health information through a system that actively links clinical/medical records, public health bio-surveillance data and citizen self-report information (with CDC support)
- The TuAnalyze Project: Testing the model of consented diabetes cohort research, surveillance and targeted response through a naturally occurring online international community (with CDC support)
- PCHR Information Altruism: Investigating patient and citizen willingness to share personal health and medical information from a live PCHR system for use in public heath surveillance (with NIAAA support)
- Social Networks and Health: Evaluating using a rigorous multi-site observational approach the quality and safety of online chronic illness-focused social networking communities (with NIH and CDC support)
- Health Information Technology for Health Care Transitions (HIT4HTC): Testing the model of using a personally controlled health record system to support vulnerable chronically ill youth as they move across care settings, with a focus on improving quality, timeliness and comprehensiveness of health information available to guide self-care and clinical care decisions (with NIH and CHB support).
- Comprehensive care models for chronically ill youth
- Health care transitions
- Self-care and adherence
- Contextualized prevention
- Children’s Hospital Informatics Program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Children’s Hospital Boston
- Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston
- Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School