In a visionary and far-reaching talk, Rachael A. Donalds, a doctoral student at Boston University and recent graduate of the T.H Chan Harvard School of Public Health, explains how technology has helped heal her from physical trauma, and how the same technology can be used to not only assist individuals but communities to crowdsource wellness.
She explains how her experience has lead to her to create the Biosay app, which analyzes biometric data to determine how your physical and social surroundings impact our physical and mental health in the real-world and in real-time. She proposes that citizen crowdsourced health data paired with AI could provide unimaginable insights into what we currently identify as remarkable recoveries or anomalies, revealing the prescient ways we not only survive, but thrive.
“If we as a society continue to be driven by what is normal or ordinary, we lose what is not just deviant but extraordinary. We may be surprised to learn that what unites us and indeed innovates medical discoveries, is not our commonalities, but our latent capacities which deviate from the moderate majority. It is my vision that Digital Determinants of Health will help us re-define the boundary between individual vs. population deviations and realize a more collaborative existence,” says Rachael in her recent article in which she introduces Digital Determinants of Health, and discusses implications for patients, clinicians, and researchers. She also calls for caution and inclusion when utilizing AI, as the bias and inequitable disparities that exist in our data sets today will not be populated by AI but potentially perpetuated.
Rachael A. Donalds is the founder and CEO of Biosay, Inc., an app that analyses your biometric data to determine how your physical surroundings impact your health and emotional wellbeing. As part of the Harvard Innovation Labs, and grounded in the latest research and technology in biometric measurements, Biosay provides a powerful tool to accurately measure, monitor and manage energy, emotion, and stress. Rachael‘s areas of research expertise is in socioemotional functioning, wellness, resilience and healthtech, and has presented and published articles ranging from the use of stem cells in the treatment of anxiety and depression, digital health interventions, to applying the biopsychosocial model in the assessment of resilience and the remission of illness. Rachael has an MS in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, and an MPA in Public Affairs at Brown University. She is currently completing her PhD at Boston University and is a Research Associate at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.