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Focus on mobile health: Scientists develop app to diagnose, treat leishmaniasis

Photo courtesy of Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Medicas

Cutaneous leishmaniasis - caused by bites from infected sandflies - produces skin lesions that leave behind both scars and stigma that last a lifetime. Up to 1.2 million new cases are diagnosed each year across the 90 countries where the disease exists, including Colombia.

“Leishmaniasis happens where the medical system isn't," says Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, a Fogarty mHealth grantee at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He's been working in rural Colombia to bridge the access gap between remote communities and the public health system, using a mobile tool that empowers community health workers to identify new cases of the disease and monitor treatment.
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LAUNCH: A new community innovation platform will empower rural cancer patients

A new web platform released by LAUNCH (Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health), a public-private collaboration of which the University of California San Diego Design Lab is a founding member, will enable community-led connected cancer innovation. The platform, “LAUNCHPAD,” may be found at launchhealth.org.

"This contextual research demonstrates the complexity of community-based design. It shows how faith, independence, and family are critical to understanding healthcare. Many standard methods of applying community-based workers completely ignore these issues." - Don Norman, Design Lab Director
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Healthcare Biases

Researchers Receive $2.8 Million Grant to Study Hidden Biases in Healthcare

“The project seeks to use social signal processing (SSP), a computational approach that detects subtle cues in behavior that are typically invisible. For example, talk time, interruptions and body movements from health care providers might differ based on a patient’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.” - Nadir Weibel, Design Lab Faculty

Individuals have their own inherent biases. Most are harmless – preferred foods, favorite cars, go-to streaming services. However, biases tied to race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status have serious consequences.

This is particularly true in medicine. Unintentional, hidden, biases may perpetuate healthcare disparities. While providers are not acting out of malice, these attitudes could have significant impacts on patient care.
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Smart Streetlights

Community members call for end to ‘Smart Streetlights’ in San Diego

KUSI NEWS Interviews Design Lab Faculty Lilly Irani

More than a dozen community groups are calling on the City of San Diego to turn off thousands of cameras positioned on streetlights around San Diego.

The “Smart Streetlights” were approved by the San Diego City Council in December 2016, and there are currently 4,700 installed according to the city’s website.

The cameras collect real-time data including video and audio, which the city says helps save money and increase public safety. However, activists called the technology a major privacy and civil rights concern.

City officials have said that these streetlights are not being used for spying.
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Smart Streetlights Data San Diego

San Diegans Shouldn’t Be Lab Rats for Innovation

Voice of San Diego Editorial by Design Lab Faculty Lilly Irani

In 2016, San Diego installed thousands of General Electric cameras, microphones and telecommunication devices on streetlights around the city. The City Council approved the project with little investigation, looking no further than the city’s casting of the project as environmental “sensors” and “nodes” that would analyze traffic and the atmosphere.

The city finally held town halls this year to explain the program to communities, but by then it was too late. Once installed, technologies of this type will outrun the uses for which they are designed and publicly justified. Over and over, researchers like myself have seen data creep — like mission creep — take hold as companies try to add value to data and monetize them.
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