~ Yulin Hswen ~

Harvard Doctoral Candidate | Social Computational Epidemiologist | Bioinf


Yulin Hswen

About Me

I am a Doctoral Candidate at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health and Social and Computational Epidemiologist and Director of Research in the Computational Epidemiology Lab at Harvard Medical School.

I study how digital usage patterns can quantify the individual-level human phenotype and how the aggregation of this digital data can identify the distribution of social behaviors.



Peer-reviewed: 21 Publications (14 First Author)

  1. Hswen, Y., Qin, Q., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2019). Feasibility of using social media to monitor outdoor air pollution in London, England. Preventive Medicine. 121, 86-93.

  2. Hswen, Y., Gopaluni, A., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2019). Using Twitter to detect psychological characteristics of self-identified persons with autism spectrum disorder: A feasibility study. JMIR mHealth uHealth. 7(2), e12264.

  3. Weeks, W.B., Mishra, M.K., Curto, D., Petersen, C.L., Cano, P., Hswen, Y., Serra, S.V., Elwyn, G., Godfrey, M.M., Soro, P.S., & Tomás, J.F. (2019). Comparing three methods for reducing psychotropic use in older demented Spanish care home residents. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

  4. Hswen, Y., Sewalk, K.C., Alsenter, E., Tuli, G, Brownstein, J.S., Liu, J., & Hawkins, J.B. (2018). Investigating inequities in hospital care among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals using social media. Social Science and Medicine, 215, 92-97.

  5. Sewalk, K.C., Tuli, G., Hswen, Y., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2018). Using Twitter to examine web-based patient experience sentiments in the United States: longitudinal study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(10), e10043.

  6. Hswen, Y., Naslund, J.A., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2018). Monitoring Online Discussions About Suicide Among Twitter Users With Schizophrenia. JMIR Mental Health.

  7. Hswen, Y., Brownstein, J.S., Liu, J., & Hawkins, J.B. (2017). Use of a Digital Health Application for Influenza Surveillance in China. American Journal of Public Health, e1-e7.

  8. Hswen, Y., Naslund, J.A., P., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2018). Online Communication About Depression and Anxiety Among Twitter Users with Schizophrenia: Preliminary Findings to Inform a Digital Phenotype Using Social Media. Psychiatric Quarterly, 89(3), 569-580.

  9. Bickham, D., Hswen, Y., Rich, M.O., & Slaby, R. (2018). A Preliminary Evaluation of a School-Based Media Education and Reduction Intervention. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 39(3), 229-245.

  10. Hswen, Y., & Bickham, D.S. (2018). Engaging African American teens in co-creating and disseminating social media based HIV prevention messages. Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy, 2(41), 1-7.

  11. Kraemer, M.U.G.*, Bakker, M.A.*, Sadilek, A.*, Hswen, Y., Pentland, A., Kucuktunc, O., Gipson, B., Lieber, A., Ramaswami, P., Gabrilovich, E., Brownstein, J.S. (2017). Modeling the ongoing impact of Hurricane Maria using human mobility data. Science. 357 (6358), 1336-1337.

  12. Hswen, Y., Naslund, J.A., Chandrashekar, P., Seigel, R., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (2017). Exploring online communication about cigarette smoking among Twitter users who self-identify as having schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 257, 479-484.

  13. Kluberg, S.A., McGinnis, D.P., Hswen, Y., Majumder, M.S., Santillana, M., & Brownstein, J.S. (2017). County-level assessment of United States kindergarten vaccination rates for measles mumps rubella (MMR) for the 2014–2015 school year. Vaccine, 35(47), 6444-6450.

  14. Majumder, M.S., Nguyen, C.M., Cohn, E.L., Hswen, Y., Mekaru, S.R., & Brownstein, J.S. (2017). Vaccine compliance and the 2016 Arkansas mumps outbreak. The Lancet Infectious diseases, 17(4): 361-362.

  15. Hswen, Y., Gilkey, M.B., Rimer, B.K., & Brewer, N.T. (2017). Improving physician recommendations for human papillomavirus vaccination: the role of professional organizations. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 44(1), 43-48.

  16. Hswen, Y., & Viswanath, K. (2015) Beyond the Hype: Mobile Technologies and Opportunities to Address Health Disparities. Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine. 4(1), 39-40.

  17. Bickham, D. Hswen, Y. Rich, M. (2015). Media use and depression: Relationships among exposure, household rules, and symptoms among young adolescents in the United States. International Journal of Public Health, 1-9.

  18. Hswen, Y., Naslund J.A. & Bickham.D. (2014). Differences in media access and use between rural Native American and White children. Rural and Remote Health. 14, 2922.

  19. Hswen, Y. Rubenzahl, L., & Bickham D. (2014) Feasibility of an online and mobile video game for teaching children safe and healthy cell phone and Internet behaviors. Games for Health Journal, 3(4), 252-259.

  20. Hswen, Y., Murti, V., Vormawor, A.A., Bhattacharjee, R., & Naslund, J.A. (2013). Virtual avatars, gaming, and social media: Designing a mobile health app to help children choose healthier food options. Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine, 2(2), 8-14.

  21. Hswen, Y., & Phinney, A. (2010). The meaning of activity for people with dementia: Examining the perspectives of dementia patients and their families. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 6, S96.

Manuscripts Under Review:

  1. Bickham, D., & Hswen, Y. (Under Review). The effect of brand integration in advergames on children’s product attitudes and nutritional beliefs. Journal of Health Communication.

  2. Hswen, Y., Zhang, A., Sewalk, K., Tuli, G., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. (Under Review). Geographic and Macro-Level Variations in LGBT patient experiences: An online big data analysis. American Journal of Public Health.

  3. Faulkenberry, R., Kontos, E, Hswen, Y., Viswanath, V. (Under Review). Disruptions, disconnections and mHealth: Challenges to cell phone usage among individuals from low socioeconomic position. Journal of Preventing Chronic Disease.

Manuscripts In Preparation:

  1. Kraemer, M.U.G., Sadilek, A., Reiner, R.C., Zhang, Q., Marchal, N.A., Tuli, G., Cohn, E., Hswen, Y., Faria, N.R., Perkins, T.A., Cauchemez, S., Smith, D.L., & Brownstein, J.S. (In Preparation). Mapping global variations in human mobility.


  1. Hswen, Y. Online big data to detect environmental stressors to the marine and coastal ecosystems. Invited presentation. Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) Synthesis Human Health Observing System Workshop held at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, November 14-16, 2018, Washington, DC.

  2. Hswen, Y., Sewalk, K.S., Zhang, A., Tuli, G., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. Applying informatics methods to explore inequities in health care among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) Twitter users. Oral presentation. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo, November 10-14, 2018, San Diego, CA.

  3. Hswen, Y. The Digital Phenotype: Leverage Novel Data Streams to Improve Population Health. Invited Oral Presentation. American College of Rheumatology (ACR/ARHP) Annual Meeting, October 20-24, 2018, Chicago, IL.

  4. Hswen, Y., Sewalk, K.S., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. Using Onling Big Data to Examine Patient Experience. Invited Webinar. Hosted by the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, June 11, 2018, Boston, MA.

  5. Hswen, Y., Gopaluni, A., Brownstein, J.S., & Hawkins, J.B. Feasibility of Using Twitter to Detect Psychological Characteristics of Self-Identified Persons with Autism. Poster presentation at the Geneva Health Forum 7th Edition Precision Global Health in the Digital Age, April 10-12, 2018, Geneva, Switzerland.

  6. Hswen, Y. iThermonitor for Influenza Surveillance in China. Invited “Innovation Zone” presentation at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference, February 2017, Orlando, FL.

  7. Hswen, Y. Invited Presenter for Keynote Speaker: Hot-Spotting Using Big Data for Health Equity. Forum on Population Health Equity. October 2016, Boston, MA. 

  8. Hswen, Y., Gilkey, M.B., Brewer, N.T. Improving physician prescribing behaviors for HPV vaccination: The role of professional organizations. Paper Presentation at the 37th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. April 2016, Washington, DC. 

  9. Hswen, Y., Bickham, D. HIV - Realization - A message to you from Boston youth. Film Feature at the 2015 APHA Global Public Health Film Festival. November 2, 2015, Chicago, IL.

  10. Hswen, Y., Bickham, D. Engaging African American Teens in Designing and Co-creating HIV Prevention Videos Using YouTube. 143rd American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition. November 2, 2015, Chicago, IL.

  11. Hswen, Y., Bickham, D. Searching for Sexual Information Online: An investigation of the methods and practices of African American/Black Youth. Presentation at the Faculty Fellows Meeting, Boston Children’s Hospital. January 15, 2014, Boston, MA.

  12. Bickham. D., Hswen, Y. Brand Integration in advergames: Impact on children’s product preferences and nutritional beliefs. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association 141st Annual Meeting. November 2-6, 2013, Boston, MA.

  13. Hswen, Y., Bickham, D. Feasibility of producing a culturally sensitive HIV/AIDS social media public service announcement for at-risk Africa American adolescent: A pilot study. Oral presentation at the Office of Child Health Community Conference. October 29, 2013, Boston, MA.

  14. Hsiung. G.Y.R., Kirkland K., Hswen Y., Slack S., Summers S., Boyd L., & Jacova C. A pilot randomized study on music therapy for patients with Alzheimer Disease. Oral presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 13-18, 2013, Boston, MA.

  15. Bickham D., Hswen, Y. Efficacy of a school based intervention to reduce screen media time for 6th-8th graders. Oral full manuscript presentation at the International Communication Association Conference, June 17-21, 2013, London, England.

  16. Hswen, Y., Bickham. D. A peer-generated social media campaign to reduce HIV-associated sexual behaviors of at-risk African American Youth. Oral presentation at Boston Children’s Hospital, Aerosmith Foundation Annual Meeting. April 29, 2013, Boston, MA.

  17. Bickham D., & Hswen, Y. Assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of a video-game based cellphone safety education curriculum: Cyberhero Mobile. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, April 18-20, 2013, Seattle, WA.

  18. Graves, S.C., Hswen, Y., Naslund, J., Riblet, N., Cantu, R.V., & Orem, A.O. The use of calcium phosphate bone cement in tibial plateau fractures: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Poster presentation at the Orthopedic Trauma Association 28th Annual Meeting, October 3-6, 2012, Minneapolis, MN.

  19. Hswen, Y., & Phinney, A. The meaning of activity for people with dementia: Examining the perspectives of dementia patients and their families. Oral presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, July 10-15, 2010, Honolulu, HI.

  20. Phinney, A., Kelson, E., & Hswen, Y. Hearing the voice of people with dementia, everyday ethics of research practice. Poster presentation at 21st Annual Canadian Bioethics Society Conference, June 9-12, 2010, Kelowna, BC.

  21. Phinney, A., & Hswen, Y. Qualitative inquiry with people with dementia: Emerging dissemination strategies. Oral presentation at the 15th International Qualitative Health Research Conference, October 4-6, 2009, Vancouver, BC.

Ariel View of Islands

Speaking Engagements


Precision Global Health in the Digital Age

April 11, 2018
Geneva, Switzerland

Annual Conference

February 19, 2017
Orlando, FL

37th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions

April 16, 2016
Washington, DC


A generous thank you to my funders who have improve the health of populations through my research.





I used to act, costume design and build theatre sets


I was a Big Sister Tutor and Mentor for Big SIsters British Columbia for 5+ years


Contact Yulin Hswen


Boston, MA, USA

©2017 by Yulin Hswen.

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