Social Work & Public Health
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Randi Foraker and Albert Lai
I’m a PhD candidate at the Center for Population Health Informatics, and I recently proposed my thesis. I’m originally from New York, but I’ve been in St. Louis since 2013. I did my undergraduate and master’s degrees at WashU in computer science and linguistics.
Research interests and current project:
My research interests are, broadly speaking, biomedical data science and clinical predictive modeling with a focus on social determinants of health. Projects I’m currently working on include modeling the impact of social determinants of health on COVID-19 outcomes, predicting whether patients will be readmitted to the hospital following spinal fusion surgery, examining the performance of machine learning and statistical models on predicting autoimmune disease diagnosis, and exploring how social connectedness impacts new daily rates of COVID-19 cases across counties.
Why did you decide to pursue your PhD at WashU?
The DCDS program was basically the perfect program for me. I didn’t want to pursue a PhD in computer science, and I wanted to do research at the intersection of health, medicine, and computing. When I heard about the DCDS program and, specifically, the Social Work & Public Health track of the program, I knew it was the right program.