AcademyHealth, with support from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, is funding health services research projects to understand the potential and challenges of using internet search data to improve diagnosis. The goal of this study is to harness search engine usage data to understand the mental health experiences of individuals facing minority disparities. A significant barrier in addressing these disparities is the dearth of appropriate data and patient-centered evidence that delineate the unique needs and circumstances of minoritized individuals. Drawing on the research team’s decade-long cross-disciplinary expertise analyzing digital data to understand and improve mental health outcomes, this study will harness an ethically gathered, patient-contributed, and expert curated dataset of millions of online search queries spanning over several hundred patients with a diagnosis of a psychiatric condition. The team will: (1) identify indicators of distress as well as minority stressors and protective factors unique to marginalized sociodemographic groups, through computational analysis of search queries and metadata; and (2) assess how the identified attributes predict psychiatric hospitalization and suicidal thoughts/behaviors within each sociodemographic group. Anticipated outcomes include the identification and quantification of attributes describing the unique mental health context of minoritized sociodemographic groups, and predictive approaches to proactively gauge adverse events experienced by these groups. Deliverables will include a project work plan, narrative and financial reports, and a range of products to reach researchers, funders, clinicians and other audiences with study findings.

Principal Investigator(s)


Munmun De Choudhury, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, School of Interactive Computing - Georgia Institute of Technology

Munmun De Choudhury is an Associate Professor at the School of Interactive Computing in Georgia Institute of T... Read Bio