Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D.

Wendy Nilsen

Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D. is a Program Director for the Smart and Connected Health Program in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering at the National Science Foundation. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology and health.  This includes a wide range of methods for data collection, data analytics and turning data to knowledge. Her interests span the areas of sensing, analytics, cyber-physical systems, information systems, big data and robotics, as they relate to health.  More specifically, her efforts include: serving as cochair of the Health Information Technology Research and Development community of practice of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program; the lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement; convening workshops to address methodology in mobile technology research; serving on numerous federal technology initiatives; and, leading training institutes. Previously, Wendy was at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR).

Creating a Smart and Connected Health System

Abstract: Due to advances in engineering and computing, nested with a changing policy environment, medicine is at the cusp of a transformation that will accelerate discovery, improve patient outcomes, decrease costs, and address the complexity of challenging health problems. To realize these advances requires partnerships between the scientific and health domains. The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health created the Smart and Connected Health (SCH) initiative as a crosscutting program that supports partnerships between scientists with diverse expertise to accelerate the development of innovative technological approaches to transform health. Research communities funded by SCH are developing breakthrough ideas in a variety of diverse areas relevant to health, such as sensor technologies, networking, information and machine learning, decision support systems, modeling of behavioral and cognitive processes, as well as system and process harmonization. Solutions that effectively influence health must satisfy a multitude of constraints creating challenges and opportunities that individual disciplines cannot address alone. This talk explores the challenges in developing a smart health research ecosystem and highlights opportunities and promising new areas of research.