Enabling Precision Health and Medicine (2019-2020)


Several advancements have developed concurrently to promote health and well-being, including genetic and genomic technologies, digital (e-health) technologies and mobile applications. In particular, wearable technologies have the potential to promote health awareness and self-monitoring and can be used by individuals of all age groups, healthy and affected alike, including among student on college campuses, to help establish healthy behaviors and monitor various health measures.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project will work on developing the infrastructure for a new campus initiative to promote student health awareness and engagement. In particular, the project entails the use of digital-based wearable technologies to be used by Duke undergraduates for the purpose of self-monitoring their health-related behaviors. The hope is that with greater behavioral awareness, students will be able to practice and establish healthy behaviors that will benefit them during their time at Duke and beyond.

The team will launch a pilot study in Fall 2019 in one residence hall to assess feasibility and initially focus on sleep behaviors. The team will then monitor the enrollment, drop-out rates and the participation level over the school year. Team members will also work to expand and improve the companion-based app (developed by the 2018-2019 team) and develop educational resources and interventions to prepare for the second and larger pilot study to launch in Fall 2020.

Additional events will likely arise from the first pilot study that will require changes that the team can help address and implement for the larger second pilot study. Team members will also begin to conduct some preliminary analysis from the data collected in the first pilot study to understand patterns of participation and drop-out. They will then use these data to improve the launch of the second pilot study and prepare papers for publication.

Anticipated Outputs

Publications about first pilot study; revised companion app with improved usability and features; revised recruitment materials; revised education materials for all wearables; revised website; interventions to promote healthy sleep behaviors among undergraduates; resources to promote health sleep behaviors (in cooperation with relevant campus groups such as DuWell)

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this team will include 4 undergraduates and 1 graduate student from disciplines such as Biology, Statistics, Computer Science, Psychology and Public Policy.

The graduate student on the team could potentially serve as a team leader (depending on prior research and mentorship experience) and lead some of the technical work.

All students on the team will learn about human subjects research and be added as student investigators on current and new research protocols; learn how to conduct a literature review and draft a manuscript for publication; and learn about the many policies raised in this study on a variety of topics (e.g., health education, wearables, health behavior, privacy).


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Fall 2019: Begin weekly meetings; learn how to conduct literature reviews; complete human subjects research certification; launch pilot study; begin data analysis; begin and finalize draft of deliverables; submit new IRB protocols (if necessary); meet and present to clients
  • Spring 2020: Continue data collection and analysis; finalize deliverables


Independent study credit available for fall and spring semesters

See earlier related team, Enabling Precision Health and Medicine (2018-2019).


/faculty/staff Team Members

  • Geoffrey Ginsburg, School of Medicine
  • Susanne Haga, Sanford School of Public Policy|School of Medicine-Population Health Sciences*
  • Ryan Shaw, School of Nursing*