Guest Lecture: Gabriela Marcu "The Importance of Community Care for Health and Wellbeing"

Assistant Professor Gabriela Marcu from University of Michigan will give a guest lecture at the Department of Computer Science.

The Importance of Community Care for Health and Wellbeing

In this talk, I will define community care as the interpersonal relationships that shape a person’s health and wellbeing within their everyday social environments. Through two projects, I will illustrate how designing for community care can enable more holistic approaches to health, highlighting the often overlooked areas of mental health and psychological trauma. First, a child’s community is comprised of their home life, local neighborhood, and school environment. Our efforts designing for behavioral concerns in children found that relationships with their families, teachers, and peers are critical in their development, but at odds with the role of behavioral intervention technologies. Second, neighborhoods affected by the opioid epidemic in the United States have found ways to care for one another when public systems fail them. Our efforts designing a layperson response app for overdoses reveal the potential of technologies to connect members of marginalized communities for healing individual and collective traumas. These two projects contrast community care that occurs through long-term engagement (e.g., school) versus through ad hoc interactions (e.g., overdose) — in both cases, we need to design with an understanding of how people form helping relationships.

Bio: Gabriela Marcu is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating the use of systems for health through qualitative methods, participatory design, community-based approaches, and deployment studies. She champions undergraduate research, and has been the recipient of undergraduate research mentoring awards in the U.S. from the National Center for Women and IT, and the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Math and Computer Science Division. She holds a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.S. in Informatics from the University of California, Irvine.

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