Jasmine and Carmen presents at NCA 2019

Our lab members, Jasmine and Carmen are going to present at NCA 2019 for a paper they wrote on how avatar gender affects female participant’s negotiation style and outcomes in an online environment. This work was based on their undergraduate research at Cornell University. The presentation will be Sunday 11/11, 11am, and the paper was awarded the Best Student Paper at the Organizational Communication Division!

Congrats, Jasmine and Carmen!

SONIC would like to congratulate Jasmine (1st year PhD student at MTS Program) and Carmen (Lab manager) on winning Best Student Paper in Group Communication Division at NCA 2019!

Their paper “Effects of Avatar Gender on Negotiation in a Virtual Environment” was written with another student, Cordelia, when they were all undergraduate students at Cornell University.

Details regarding their abstract and presentation can be found here:

Noshir Contractor shares insights with the National Intelligence Science and Technology Committee (NISTC)

On October 17, 2019, the National Academies hosted one of the meetings of the science and technology chiefs of the 17 national security intelligence agencies and associates, convened as the National Intelligence Science and Technology Committee (NISTC). The meeting gives the NISTC an opportunity to learn about National Academies’ capabilities and activities that may be relevant to Intelligence Community (IC) interests.

During that day, Noshir was invited to speak about and contributed his insights regarding Trust and AI. For details regarding the agenda, please see image below:

Noshir presents keynote at Connected Commons

Describing how organizations can mine their “digital exhaust” to address critical HR challenges, Noshir Contractor recently presented keynote “Understanding & Enabling The  Future of Work” at The Connected Commons’s Fall Summit. The Connected Commons is a consortium of diverse organizations co-managed by Rob Cross and i4cp.

For more details, please refer to the agenda:

SONIC at OCMC 2019: Highlights

SONIC had the pleasure to attend OCMC 2019 at University of Illinois. Below are a few highlights:

Left to Right: Noshir, Kyosuke, Yuanxin, Rustom, Diego
Diego presenting his research, “The Diversity Paradox”
Yuanxin presenting her research related to enterprise social media.
Kyosuke presented his research “The Origins of Network Routing Errors in Organizations”

Congrats, and good luck, Rustom!

SONIC is delighted to introduce Rustom Ichhaporia, who is a senior at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora (IMSA).

This summer, we were proud to host Rustom Ichhaporia as a research intern working on the My Dream Team project. While the internship has ended, we would  like to extend the biggest congratulations to him, who recently presented at OCMC 2019, and has his paper accepted at the 8th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications happening in Lisbon, Portugal!

Rustom’s internship focused on studying how traits and social networks influence team formation. Driven by his passion for teams and statistical analysis, he enjoyed learning multiple social network analysis methods and participated in a research project. During the summer, Rustom organized, analyzed, and described datasets using the R package statnet. He used Exponential Random Graph Models to study the factors that are most likely to explain the selection, acceptance, and rejection of invitations in self-assembling teams.

Rustom and his poster “A Network Approach to Study the Formation of Self-Assembled Teams”

Based on his analysis, he wrote a paper with Diego Gómez-Zará, a PhD student at SONIC, describing the findings of this research study. The paper has been accepted to the 8th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications to be held in December 2019 in Lisbon. During his time at SONIC, Rustom demonstrated his analytic skills, critical thinking, perseverance, and determination to conduct research projects, all qualities that will make him outstanding as a data scientist.

The SONIC Lab thanks Rustom for all of his hard work this summer, and wishes him luck in his future studies!

SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Hank Green

SONIC  is proud to welcome Dr. Hank Green of Indiana University. He will speak on Wednesday, Nov 6th  at 10:30 am in Frances Searle Building, Room 3-417. Please contact Carmen Chan with any questions.

Hank Green
Associate Professor

Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health

Indiana University Network Science Institute


Network-based Strategies for Improving PrEP Availability Among those at High Risk forHIV

Pharmaceutical Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) has been proven effective against HIV infection, but it is underutilized as an HIV prevention strategy in part due to a lack of familiarity with PrEP treatment regimes among healthcare providers that serve the most at risk communities.  Lack of healthcare provider knowledge has been identified as a substantial contributor to the continuing increase of HIV infections among sexual and gender minority patients. An Institute of Medicine report states, “few physicians are knowledgeable about or sensitive to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health risks or needs.” Nevertheless, physicians often serve as key points of access for this preventive treatment among minority patients who may not know the full range of prevention options. Thus, physicians’ lack of knowledge is likely to limit the highest risk patients’ awareness of, screening for, and access to PrEP. In this study, we propose to develop network-based strategies that help identify physicians who serve populations at high risk for HIV but who prescribe PrEP infrequently and those physicians likely to influence the prescribing behavior of their peers, facilitating the dissemination of information about PrEP via strategically targeted information campaigns.

Physician networks inferred from medical claims data protect patient identities but enable insights into the numbers and kinds of patients shared by physicians across the country and approximate the structure of physicians’ professional communication networks. Prior research has shown that physician networks inferred from shared patients are strongly predictive of the diffusion of shared medical practices. Medical knowledge is exchanged among physicians who share patients with one another because they often go to each other for advice about new treatments, difficult cases, etc. Medical claims data can provide more reliable information than data provided by physician surveys because the latter typically exhibit low response rates and a high likelihood of nonresponse bias. Additionally, acquiring a complete national set of medical claims is affordable whereas acquiring a set of complete national physician surveys would be prohibitively expensive.

Using national-scale claims data and the network generated from them, we tested hypotheses that ask whether PrEP prescribing behavior in physician sub-communities varies based on the whether a physician 1) is or has close ties to an infectious disease specialist, 2) shares patients with PrEP prescribing physicians, 3) shares patients with a doctor that treats a high proportion of HIV patients, 4) treats patients covered by specific insurance providers. While testing these and other hypotheses, we will account for contextual and geographic factors including location of providers in states with high incidence of HIV or in regions with high stigma against MSM. Understanding which of these network features may be associated with knowledge of and prescription of PreP will lead to new strategies that identify doctors who may be most influenced to begin or increase their recommendation of PrEP or who are positioned to shape the PrEP prescribing behavior of their peers, ultimately increasing its utilization among those at risk for HIV. The strategy, while focused here on PrEP, is broadly generalizable for any innovation in medical care that would benefit from a more targeted approach. This study has 3 aims:

Aim 1. Construct a physician-to-physician network relevant to the population indicated for PrEP. We used aggregated medical claims from both private and public payers to create a physician-to-physician network using standard network approaches. The data included all claims for patients being treated with drugs uniquely prescribed for STIs such as HIV and genital herpes, establishing a baseline of shared patients representative of the population indicated for PrEP.

Aim 2. Test alternative hypotheses for processes that may drive PrEP prescription rates. We used information about the distribution of PrEP prescribing in this network to assess the relative contribution of 1) social influence 2) differential awareness of PrEP, 3) geographic variation related to features of the HIV epidemic (such as stigma), and 4) other network based features such as clustering to prescription rates while controlling for factors such as the rural or urban location of a doctor.

Aim 3. We will use the structure of the physician network developed in Aim 1 and the results of our analyses in Aim 2 to identify targets for a strategic information campaign.  We will generate a series of rules that identify physician characteristics associated with being an appropriate target and an appropriate peer change agent. Then, based on those rules we will simulate the diffusion of PrEP information and PrEP prescribing behavior in the network we generated in Aim 1. We will also contact a small set of targets and change agents to assess the accuracy of our rules and determine the opinions of these physicans regarding the broader utility of such targeted campaigns for increasing PrEP prescribing, fundamentally affecting the PrEP care cascade.

To learn more about the speaker, please visit: https://publichealth.indiana.edu/research/faculty-directory/profile.html?user=hdgreen

Noshir at DC holding a public discussion for SBS research to promote interdisciplinary collaboration

Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is holding a public discussion of a new report, A Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis. This decadal survey, the first undertaken in the SBS domains, uncovered new prospects for SBS research and ways to promote interdisciplinary collaboration. The report provides guidance for the development of a 10-year research agenda and identifies key opportunities for SBS research to strengthen intelligence analysis with research directions in areas for improving sensemaking, social cybersecurity, human-machine teaming, and the future analytic workforce.

Noshir Contractor, along with other members of the decadal survey committee and representatives from the federal government and research organizations, are at DC to discuss findings and recommendations from the report as well as next steps to make progress in SBS research and collaboration between research communities and the IC.

Event details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sbs-decadal-survey-report-launch-tickets-67200964895

Agenda: https://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_195500.pdf