Symposium to Spotlight Digital Mental Health Technology

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The Sept. 19 event will explore the future of AI and ‘behavioral sensing.’

Young woman holding a cell phone with a 'digital cloud' overhead
(Graphic by Richard Clark/Midjourney artificial intelligence)

Experts in the field of digital mental health will gather at Dartmouth on Sept. 19 to discuss opportunities and challenges in developing innovative digital tools that can transform mental health care.

President Sian Leah Beilock will deliver opening remarks to kick off the Digital Mental Health & AI Symposium organized by the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at the Hanover Inn.

“The Center for Technology and Behavioral Health is a leader in the science of digital health as applied to health behavior,” says CTBH Director Lisa Marsch. “We are excited to host this event with the Dartmouth community to highlight the opportunities for using digital health tools to promote mental health anytime and anywhere.”

Marsch noted that the center, part of the Geisel School of Medicine, has been designated as a “Center of Excellence” by the National Institutes of Health.

The one-day event includes keynote talks, a research poster session, and panel discussions on student mental health, how AI is shaping the field, and the ways to unlock the full potential of digital therapies.

“The symposium will bring together some of the leading experts in the field under the same roof to discuss the successes and roadblocks so far and share their ideas on plotting the path forward,” says event co-chair Andrew Campbell, Albert Bradley 1915 Third Century Professor in the Department of Computer Science.

Digital mental health technologies encompass a wide range of data-driven or AI-powered web-based and mobile tools that are designed to impact mental health outcomes of users.

The initial impetus behind trying to use technology in the mental health space was to fill the gap caused by the general lack of adequate health care resources, says Campbell. “Soon after, the smartphone and social media became something akin to petri dishes to try to understand what’s going on in people’s lives around the issue of mental health.”

Since then, Campbell says, there have been a number of successes, for example, in using phones to predict behaviors, using those behaviors to predict symptoms, and then engaging in interventions and therapeutic approaches based on the predicted symptoms.

The upcoming symposium will focus on advances in behavioral sensing (the use of sensors in personal devices to measure and monitor behavior), intervention (activities accessed via technology platforms that improve users’ mental health), and the AI revolution.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Cornell Tech Professor and HealthRhythms Co-Founder Tanzeem Choudhury;
  • David Mohr, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern;
  • Munmun De Choudhury, associate professor of computer science at Georgia Tech;
  • and John Kane, professor of psychiatry and molecular medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Health.
Harini Barath