Roundtable on Leveraging Digital Diagnostics to Enhance Mental Health Assessment (TIPS 2017)

This panel discussion was part of the 2017 Technology in Psychiatry Summit, sponsored by the McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry on November 6-7, 2017, at the JB Martin Conference Center, Harvard Medical School.

Recent advances in computing now allow us to measure aspects of behavior and physiology that would not have been feasible even a handful of years ago. This panel showcases some examples of cutting edge tools for understanding the brain and behavior that are low cost and scalable toward a future of “digital diagnostics” that can be leveraged to increase the accessibility and impact of mental health services.


Louis-Philippe Morency, PhD, is faculty at the Carnegie Mellon University Language Technology Institute where he leads the Multimodal Communication and Machine Learning Laboratory. His research focuses on building the computational foundations to enable computers with the abilities to analyze, recognize, and predict subtle human communicative behaviors during social interactions.

Andrea Webb, PhD, is a psychophysiologist and group leader at Draper where she leads a number of efforts related to understanding and quantifying human signals. Her research focuses on the psychophysiology of mental health disorders, deception, and emotional state. She regularly publishes and presents her work in a variety of peer-reviewed venues.

Satra Ghosh, PhD, is a principal research scientist at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member in the speech and hearing biosciences and technology program in the Harvard Division of Medical Sciences. His research encompasses computer science and neuroimaging, focusing on applied machine learning and translational medicine.

Armen C. Arevian, MD, PhD, is the director of the Innovation Lab at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. His work involves “participatory informatics,” combining neuroscience, psychiatry, participatory research, and informatics to support research and health system innovation that is translational and transdiagnostic while seeking to address equity and disparities in vulnerable populations. Examples include utilizing speech as a behavioral biomarker in serious mental illness, and Chorus, a web platform that enables individuals without technical expertise (i.e., patients, community leaders) to co-create their own mobile apps based on their needs/priorities, and then use them in real-time.


Alik Widge, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he directs the Translational NeuroEngineering Lab. Dr. Widge completed his MD at the University of Pittsburgh, his PhD in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, and his psychiatry residency at the University of Washington. His research focuses on brain stimulation for severe and treatment-resistant mental illness, with particular emphasis on deep brain stimulation and related implantable technologies. Dr. Widge’s recent work has demonstrated new algorithms for closed-loop brain stimulation and stimulation methods for modifying connectivity in the distributed circuits of mental illness. His laboratory studies rodent models for prototyping these new technologies and human patients to identify biomarkers and targets for future intervention. He also leads or co-leads programs to design new neurostimulation technologies in the central and peripheral nervous systems, to evaluate technologies for safety and efficacy in humans, and to improve the quality of clinical biomarker research nationwide.

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