Current Research Areas of Interest
Many youth and young adults are exposed to substance use-related content via social media. We are using social media for insights into drug use behaviors, especially use of newly emerging drugs that are increasing in popularity. This information will help us understand how social media can be used for delivering substance use messages to young people.
As more and more people engage with social media, it is important to learn the motivations of individuals who publicly post about their depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm struggles via postings on social media. We are seeking to understand why this type of social networking occurs online and how it impacts users’ overall mental health.
There is increasing concern about online communities that promote eating disorder (ED) behaviors. We are exploring innovative strategies for online, accessible, and timely ED-related outreach that could facilitate novel ways to utilize social media in mental health promotion and prevention initiatives.
Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Principle Investigator
Dr. Patricia Cavazos-Rehg is the principal investigator (PI) of iCHASM. She is a clinically-trained licensed psychologist who has been involved in biomedical research for over 10 years. After receiving her Ph.D. in Psychology from SUNY at Buffalo in 2004, she moved to Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis, MO to begin her research career, focusing on understanding how policy and social media shape health risk behaviors of young people. In addition to her research, she is also a dedicated Associate Professor and was voted “Course Master of the Year” by students enrolled in the Master of Science in Applied Health Behavior Research program at WUSM.
Erin Kasson, MS, MSW
Clinical Research Coordinator
Ms. Kasson completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, with both Master’s of Science and Master’s of Social Work degrees from Saint Louis University. Ms. Kasson has previously worked and conducted research across a variety of mental disorders.
Xiao Li, MS
Ms. Li completed her Master’s degree in Health Data Science from St. Louis University. She has experience with data mining of national databases and integrating machine learning algorithms into applications. Ms. Li has extensive experience with performing survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, and modeling of large population-based studies.
Ms. Riordan completed her B.S. at the University of Missouri with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. She is currently pursuing admission into medical school and hopes to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has extensive experience conducting a variety of bench research as well as assisting patients overcome opioid addiction.
Ms. Kaiser obtained her BA in Sociology at Saint Louis University and is now studying at SLU School of Medicine. She has extensive research experience studying the opioid crisis and maintains an interest in analyzing reproductive health disparities and the relationship between mental health and social media platforms.
Ms. Anako is an MPH candidate specializing in Health Policy Analysis at Washington University. She attended the University of Arizona where she double majored in Psychology and Sociology. She has conducted research on the social and cultural implications of the Gold King Mine spill for Native American communities. After her undergraduate degree, Nnenna worked as a counselor, focusing on substance abuse, domestic violence and life skills. She is interested in mental healthcare access and policies for low income and under-served communities.
Andrea Fentem, MA
Ms. Fentem completed her undergraduate in psychology and her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She has clinical experience working with a wide-variety of populations, focusing specifically on the behavioral aspect of personality.
Christine Xu, MPH
Ms. Xu recently received her MPH specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Brown School at Washington University. She received her undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical engineering from Chengdu University of Technology in China. She is interested in psychiatric epidemiology, psychiatric genetics, health behavior, developmental psychology, and psychoanalysis. Ms. Xu has experience examining risk factors and psychiatric comorbidity of eating disorders and social anxiety disorder, and the effects of child maltreatment using data from genetically informative, longitudinal study designs. She is also conducting biostatistics research on reproducibility.
Ms. Wilson is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia where she received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. After completing her studies, Briana returned to work in the hospital setting in one of the underrepresented areas of St. Louis. She has previous experience conducting research within the field of engineering.
Ms. Min is an MD/MPH candidate at Washington University (WU). Before beginning her medical training at WU School of Medicine, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She hopes to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. With one final year left in her medical training, she is now a graduate student of public health at WU Brown School. Within public health, she is interested in women’s, maternal-fetal, sexual, and reproductive health, and cancer disparities and prevention. She has experience working in medical and public health research.
Samantha is an undergraduate student at Washington University pursuing a B.A. in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Psychology. She has worked with the iCHASM team on and off since she was in high school and is happy to be back again this semester to help with all the ongoing research projects in the lab.
In this pilot study we examine the preliminary effectiveness of a mobile application, ‘uMAT-R’, that includes health information about opioid use disorder (OUD) recovery supported by science and MAT benefits.
We found that marijuana dispensary websites are easily accessible to youth and suggests a need for surveillance of marijuana commercialization and online advertising, especially in the context of state policy reforms.
We investigated content of body image and ED-related content on Twitter and found that social media can be used for targeting prevention and intervention messages towards those who are in-need of support.
This study demonstrates several barrier that occur for individuals struggling with depression, and that online platforms are effective mediums to recruit individuals with depression symptoms who seek mental health support.
News & Events
Our project manager, Andrea Fentem, presented findings from our uMAT-R project, which aims to connect individuals who misuse opioids with a mobile app to support them throughout their recovery. Raven Riordan and Briana Wilson also presented a poster on our findings and participant feedback to date.
Recruitment at CARE clinic - November 2019
Raven Riordan, one of our Professional Raters, is recruiting pregnant and postpartum women at the CARE clinic to test our new recovery-focused mobile app.
WUSTL Institute for Public Health Conference - October 2019
We love sharing our findings! Briana, Raven, Andrea (L-R) present our preliminary research on treatment barriers among pregnant and postpartum Opioid users at this year’s 12th annual IPH conference: Healthy Moms And Babies: Paving The Path To Reproductive Equity
The experience offered great insight into potential new global mental health research opportunities, allowing our team to gain a deeper understanding on the cross-cultural meaning of personal health.
Southwestern School for Behavioral Health Studies Conference in Tuscon, AZ - August 2018
From left to right: Demetrie Petkas (iTether), Patty Cavazos (iCHASM director), Sean Gunderson (iTether CEO)