Research Initiatives

PHS stimulates research initiatives in the following areas. Some initiatives represent new directions for ongoing collaborations while others are in every sense new. Contact us for more information about any of the initiatives or to be connected with the investigators.

Cyber Security Initiative

Health information exchanges integrate electronic health records from multiple healthcare facilities in a geographic region, and secondary use by researchers of the data from these large generalizable samples have tremendous potential for benefitting population health and informing public policy.  The absence of standard data sharing guidelines, however, has made health care organizations afraid to share data, and threats to individual privacy have risen with the recent explosion in the number of online information sources and rise in hacking incidents. An interdisciplinary group of faculty with expertise in population health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, computer science, bioethics and law will address these challenges from two perspectives:

  1. societal, legal and health policy aspects, assessing the public’s views regarding privacy risks and proposing legal and policy measures that would better achieve the balance of risks and benefits; and

  2. cybersecurity aspects, addressing the key technological challenges for designing secure encryption systems and statistical techniques and identifying critical gaps where novel solutions are needed.

The project is being led by Dr. Lorene Nelson, Associate Director of the Center for Population Health Sciences, and is funded by the Stanford Cyber Initiative.

Realizing the Public Good from Population Health Research

Large repositories that contain information relevant to population health and wellness are increasingly being collected and developed by and available to both governments and private.

There is an increasingly solid understanding of how to handle large, complex, high-risk repositories and datasets in ways that are both compliant with all applicable regulations and sensitive to the potential for harm. To address these complex issues, The Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences will convene a roundtable of stakeholders and experts from academia, industry, government, clinical practices and regulatory bodies, with the intent of gathering input for a future white paper to capture and articulate the findings, trade-offs and consensus opinion from this discussion. Focus of the roundtable and white paper will be on realizing and operationalizing the benefits of the end-to-end discovery-to-intervention process and its complexities and tradeoffs. Emphasis will be on how to identify who benefits, operationalization of identification. For more information, please contact Isabella Chu.