The video recordings of our seminar “BDHSC Pilot Project Showcase” is now available for viewing and downloading. The January seminar featured the work of Dr. Whitney Zahnd, Dr. John Brooks, and Dr. Jiajia Zhang, who are three of twelve recipients of the 2020 BDHSC Pilot Project awards. Information about the 2021 Request for Proposals (RFP) was also discussed.


Dr. Whitney Zahnd presented on her work “A Spatial Approach to Evaluating Potential and Realized Access to Broadband Services – A ‘Super Determinant of Health'”. Dr. Whitney Zahnd is a research assistant professor at the Rural & Minority Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina and co-director of the Big Data Health Science Center’s Geospatial Core. Her research focuses on identifying, describing, and ameliorating rural disparities in cancer across the continuum and utilizing spatial methods to explore disparities in access to health care services.

Tahmidul Islam presented on behalf of Dr. Jiajia Zhang. Dr. Zhang’s project is titled “Improving Mental Health Utilization through Advanced Statistical Modeling using Multiple Hospital Electronic Health Record”. Tahmidul Islam is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Statistics, University of South Carolina. He graduated from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh with B.S. (2014) and M.S. (2016) degree in Statistics, Biostatistics & Informatics. In his Ph.D. research, he has developed a Bayesian nonparametric method for analyzing sparse function data (longitudinal data) using the Gaussian process prior. He has worked on several public health research projects as well. Tahmid’s research interest lies in Bayesian methods, Machine learning, Survival and Longitudinal data. He is going to join the Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) as a postdoctoral fellow. 

 Dr. John Brooks presented his work “Personalizing Evidence for Shoulder Fracture Patients using the Instrumental Variable Causal Forest Nonparametric Machine Learning Algorithm (IV-CFA)”. Dr. Brooks is a health economist with a focus on estimating treatment effectiveness using observational healthcare databases. He is presently the Director of Center for Effectiveness Research in Orthopaedics (CERortho) which is a collaborative effort between the University of South Carolina and Prisma Health to promote comparative effectiveness research (CER) in orthopaedic care. CERortho enables methodologists and clinicians in a large dynamic healthcare system to create prospective data collection platforms and develop innovative methods in treatment effectiveness research. CERortho mission is developing repositories containing patients with MSK conditions and measuring information from throughout their episodes of care to assess treatment effectiveness. The Orthopaedic Patient Data Repository follows populations of patients from Prisma Health with new musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions through their entire episodes of care.