NORC staff in the hallway in the Chicago office
Research Scientist Office in Bethesda NORC at the University of Chicago
Meeting in an office at NORC

Health Media Collaboratory

The Health Media Collaboratory believes in using data to promote health.

The internet and social media have redefined how we encounter, generate and share knowledge. These evolving forms of communication, combined with traditional media, saturate our society with messages that are powerful and complex. While mass marketing can promote unhealthy behavior and contribute to disease, we believe it can be harnessed to positively impact the health behavior of individuals and communities.

We bring together social science researchers, information scientists, and new media specialists to collaborate across and beyond academia.

We develop rigorous, innovative and multidisciplinary methods to study how media impact health. We examine how health information is searched for, engaged with and shared on traditional and new forms of media. We measure the volume and analyze the content of public health campaigns and industry advertising to understand their effects on health. We create our own surveys to understand how individuals use media and how this experience shapes their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding health.

We are committed to sharing what we learn.

We share knowledge with policymakers, the research community and the public so that we all can make informed decisions that protect and promote our health.

Representative Projects

A Framework for Collection and Quality Assessment of Social Media Data. The Health Media Collaboratory (HMC) developed this research through a grant funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. U01 CA154254) and the NCI's State and Community Tobacco Control Network.  The aim of the Tobacco Control in a Rapidly Changing Media Environment (TCRCM) grant was to report and analyze the amount and variety of tobacco-related information that both smokers and nonsmokers encounter across legacy and social media platforms such as Twitter.  More

Identifying early Twitter marketing of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). With support from the National Cancer Institute (Grant No. U01 CA154254), the Health Media Collaboratory (HMC) continues to explore tobacco-related messages in new media such as Twitter and YouTube.  ENDS (more commonly referred to as e-cigarettes) use is frequently discussed on Twitter as these devices continue to be widely used, and the policy environment remains in flux.  HMC has applied machine learning techniques designed to efficiently and accurately distinguish the relevancy of tweets related to ENDS and to identify promotional tweets that are marketing ENDS products.  In order to address concerns about possible loopholes being exploited through aggressive product claims or marketing of nicotine-based products to minors on social media, HMC has continued this investigation of ENDS-related social media messages using supervised and unsupervised machine-learning techniques. More

More Details on HMC’s Development of Relevance Classifiers. Little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs) are an under studied domain in tobacco control and are particularly interesting because of the strategic and targeted marketing used to promote these products to youth and communities of color.  Characterizing the role of new media platforms like Twitter in tobacco product marketing and counter marketing is critically important as these platforms largely remain under the radar of tobacco control policymakers and are not currently covered by the advertising restrictions that apply to outdoor and television advertising. More


Sparks: The NORC Blog Eman Hassaballa Aly: 75 Years and Counting: How Digital and Legacy Media Rely on Each Other More
Posted: 12.21.2016 3:57PM
Sparks: The NORC Blog Sherry Emery: Welcome to NORC: To Infinite (Data) and Beyond More
Posted: 8.2.2016 11:26AM
Press Release Health Media Collaboratory Joins NORC at the University of Chicago More
Posted: 8.2.2016 9:38AM

The Health Media Collaboratory Team

Sherry Emery

Glen Szczypka
Deputy Director

Yoonsang Kim
Senior Research Scientist

Anna Kostygina
Senior Research Scientist

Eman H. Aly
Director of Communications

Dani Heide
Administrative Director

Steven Binns
Research Scientist

Hy Tran
Data Scientist