Public Health Assisting Smart Technologies (PHAST)

The mission of the PHAST is the creation of smart devices that promote awareness and understanding of personal activity spaces and how they affect health. Through the creation of wearable devices that integrate data-logging global positioning system receivers with personal and environmental sensors, our aim is to create integrated devices that can provide a wealth of individual-level data that can address major public health problems, such as the relationship between physical exercise and obesity, social interaction and the spread of infectious diseases, assessment of small-scale variations in exposures to airborne pollution, and environmental injustices. These devices allow for the spatial and temporal mapping of individual activity spaces and the identification of health risks associated with these spaces. Such information has the potential to improve Public Health by informing and promoting alternative environmental policies, community perspectives, and individual behaviors.

CalFit — Smartphone-based Physical Activity Tracking







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CalFit awarded UC Davis RISE grant

Dr. Jay Han, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, at UC Davis Medical Center has been an important partner in validating the CalFit phone’s energy expenditure algorithm.  Along with a group of multi-disciplinary researchers, this summer we were awarded a Research Investments in the Sciences and Engineering (RISE) grant to establish the iWHW (Initiative for Wireless Health and Wellness) at UC Davis.

This grant is a testament to the success of cross-campus collaboration fostered by the UC CITRIS initiative, through which I began working with Jay.  The RISE grant will enable further development of CalFit technologies to improve personalized mobile health technologies.

Chinese Food Environment

This is your average mom-n-pop restaurant in Kunming, China. Wonder why I suddenly feel thirsty for a cold coke?

My PhD student, Jenna Hua and I were recently in Kunming, China working on her pilot study. Jenna is interested in the interplay between rapid urbanization in China, changing food environments, and how this affects diet and obesity risk in Chinese populations.

Using CalFit mobile phones for her pilot study, she tracked a cohort of university students. The phones tracked people’s time-location patterns: where they eat and get exercise — wonderful contextual information to better understand risk behaviors associated with obesity risk.

Want to know just how dramatic the food environment changes are in China?

Welcome to the new drive-thru McDonalds in a suburb of Kunming.

Want to contribute to this project?  Contact me.