Storywell is a smartphone app for family physical activity promotion. The system uses health sensors so that caregivers and their children can track their physical activity. When a family meets their activity goals, they will receive virtual rewards in the form of children’s storybook chapters. The storybook chapters are supplemented with reflective questions to help families learn about factors that can help them to be active.

The app was prioritized for families in low-socioeconomic status neighborhoods because members of such communities often had limited resources to be healthy due to marginalizations.

This app is part of the NSF-funded Experiential Learning Technologies for Family Fitness project.

Boston Unemployment Map

A map that shows unemployment disparities in Boston

The Boston Unemployment Map shows unemployment disparities among racial and ethnic groups. I developed this map in collaboration with Action Boston for Community Development (ABCD) and Harvard CRCS.

With 60 years of community action and neighborhood engagement in Boston, ABCD is interested in enhancing their workforce development and support programs for job seekers. More specifically, they see that innovative technologies will allow them to make strategic decisions in allocating resources including outreach efforts. 

Using a user-centered and iterative design approach, we decided to develop a visualization tool that shows unemployment disparities in Boston at sub-neighborhood levels. This tool allows them to see parts of neighborhoods in the city where there is disproportionate unemployment among Black and Latino women and men. 

While this tool provides the insights required by ABCD to make strategic decisions, the CRCS team pointed out that the tool is also emphasizing the social injustice issues that continue to linger in Boston. The unemployment disparities are more pervasive within the neighborhoods where Black and Latino households live. Therefore, without more targeted interventions, these employment disparities constrain Black and Brown people from achieving economic mobility.

mHealth Systematic Review in Vulnerable Populations

Many studies had examined how mHealth tools can promote healthy behaviors within marginalized populations. I co-conducted a systematic review of such research, examining the design and impact of mHealth tools for low-socioeconomic individuals and racial/ethnic minority groups.

With 83 papers in the corpus, our analysis provides an overview of the research methodology, mHealth system design and implementation, the populations involved in intervention design and evaluation, and promising mHealth intervention techniques. We discuss topics including the impact of the theoretical basis on interventions design, the implications of underreported and underrepresented study populations, and the barriers to and facilitators of mHealth interventions. Findings from this review highlight trends that can drive critically needed digital innovations in health promotion for populations that experience disproportionate barriers to wellness.


The number of informal caregivers who are caring for family members with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is rising dramatically. These caregivers have numerous mental and physical health problems associated with the burdens of care. In this project, I led the development of Go&Grow, a digital game to increase physical activity and social connections among informal caregivers of family members with AD.

  • Go&Grow: An Evaluation of a Pervasive Social Exergame for Caregivers of Loved Ones with Dementia
    Xin Yao Lin, Herman Saksono, Elizabeth Stowell, Margie Lachman, Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa, Andrea G. Parker. 2020. Go&Grow: An Evaluation of a Pervasive Social Exergame for Caregivers of Loved Ones with Dementia. In Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 4, CSCW 2, Article 151 (October 2020).

Spaceship Launch

Sedentary living is one major contributing factor to childhood obesity; as such, interventions that help young children increase their physical activity levels are needed. Involving parents in these interventions is critical, given parents’ influence on children’s physical activity environments and the powerful impact they have as role models. In this project, I developed Spaceship Launch, a gamified collaborative fitness app to encourage physical activity within the family unit, that is, in both parents and young children.

The app was prioritized for families in low-income neighborhoods because members of such communities often had limited resources to be healthy due to marginalizations.