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CSE Ph.D. Student Receives Best Paper Award and UC President's Fellowship Award

Computer scientists at UC San Diego and Microsoft Research have developed a system that combines a mobile application and sensor to detect stress in parents and delivers research-based strategies to help decrease that stress during emotionally charged interactions with their children. CSE Ph.D. student Laura Pina (at right), a former intern at Microsoft Research, presented her joint work with Microsoft researchers at the 8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, which took place May 20-23 in Germany. 

Pina's paper, "In Situ Cues for ADHD Parenting Strategies Using Mobile Technology," won the Best Paper award at PervasiveHealth 2014. Separately, Pina was awarded a President's Dissertation Year Fellowship from the campus for the 2014-15 academic year. Only four Ph.D. students at UC San Diego were awarded the fellowships from the President of the University of California. One of the major factors in the award was that it aims to benefit doctoral candidates whose "research or planned career direction focues on problems related to disadvantaged segments of society (in this case, children with ADHD and their families).                                                                                                                         

The system was initially tested on a small group of parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The system, called ParentGuardian, is the first to detect stress and present interventions in real-time—at the right time and in the right place. It combines a sensor worn on the wrist with a smart phone and tablet, as well as a server that analyses the data from the sensor. The interventions are based on Parenting Behavioral Therapy, which has been shown to be effective in addressing the needs of children with ADHD and their parents. The therapy teaches parents the skills they need to work on and has been shown to have long-term effects for both parent and child. It has been shown to improve self-control and self-awareness in children and reduce parental stress. Traditionally, parents are taught when or how to use these strategies with their children. But sticking with the therapy is difficult, especially during times of the day that are particularly stressful.

[Pictured above: ParentGuardian combines an app and a sensor, as well as powerful computing to detect stress and deliver research-based strategies to help decrease that stress.]

Read the full news release on the Jacobs School of Engineering website.