WNYC seeks mHealth research partners

New York City's public radio station is working to boost its impact by helping listeners understand the ways their daily habits affect their health.

WNYC's health news unit is looking for research partners that are interested in how mobile technology can help people track and improve their health.

The station was the recipient of a $1 million lead grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create a staff devoted to health coverage -- everything from policy to personal health.

Last year, the station spearheaded Clock Your Sleep. The station built its own app and worked with Jawbone and Fitbit to help people learn about their sleep habits and strategies to get better sleep.

Earlier this year, the station's tech podcast New Tech City launched a project, Bored and Brilliant, to encourage people to find a balanced relationship with their smartphones by tracking their phone habits with the apps Moment and BreakFree.

Elain Chen, project manager for WNYC, said the goal of these projects is to increase the impact of WNYC's reporting by getting listeners to understand how their day-to-day habits affect their health. The station's health podcast will begin running this fall.

"Our projects yield a significant amount data (Sleep and Bored and Brilliant had thousands of participants) that could be rich for analysis by a medical or health researcher," she said.

If you have an area of research that might benefit from crowd-sourcing, please contact Chen at echen@wnyc.org.

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