The Doctor (or Chatbot?) Is In: Towards Automated Support for Healthcare Tasks using Natural Language Processing

October 14, 2021
3:00-4:00pm ET
Halligan 102, Zoom
Speaker: Natalie Parde, University of Illinois at Chicago
Host: Jivko Sinapov


Natural language processing can be leveraged to address challenging problems in many domains, including the healthcare sector. In this talk I’ll introduce two intriguing healthcare tasks recently explored by my research team: predicting cognitive health status and detecting medical self-disclosure. Our work on predicting cognitive health status focuses on classifying individuals into dementia and control groups, as well as (more recently) predicting fine-grained cognitive health scores along a rigorously validated continuum. Our work on medical self-disclosure explores the degree to which individuals in online communities reveal general and specific health information. We developed a large dataset from publicly available posts from social media and online health forums and trained a predictive model for the task, establishing a strong performance benchmark. I’ll conclude the talk by summarizing key insights and introducing some intriguing directions for future work at the intersection of natural language processing and healthcare.


Natalie Parde is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also co-directs UIC’s Natural Language Processing Laboratory. Her research interests are in natural language processing, with emphases in healthcare applications, interactive systems, multimodality, and creative language. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office Ergonomics Research Committee, the Discovery Partners Institute, and several internal seed funding programs. She serves on the program committees of the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), and the North American Chapter of the ACL (NAACL), among other conferences and workshops. In her spare time, Dr. Parde enjoys engaging in mentorship and outreach for underrepresented CS students.

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