I am an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics at University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, where I lead the Language, Behavior, and Context lab. I am also an affiliate of the eScience Institute and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, and hold adjunct faculty appointments in the UW Information School and UW Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, where I am co-director of the Svoboda Diaries Project, a lab that engages 15-20 students per year in research and/or historical preservation activities.

I received a BA in Psychology from Harvard University and MSIS and PhD degrees in Information Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. My work sits at the conceptual intersection of modeling/studying psychosocial and communicative processes in different life contexts to develop strategies for improving everyday life.

Here are conceptual and methodological foci of my work:

Conceptual interests:

  • Patient experience in the management of chronic and complex conditions
  • The relationship between information behavior, conceptualization of health and wellbeing, and impacts on health-related behaviors
  • Psychosocial and communicative processes in online and offline environments

Methodological interests:

  • Interpretive research methodologies
  • Data and visual representation to support interpretive research approaches
  • Research infrastructures to support the analysis of psychosocial and communicative phenomena


I am currently Immediate Past Chair of the Special Interest Group, Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIG USE). Please check out our website if you are interested in learning more and getting involved.

I am co-editing a JAMIA focus issue on Interactive Visualization of Health Data for Digital and Personal Health. Please reach out if you have questions!


Broadly speaking, I am interested in how to represent and interpret psychosocial and communicative processes as they occur in society and in the world, for the purposes of wellbeing.

My interests manifest in various conceptual areas including:

  • Methodological innovation in the representation of complex psychosocial and communicative processes
  • Research infrastructures for interpretation
  • Social media research
  • Understanding consumer behavior through online methods
  • Patient and/or caregiver experience of specific conditions/disorders/contexts (fibromyalgia, substance use, dementia, mental health)
  • Digital humanities

Current projects include:

Sample publications:


I was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in Biomedical and Health Informatics in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education (2022-2023)

Recent presentations:

  • Chaliparambil, R. K., Johnny, S., Wong, S. H., Glass, J. E., Wang, L., Conway, M., Chen, A. T. (accepted). A theory-informed approach to studying social media about substance use. To be presented at the annual meeting of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), Nov.11-15th, 2023, New Orleans, LA.
  • Chen, A. T., Johnny, S., Chaliparambil, R., Wong, S., Glass, J. (accepted). Considering the role of information and context in promoting health-related behavioral change. To be presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), Oct. 27-31, London, UK.
  • Ma, R., Chen, A. T., Poole, A., Chassanoff, A., Wingate, A. Invited to give a panel presentation entitled, “Evaluating the value of exploratory tools in digital humanities collections and scholarly projects: Discussions from researchers, developers, and users’ perspectives,” at the annual meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T 2023), Oct. 26-31, 2023. London, United Kingdom.


I teach courses on topics relating to consumer health informatics, user-centered and stakeholder-engaged design, and research methods. Though the courses I teach span a variety of modalities (in-person and virtual, synchronous and asynchronous), they include common threads:

  • Hands-on, real-world experience. My courses will involve projects that mentored by sponsors in different contexts, including clinical care, informatics, assisting living and retirement communities, software companies, academic laboratories, and more.
  • Discursive design. You bring the value! You and your colleagues benefit due to the contributions that each person makes. This may involve online discussion, in-class discussion, student presentations, and interactive group activities.
  • Teamwork. Courses afford opportunities for students to engage in collaborative work with others. These experiences can not only lead to valuable experiences for working on larger projects, but also perhaps catalyze lasting relationships with future collaborators!
  • Agency. Through participation, students have the ability to shape the content towards their interests. Take one to find out how this works.

Courses currently taught at the University of Washington:

  • BIME 543, Consumer Health and Informatics
  • BIME 554, Biomedical Information Interactions and Design
  • NMETH 530, Scholarly Proposal Development