January 6, 2023

Stigma relating to substance use disorders can have a range of negative consequence for those affected.  Although there is increasing awareness of the harmful effects of stigmatizing individuals who engage in substance use, there is much more that we can do. 

This opportunity is a 20 hr. per week graduate student RA position for Winter Quarter 2023. The position is focused on using machine learning and statistical methods to better identify stigma phenotypes, or the different ways in which substance use related stigma manifest in narrative data, including social media and questionnaire data. This position will involve two primary sets of activities:

1) Using cluster analysis methods to identify stigma phenotypes, where a phenotype is defined as a cluster comprised of stigma typesetting (school, work, home, and healthcare interaction) and actor (family, significant other, co-worker, healthcare provider) combinations that commonly co-occur, in social media data. You will have access to a social media dataset with indications of stigma type (already annotated or derived), and your goal would be to take this forward by deriving the other features (setting and actor) using multiple methods, and then performing cluster analysis.  

2) Supporting a research team that is engaged in qualitative content analysis of the same data by deriving features that may be needed to support their interpretive process, as well as engaging in data transformations to support this process.

We have an extant pipeline that was developed to harvest the discussion posts from the web, pre-process them, and then identify stigma-related posts using natural language processing methods. We seek a researcher with a strong background in machine learning, natural language processing, or other related methods, and is also interested in applying these in an interpretive context, to join our team and expand this pipeline. 

An appreciation/experience with qualitative data analysis methods can be helpful due to the nature of the data.

The overarching goal of this work is to better understand the diverse experiences of stigma relating to substance use to inform the develop of stigma reduction interventions.

If you are interested in this position, please send a resume/CV and letter of interest to Dr. Annie Chen (atchen@uw.edu).