Staff: Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, PhD, MPH

Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou

Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, PhD, MPH

Program Director
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Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Program Director in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) of the Behavioral Research Program (BRP) at NCI. Her research interests include social media and health, health literacy, patient-provider communication for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer, and mixed methods research. Trained as a sociolinguist, she has expertise in qualitative analyses of health care interactions. She has led a number of NIH initiatives on the role of technology and social media in various areas of health, including funding initiatives on the impact of the changing communication landscape on substance use and addiction as well as cancer prevention and control. Dr. Chou has more than 50 scientific publications, many of which have documented health-related internet use, the impact of social media use, and the utility of qualitative and mixed methods approaches to clinical communication about cancer prognosis and goals of care.

Dr. Chou came to the HCIRB from the NCI Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program. Prior to joining NCI, she obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University. Her doctoral dissertation examined end-of-life discourse through an ethnographic and linguistic analysis of interactions between seriously-ill cancer patients and caregivers. She holds a bachelor's degree in Music (piano performance) from Santa Clara University in California and a master's degree in Public Health from the Interdisciplinary M.P.H. program at University of California, Berkeley.

Current and/or past BRP mentors include Wendy Nelson.

Current and/or past BRP mentees include Emily Peterson, Carolyn Reyes-Guzman and Neha Trivedi.

Research Areas

  • Social media
  • Palliative care and goals of care communication
  • Patient-provider communication
  • Qualitative and mixed methods health research
  • Health literacy
  • Global cancer control research
  • Health-related misinformation

Selected Publications and Presentations

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