Staff: Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou

Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Former Fellow, Currently Employed within the Program

Program Director

NOTE: Dr. Chou is a Program Director in the Behavioral Research Program. This page reflects her time as a fellow; find her staff profile here.

Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H., was a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) from July 2008 to March 2010. During her Fellowship, her projects included examining social media use and its impact on health, colorectal cancer screening communication, and YouTube cancer stories.

"Where are they now?": Following up with past BRP fellows
Updated January 2019

Current Title
Program Director
Health Communications and Informatics Research Branch, NCI Behavioral Research Program

How has your BRP fellowship influenced your career?
The Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) fellowship enabled me to focus on conducting and publishing research, supported by mentors from across the division. It was during the fellowship that I gained valuable research experience and began establishing myself as a well-rounded cancer communication scientist, using a number of complementary approaches (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) and data sources (e.g. Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), social media data, patient-provider interactions, systematic reviews). I came from an unusual background (Ph.D. in Linguistics), so the fellowship (and the accompanying M.P.H. education as part of my CPFP) was critical in allowing me to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively across disciplines.

Describe a favorite memory or two from your fellowship experience.
Learning to run SAS with the help of mentors and experienced fellows! I had very minimal former training in running my own cross-sectional survey analyses prior to coming to NCI, so I was initially intimidated about leading my first HINTS paper. My mentors and co-authors were incredibly generous in helping me get started, sharing codes, tips on research process, providing moral support, etc. I remember sitting down with Erik Augustson, looking through my SAS codes, being amazed that I, a qualitative person, could actually do this type of analysis! I went on to write a number of subsequent papers, each time a little more independent.

Describe your current position, your current organization, and what you do.
I am a Program Director in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch within the Behavioral Research Program at NCI. I oversee a portfolio of research on social media, health literacy/disparities, patient-centered cancer care, and palliative care communication. My research currently focuses on using mixed methods to examine the impact of changing communication landscape on health communication. Lately, I have been studying health-related misinformation, its impact, context, and remedies and responses from clinicians and public health practitioners.

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

  • Embassy Science Fellowship, U.S. Department of State (2018)
  • NIH Merit Awards

Publications from Fellowship Work

Current and/or past BRP mentors include Wendy Nelson.

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

Selected Publications and Presentations

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