Staff: Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, Ph.D., M.P.H.
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
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
- Chou WY, Han P, Pilsner A, Coa K, Greenberg L, Blatt B. Interdisciplinary research on patient-provider communication: A cross-method comparison. Commun Med 2011;8(1):29-40.
- Chou WY, Liu B, Post S, Hesse B. Health-related Internet use among cancer survivors: Data from the Health Information National Trends Survey, 2003-2008. J Cancer Surviv 2011 Sep;5(3):263-70.
- Chou WY, Hunt Y, Folkers A, Augustson E. Cancer survivorship in the age of YouTube and social media: a narrative analysis. J Med Internet Res 2011 Jan 17;13(1):e7.
- Madhavan S, Sanders AE, Chou WY, Shuster A, Boone KW, Dente MA, Shad AT, Hesse BW. Pediatric palliative care and eHealth opportunities for patient-centered care. 2011 May Am J Prev Med;40(5 Suppl 2):S208-16.
- Chou WY, Wang LC, Finny Rutten LJ, Moser RP, Hesse BW. 2010. Factors associated with Americans' ratings of quality of health care: What do the ratings tell us about the raters and about the current healthcare system? Journal of Health Communication. 15 Suppl 3:147-56.
- Chou WY, Hunt YM, Beckjord EB, Moser RP, Hesse BW. Social media use in the United States: Implications for Health Communication. J Med Internet Res 2009 Nov 27;11(4):e48.
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Sylvia Chou WY, Gaysynsky A. Racism and Xenophobia in a Pandemic: Interactions of Online and Offline Worlds. Am J Public Health 2021 May; 111(5):773-775.
- Sylvia Chou WY, Gaysynsky A, Cappella JN. Where We Go From Here: Health Misinformation on Social Media. Am J Public Health 2020 Oct; 110(S3):S273-S275.
- Chou WS, Oh A, Klein WMP. Addressing Health-Related Misinformation on Social Media. JAMA 2018 Dec 18; 320(23):2417-2418.
- Chou, WY, Prestin A, Kunath S. Obesity in the social media: A Mixed Methods Analysis. Transl Behav Med 2014 September; 4(3):314-323.
- Chou WS, Hamel LM, Thai CL, Debono D, Chapman RA, Albrecht TL, Penner LA, Eggly S. Discussing prognosis and treatment goals with patients with advanced cancer: A qualitative analysis of oncologists' language. Health Expect 2017 Oct; 20(5):1073-1080.