Shared Encounters

Part of the series Computer Supported Cooperative Work pp 255-268


Sharing Personal Reflections on Health Locally

  • Andrea GrimesAffiliated withSchool of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology Email author 

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Researchers are becoming increasingly interested in developing systems that help people live healthier lifestyles. Little attention has been paid, however, to how technology can address the significant health disparities in populations such as low-income African Americans. To address this research gap, I designed EatWell specifically for residents in low-income African American communities in Atlanta, GA. EatWell is a system for cell phones that lets people share how they have tried to eat healthfully with individuals in their local neighborhoods. In this chapter, I discuss the characteristics of the community that was created as people shared their personal stories and reflections in EatWell. Specifically, I describe the users themselves (the who), the context of use (the where), the kind of content people created (the what), and the way in which they interacted with the content (the how). Finally, I discuss the implications of designing health applications for people in local contexts, a class of systems that I call deeply local health applications.