Antwi Akom, PhD, MA


Center for Vulnerable Populations

Dr. Antwi Akom is the Director of the Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Research Lab—a joint research lab between UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations and SFSU. His research lies at the intersection of science, technology, spatial epidemiology, community development, health communications, medical sociology, ethnic studies, and public health. Dr. Akom’s work focuses on researching, developing, and deploying new health information communication technologies that amplify the voices of communities often excluded from digital and physical public spheres and connecting them with resources that improve health literacy, health care delivery, and promote equitable economic development for vulnerable populations. Dr. Akom has an extensive background in building collaborative, community-facing technology projects and new models of urban innovation that help cities become smarter, more equitable, just and sustainable. Prior to joining UCSF/CVP, Dr. Akom co-founded and launched a series of technology projects in the San Francisco Bay area, including, Streetwyze—a mobile, mapping, and SMS platform that enables real time community-generated data to be integrated with predictive analytics so that health care providers, hospitals, CBO’s, and cities are empowered with forward looking knowledge to track health equity indicators, improve service delivery, and predict future trajectories for vulnerable populations. Streetwyze has been recognized by the White House, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Knight News Challenge, as one of the 12 new data tools to help vulnerable populations access opportunity. Dr. Akom’s work is the leading edge of a new era of participatory health and medicine where residents are empowered, informed, and involved in the decisions that impact their daily lives through research, technology, and policies that enable people and places to work together toward the development of individualized care. Key areas of research include: Social determinants of health, health information technologies, health communications, health literacy, health policy, GIS, people sensing, mobile platforms, food security, community engagement, data democratization, data visualization, Community-generated data, Big data, data analytics, digital resiliency, community engaged design, Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPR), neighborhood revitalization, social media, social marketing, social innovation, inter-disciplinary research collaboration, mentoring of junior faculty or trainees, race, space, place, and waste.