William Brown, PhD, DrPH, MA

Assistant Professor

My expertise is in both biomedical informatics and HIV clinical and behavioral research. I implement innovative biomedical informatics methods, create research tools, and follow the principals of community-based participatory research. My research aims to address health disparities among underserved communities (e.g., African American, LGBT, youth) and to create a Learning Health System that is responsive to vulnerable populations, particularly those at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.

My informatics research includes knowledge engineering, health informatics, comparative-effectiveness research, semantic harmonization, integrating and analyzing survey, geographic, and electronic health record (EHR) data, as well as developing infographics and data visualizations for patient-centered health information tools. I provide expertise in HIV, New Media, and mHealth and apply innovative informatics methods for the integration of diverse longitudinal data sets and discovery of health markers. My main research activities focus on semantic harmonization, concept/knowledge representation, characterization of semantic heterogeneity, identification of common data elements, the development of an HIV-associated Entities in Research Ontology (HERO), and integration of diverse datasets.

As an HIV researcher, I specialize in systems design, implementation science, community-based participatory research, mHealth, and the use of New Media. I've developed, applied, and evaluated an mHealth system, and conducted a pilot study researching the feasibility and acceptability of using mHealth technology to support treatment adherence and to collect behavioral data in biomedical studies of HIV (e.g., Home HIV tests, PrEP, and rectal microbicides). I specifically work with African-American and Latino populations, MSM, and ethnic and/or sexual minority youth to develop New Media-based technology -particularly mHealth and social media- for HIV prevention, education, intervention, health promotion, treatment adherence, health management and public health practice.
Ph.D., 05/2016 - Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University
Postdoc, 05/2012 - HIV Clinical & Behavioral Research, Columbia University
Dr.P.H, 12/2010 - Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
M.A., 05/2006 - Human Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University
B.A., 06/2004 - African American Studies, University of California, Davis
B.A., 06/2004 - Sociology, University of California, Davis
Honors and Awards
  • AMIA Annual Symposium Paper Competition (2nd Pl), 2016
  • NIMH LRP Award Renewal, National Institutes of Health, 2015
  • NIMH LRP Award, National Institutes of Health, 2012
  • Academic Grant Award, Russell M. Grossman Endowment, University of California, Berkeley, 2010
  • Kaiser Foundation Academic Grant Award, Kaiser Foundation, Kaiser Foundation, 2009
  1. Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study.
  2. Methods, system errors, and demographic differences in participant errors using daily text message-based short message service computer-assisted self-interview (SMS-CASI) to measure sexual risk behavior in a RCT of HIV self-test use.
  3. Using natural language processing and machine learning to classify health literacy from secure messages: The ECLIPPSE study.
  4. Trajectory of use over time of an oral tablet and a rectal gel for HIV prevention among transgender women and men who have sex with men.