Gagan Jindal, PhD Student: Assessing the Value of Crowdsourced Repositories for Chronic Illness Management

iSchoolNews - May 12, 2020

Assessing how adults with chronic illnesses can better manage their health through better access to health information.

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Gagan Jindal pictured with plants in the background smiling at the cameraAfter spending much of her professional career working in health informatics, Gagan Jindal joined the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) PhD program in 2016 to expand her understanding of qualitative user research methods. While pursuing her degree, she has cultivated extensive research assessing the information behaviors of adults who have chronic illnesses in order to optimize their access to health information  to help them make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage their health more  successfully. She has spent much of her time investigating these individuals’ information needs and information seeking behaviors related to identifying critical local health-related resources for instrumental self-management support, such as community centers, libraries, faith-based services, and local businesses.

During the Fall of 2019, Gagan was the recipient of the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship, a grant funded by the UMD’s Graduate School providing support to doctoral candidates in the final stages of writing their dissertations. The fellowship aided in the final stages of her research and propelled the design collaborations with participants to gauge their personal experiences managing their chronic health conditions. She plans to present her finalized three-part dissertation research to the committee in May 2020.

“I’m proud that I’ve been able to add to the body of knowledge on information behavior and chronic care management that emphasizes the importance of leveraging community assets to help people who have chronic illnesses manage their care with both clinical and nonclinical support,” said Gagan.

Gagan’s work has been featured in influential research publications, including Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies and the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. Along with her research endeavors, she is co-editing an upcoming volume of Advances in Librarianship with UMD faculty members Dr. Paul Jaeger, Dr. Beth St. Jean, and Yuting Liao on the topic of roles and responsibilities of libraries in increasing consumer health literacy and reducing health disparities. Upon graduation from UMD, Gagan will be joining Facebook at the company’s Seattle branch where she will be working as a full-time user experience researcher.