Dr. Hswen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Bakar Computational Health Institute at the University of California San Francisco. She holds an Adjunct Faculty Position in the Computational Epidemiology Lab at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hswen graduated with a Doctoral Degree in social and computational epidemiology at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health where she focused on leveraging online big data to uncover social patterns of disease and to inform the development of interventions to improve the health and well-being of the most marginalized subgroups of the population. 

Dr. Hswen is in the pursuit of detecting uncomfortable truths. Dr. Hswen’s current research seeks to identify authentic attitudes, feelings, and beliefs that influence population behavior and health. Through the collection of unconventional and underground online social networks, Dr. Hswen captures unfiltered conversations to further understand the connections between social experiences and health.


Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Baker Computational Health Sciences Institute, University of California San Francisco, 2020

Visiting Professor, Aix-Marseille School of Economics (AMSE), 2019

Faculty, Innovation Program, Boston Children's Hospital, 2019

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Computational Epidemiology Lab, Harvard Medical School, 2019

Doctoral Student, Social and Computational Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 2019

Selected Publications

  1. Hswen, Yulin, Qin, Qiuyuan, Williams, David R, Viswanath, K, Brownstein, John S, & Subramanian, S.V. (2020). The Relationship between Jim Crow Laws and Social Capital from 1997-2004: A 3-Level Multilevel Hierarchical Analysis Across Time, Country and State. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 113142.
  2. Xiong, J., Hswen, Y., & Naslund, J. A. (2020). Digital Surveillance for Monitoring Environmental Health Threats: A Case Study Capturing Public Opinion from Twitter about the 2019 Chennai Water Crisis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5077.
  3. Hswen, Y., Zhang, A., Freifeld, C., & Brownstein, J. S. (2020). Evaluation of Volume of News Reporting and Opioid-Related Deaths in the United States: Comparative Analysis Study of Geographic and Socioeconomic Differences. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(7), e17693.
  4. Rader, B., Astley, C. M., Sy, K. T. L., Sewalk, K., Hswen, Y., Brownstein, J. S., & Kraemer, M. U. (2020). Geographic access to United States SARS-CoV-2 testing sites highlights healthcare disparities and may bias transmission estimates. Journal of travel medicine.
  5. Hswen, Y., Zhang, A., Sewalk, K., Tuli, G., Brownstein, J. S., & Hawkins, J. B. (2020). Use of social media to assess the impact of equitable state policies on LGBTQ patient experiences: An exploratory study. In Healthcare (p. 100410). Elsevier.

Areas of Interest

Computational Epidemiology; Population Informatics; Social Justice; Inequities in Health; Social Media