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Navin Kumar, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Contact Information

Navin Kumar, PhD

Research Summary

I am a Postdoctoral Associate and my research is focused on harnessing the power of social computing, machine learning, and natural language analysis with insights and theories from the social, behavioral, and clinical fields. I evaluate the developed computational approaches using diverse human-centered methods, deriving conclusions grounded in human behavior. I have a broad background in sociology and public health, with specific training and expertise in computational methods, RCTs, ethnographic and survey research. As PI or Co-I on several university- and foundation-funded grants, I query whether we can employ passively collected multimodal data to detect one’s changes in health, how such data can facilitate interventions for improving one's health. In addition, I have used techniques such as crowdsourcing to enhance HIV service delivery among men who have sex with men in China and pay-it-forward to spur gonorrhea and chlamydia testing in China.

Ongoing and recently completed projects that I would like to highlight include:

Janmohamed K, Walter N, Nyhan K, Khoshnood K, Tucker J, Sangngam N, Altice F, Ding Q, Wong A, Schwitzky Z, Bauch CT, De Choudhury M, Papakyriakopoulos O, Kumar N. Interventions to Mitigate COVID-19 Misinformation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Health Commun. doi:10.1080/10810730.2021.2021460

Massey D, Huang C, Lu Y, Cohen A, Oren Y, Moed T, Matzner P, Mahajan S, Caraballo C, Kumar N, Xue Y, Ding Q, Dreyer RP, Roy B, Krumholz HM. Engagement with COVID-19 Public Health Measures in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Social Media Analysis from June to November 2020. J Med Internet Res.

Kumar N, Forastiere L, Janmohamed K, et al. Improving HIV Self-Testing Social Network Interventions: The Role of Sexual Behavior Disclosure Among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav.

Yang F, Zhang TP, Tang W, Ong JJ, Alexander M, Forastiere L, Kumar N, Li KT, Zou F, Yang L, Mi G, Wang Y, Huang W, Lee A, Zhu W, Luo D, Vickerman P, Wu D, Yang B, Christakis NA, Tucker JD. Pay-It-Forward Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Testing among Men who Have Sex with Men in China: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Lancet Infect Dis.

Extensive Research Description

1. My early work documented the occupational conditions and public health aspects of male sex work. These publications found that male sex work is getting more visible in diverse cultural contexts and is becoming a professionalized occupation, with a shift away from current stigmatized understandings. I was the primary investigator on all these studies.

1. Kumar N, Minichiello V, Scott J, Harrington T. A Global Overview of Male Escort Websites. J Homosex. November 2016:1-14. doi:10.1080/00918369.2016.1265356

2. Kumar N, Grov C. Exploring the Occupational Context of Independent Male Escorts Who Seek Male Clients: The Case of Job Success. Am J Mens Health. December 2017:1557988317746836. doi:10.1177/1557988317746836

3. Kumar N, Scott J, Minichiello V. Masculinity and the Occupational Experience of Male Independent Escorts Who Seek Male Clients. Soc Sci. 2017;6(2):58. doi:10.3390/socsci6020058

4. Kumar N. Methods of Male Sex Work Research: Recommendations and Future Research Opportunities. In: Deflem M, Silva DMD, eds. Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance. Emerald Publishing Limited; 2019:85-99. doi:1108/S1521-613620190000024009

2. Given the need for innovation in sexual health provision for men who have with sex men in China, I helped design and conduct research using crowdsourcing and other entrepreneurial tools to enhance sexually transmitted infection testing for MSM. I was the primary investigator or co-investigator on all these studies.

  1. Kumar N, Forastiere L, Janmohamed K, et al. Improving HIV Self-Testing Social Network Interventions: The Role of Sexual Behavior Disclosure Among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav. Published online January 20, 2021. doi:10.1007/s10461-020-03128-1
  2. Li KT, Huang W, Tang W, Wu F, Zhao Y, Wu D, Yang F, Zhang TP, Forastiere L, Alexander M, Kumar N, Tucker JD. A Secondary Mixed Methods Analysis of a Pay-it-forward Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Testing Program among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China: Sexually Transmitted Diseases. March 2020:1. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001161.
  3. Yang F, Zhang TP, Tang W, Ong JJ, Alexander M, Forastiere L, Kumar N, Li KT, Zou F, Yang L, Mi G, Wang Y, Huang W, Lee A, Zhu W, Luo D, Vickerman P, Wu D, Yang B, Christakis NA, Tucker JD. Pay-it-forward Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia Testing among Men who have Sex with Men in China: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Lancet Infect Dis. Published online April 2020:S1473309920301729. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30172-9
  4. Kumar N, Forastiere L, Zhang T, et al. Lack of Sexual Behavior Disclosure May Distort STI Testing Outcomes. BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):616. doi:10.1186/s12889-020-08768-5

3. Given gaps in improving treatment outcomes around substance use disorders, I sought to understand patterns and interventions concerning substance use, to better design RCTs to improve substance use outcomes. I was the primary investigator on all these studies.

  1. Kumar N, Janmohamed K, Nyhan K, et al. Substance Use in relation to COVID-19: A Scoping Review. Addict Behav. Published online December 2021:107213. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107213
  2. Kumar N, Oles W, Howell BA, et al. The role of social network support in treatment outcomes for medication for opioid use disorder: A systematic review. J Subst Abuse Treat. Published online March 2021:108367. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108367
  3. Kumar N, Janmohamed K, Jiang J, et al. Tobacco Cessation in Low- To Middle-Income Countries: A Scoping Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Addict. Behav. 2020:106612. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106612
  4. Kumar N, Puljević C, Heimer R. Understanding Motivations for Large US Cannabis Firms’ Participation in the Cannabis Space: Qualitative Study Exploring Views of Key Decision‐makers. Drug Alcohol Rev. February 2020:dar.13040. doi:10.1111/dar.13040

4. More recently, I have used computational methods to explore perceptions around substance use and pandemics, using multiple types of online data, and diverse communities and populations at varying temporal granularities. These findings showed that social media could provide an inexpensive, non-intrusive, large-scale “sensor” for understanding a range of health outcomes. Using meta-analytic techniques, I also explore the most effective modes to mitigate incorrect perceptions around substance use and pandemics.

  1. Janmohamed K, Walter N, Nyhan K, Khoshnood K, Tucker J, Sangngam N, Altice F, Ding Q, Wong A, Schwitzky Z, Bauch CT, De Choudhury M, Papakyriakopoulos O, Kumar N. Interventions to Mitigate COVID-19 Misinformation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Health Commun. doi:10.1080/10810730.2021.2021460
  2. Ding Q, Massey D, Huang C, Grady C, Lu Y, Cohen A, Matzner P, Mahajan S, Caraballo C, Kumar N, Xue Y, Dreyer RP, Roy B, Krumholz HM. Tracking self-reported symptoms and medical conditions on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. JMIR Public Health Surveill. Published online 2021.
  3. Massey D, Huang C, Lu Y, Cohen A, Oren Y, Moed T, Matzner P, Mahajan S, Caraballo C, Kumar N, Xue Y, Ding Q, Dreyer RP, Roy B, Krumholz HM. Engagement with COVID-19 Public Health Measures in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Social Media Analysis from June to November 2020. J Med Internet Res.
  4. Janmohamed K, Soale A-N, Forastiere L, Tang W, Sha Y, Demant J, Airoldi E, Kumar N. The Intersection of the Web-Based Vaping Narrative with COVID-19: Topic Modelling Study. J Med Internet Res. Published online 2020.

Research Interests

Natural Language Processing; Machine Learning