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.
10/2019 - Lean Process Improvement Champion Training, University of California, San Francisco
08/2019 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California, San Francisco
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. Challenges and Solutions to Employing Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to Measure Patients' Health Literacy and Physician Writing Complexity: The ECLIPPSE Study.
  2. Descriptive examination of secure messaging in a longitudinal cohort of diabetes patients in the ECLIPPSE study.
  3. Broaching the Topic of HIV Self-testing with Potential Sexual Partners Among Men and Transgender Women Who Have Sex with Men in New York and Puerto Rico.
  4. Using an HIV Self-test Kit to Test a Partner: Attitudes and Preferences Among High-Risk Populations.
  5. Information and Motivation Predict HIV-Serostatus Among a Population of High-Risk Men and Transgender Women Who Have Sex with Men.
  6. Then We Looked at His Results: Men Who Have Sex With Men from New York City and Puerto Rico Report Their Sexual Partner's Reactions to Receiving Reactive HIV Self-Test Results.
  7. Transgender Women's Experiences Using a Home HIV-Testing Kit for Partner-Testing.
  8. Few Aggressive or Violent Incidents are Associated with the Use of HIV Self-tests to Screen Sexual Partners Among Key Populations.
  9. Use of Rapid HIV Self-Test to Screen Potential Sexual Partners: Results of the ISUM Study.
  10. Text Messaging and Disaster Preparedness Aids Engagement, Re-Engagement, Retention, and Communication Among Puerto Rican Participants in a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Self-Testing Study After Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
  11. Use of HIV Self-Testing Kits to Screen Clients Among Transgender Female Sex Workers in New York and Puerto Rico.
  12. Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study.
  13. 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.
  14. Using natural language processing and machine learning to classify health literacy from secure messages: The ECLIPPSE study.
  15. 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.