Physical and mental health results from the complex interplay of many systems, including (but not limited to) biology, behavior, society, culture and environment. Traditional academic research typically isolates one small aspect of one of these systems for intense scrutiny. While the traditional model of research does yield valuable scientific advancements and lays a necessary foundation, it can produce findings that “miss the forest for the trees.” Interdisciplinary collaboration is an obvious next step.
In my talk, I will illustrate the value of the integrated approach using several examples, which will include breast cancer, patient-centered care, obesity and aging research. I will then discuss the challenges faced by interdisciplinary researchers. Chief among these is the lack of interdisciplinary methods for study design as well as data collection, integration, analysis and modeling. Current methods are insufficient or, in most cases, do not yet exist. I will also discuss the challenges in using modern big data techniques. Finally, I will provide a live demonstration of a few of the tools we are using at the BioSocial Methods Collaborative to begin to address this gap in method.
There is no recommended reading for this session.