IHPR Team Member Wins Hackathon with Cancer Data App!
Edgar Muñoz, a statistician at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio, has won the Hackathon at VCU Massey Cancer Center’s first-ever Catchment Area Data Conference on Dec. 7-9, 2023!
The conference brought together data experts from U.S. cancer centers.
Attendees shared best practices in data collection, handling, dissemination, and utilization, while exploring policies and methodologies to advance cancer center catchment area analytics and community engagement.
For the Hackathon, Muñoz showcased the CancerClarity app (try it here) with his teammates, Alex VanHelene of Rhode Island Hospital and Nuen Tsang Yang of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The CancerClarity app offers users an interactive exploration of cancer incidence, mortality, and health determinants across any subset of U.S. counties. The app’s integration of ChatGPT enables the conversion of complex data into understandable narratives in multiple languages, targeting diverse groups such as the public, policymakers, and community boards.
Muñoz and his teammates plan to continue to refine the CancerClarity app.
“CancerClarity represents a significant advancement in combining technology, data science, and healthcare,” Muñoz said. “It exemplifies the transformative role of AI in public health, particularly in preventive oncology and epidemiology, by facilitating effective data communication for informed decision-making.”
Muñoz will receive a publication waiver for the conference’s special issue, Journal of Preventive Oncology and Epidemiology.
“The time dedicated to creating your unique tool stood out, and we appreciate your patience as we required additional time to judge the responses,” said Haley Groesbeck, assistant program manager of Catchment Area Data Access & Alignment at VCU Massey Cancer Center.
About Edgar Muñoz
Muñoz has a passion for uncovering multilevel aspects of cancer and disease and applying innovative technologies like generative AI to reduce the health burden among the Latino population in the United States and his native Colombia.
And he’s always willing to lend a hand and a smile whenever needed.
Muñoz offers plenty of smiles and support for data science and epidemiology as a senior-level statistician at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio.
At the IHPR, Muñoz assists in developing research, conducting analyses, identifying and using available methodologies and databases, and preparing reports. He has a master’s degree in epidemiology and a postgraduate certificate in biomedical data science, and he has participated in the design, conduction, analysis, and evaluation of complex public health interventions in Colombia and the U.S.
His interests are the design and evaluation of multilevel interventions, applied spatial and temporal analysis, precision public health, artificial intelligence, and health and disparities in Latino populations.
To further his experience and education, Muñoz was selected to participate in the IHPR’s Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program.
The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from the National Cancer Institute, recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals each year for a five-day summer institute and optional internships to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer. A recent study found significant increases in summer institute participants’ confidence to apply to a doctoral program and academic self-efficacy.
“[The Éxito! summer institute] encouraged me to pursue my doctoral studies,” Muñoz said.
About the IHPR
The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR), part of the Department of Population Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, is a leading research group studying Latino health disparities and communicating solutions in South Texas and across the nation.
The IHPR is home to Salud America! and other projects to improve Latino health.
- Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos biennial conference.
- Avanzando Caminos (Leading Pathways): The Hispanic/Latino Cancer Survivorship Study, a first-of-its-kind national cohort study of 3,000 Latino cancer survivors.
- Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, a program to train Latino master’s-level students and professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and cancer research career
- Quitxt, a bilingual, evidence-based tobacco-cessation service for young adults using mobile-phone text messages and mobile media.
- The Avanzando Equidad de Salud: Latino Cancer Health Equity Research Center, funded by the American Cancer Society to conduct research, training, and outreach to address cancer inequities facing Latinos in South Texas.
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez directs the IHPR’s faculty and staff of more than 20. These include researchers and communicators in cancer prevention, screening and early detection, clinical trials, tobacco, obesity, nutrition, exercise, and health equity.