Panel on Computational Challenges in Health and Wellbeing

Pervasive technologies have shown to be instrumental in improving healthcare. This year Petra 2020 introduces a panel on the computational challenges related to the assessment, monitoring and prediction of health and wellbeing. A team of experts will discuss various topics ranging from challenges in predicting and preventing depression, to challenges in implementing evidence-based practices for deployed veterans, to fatigue assessment using neuroimaging as a result of injury or disease. All three are examples of how computational methods in artificial intelligence, pervasive computing and data analytics can support accurate decision making and improve the cost of care while reducing or slowing the effect of the disease. The audience is invited to share opinions and ask questions.

Monica Basco

Monica Ramirez Basco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care
Title: T-RAD: The Texas Resilience Against Depression Project


Despite significant investments in research, as a society and community of scientists we are still at a loss for how to predict and prevent the onset of depression. Especially troublesome are the accelerating rates of depression and suicide among youth. Any hope for breaking the code to preventing youth suicide attempts and completions lies in having a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that play a causal role. This presentation describes our current multidisciplinary research efforts to identify biological, neuropsychological, psychological, social, activity, and family risk factors for major depression in young people ages 10 to 24. The Texas – Resilience Against Depression (T-RAD) Project aims to identify risk profiles for the onset of depression as well as predictors of treatment response.


Monica Ramirez Basco is a clinical psychologist, author, and internationally recognized expert on psychosocial intervention development, refinement, and dissemination. She retired from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2017 as the Associate Director for Science Policy, Planning and Analysis at the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and is now an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

In 2014-2015, Dr. Basco served as Assistant Director for Neuroscience, Mental Health, and Broadening Participation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She championed Veterans mental health, the BRAIN Initiative, and diversity and inclusion in STEM. Prior to OSTP she was the Coordinator of the NIH Early Career Reviewer Program and a Scientific Review Officer at the NIH Center for Scientific review.

Dr. Basco is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive. She has published 10 books including the Learning Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: An Illustrated Guide, Never Good Enough, and the Bipolar Workbook. Along with her co-authors, she was awarded the 2009 British Medical Association Mental Health Book of the Year award. Dr. Basco also received the 2011 University of Texas Regents Outstanding Teaching Award.

Drew Helmer

Drew A. Helmer, MD, MS

Deputy Director
Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt)
Title: Challenges in implementing evidence-based practices for deployed veterans


Deployed Veterans, i.e., former military personnel stationed overseas in theaters of war, represent a distinct population of veterans. Approximately 30% of the 20 million living U.S. Veterans have been deployed. Deployment-related experiences increase the risk for negative health impacts such as sleep disturbances, chronic musculoskeletal pain, relationship difficulties, sexual dysfunction, alcohol misuse, and obesity. There are also unique health concerns by cohort, such as burn pit smoke exposures of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the delivery of care for sleep disturbances, chronic musculoskeletal pain, and burn pit smoke health effects. The presentation will describe and illustrate actual and proposed examples of the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) to improve the health and wellness of deployed Veterans with these concerns in the Veterans Health Administration. At the end of the presentation, learners will be able to:

  1. Articulate the RE-AIM model of implementation of EBPs.
  2. Describe the applicable components of the consolidated framework for implementation research (CFIR).
  3. Explain three examples of the data needs, sources, analyses, and uses in the implementation of EBPs for the concerns of deployed Veterans.


Dr. Helmer is an expert in deployment-related health concerns, the impact of combat deployment on the health and well-being of military service members. He recently became Deputy Director of the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt) at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX.

Dr. Helmer obtained his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and his Master of Science in Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University School of Public Health. Trained as a general internist, from 2001-2007, Dr. Helmer was the medical director at the WRIISC and a VA Health Services Research & Development Career Development Awardee while at VA-NJ Health Care System. From 2007-2011, Dr. Helmer worked at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX, where he was the lead clinician for Post-Deployment Health in Houston and for the South Central Veterans Integrated Service Network, Associate Director of Research for PrimeCare, and Assistant Director of the Neurorehabilitation: Neurons to Networks VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center of Excellence.

In addition to caring for Veterans and educating providers about post-deployment health, Dr. Helmer studies healthcare utilization and outcomes important to deployed Veterans including chronic pain, exposure concerns, depression and suicidal ideation, mild traumatic brain injury, and sexual health concerns. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and a book for a lay audience on these topics.

Alexandra Karavasili

Alexandra Karavasili, MD, MSc

Scientific Director
DIAPLASIS Rehabilitation Center
Title: The role of Multidisciplinary Functional Rehabilitation in Health and Wellbeing


The term multidisciplinary describes the synergistic interaction among highly qualified specialists and is the cornerstone in Physical Medical Rehabilitation.

Interdisciplinarity allows different sciences, assessments and evaluations to be brought together and form the puzzle of realistic objectives of clinical and therapeutic reasoning portrayed in an individualized, coordinated, targeted rehabilitation plan.

The rehabilitation team includes one or more physiotherapists, gymnasts, speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, nursing staff, nutritionists and social worker who work under the supervision and constant consultation of a rehabilitation specialist.

Through a dynamic process of observation and change, modern rehabilitation aims at maximizing the functional abilities of a patient, promote physical, mental health and wellbeing, create prospects for reintegration and therefore ensure the best possible quality of life.

The feedback given by the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team is priceless in research as it allows for the real needs and interaction of the patient with the environment to be recorded and developed. Thus, feedback given from medical staff to technical experts promotes targeted technological achievements to be translated in functional support for the patients.


Alexandra Karavasili works as a Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Specialist, Scientific Director and Head of an Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation Team in Diaplasis Rehabilitation Center, Kalamata, Greece.

Dr. Karavasili obtained her medical degree at National Kapodistrian University of Athens and her Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) at Bath University, UK. Her main field of research involves Human-Robot Interaction within the sector of rehabilitation, multidisciplinary rehabilitation and athletes' injuries. From 2014 to 2016 she was enroled in the MOBOT project (Intelligent Active MObility Aid RoBOT integrating Multimodal Communication) funded by EU, and now she is the Medical Director of the I-walk project (Intelligent WALKer supporting mobility and cognitive deficits in third age and people with ambulation impairments). She is the Doctor of the Hellenic Football Federation – Women’s Team. She has been invited in several educational rehabilitation seminars as a speaker and her studies are presented at national and international conferences.

Glenn Wylie

Glenn Wylie, DPhil

Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center
Title: How to study a psychological construct such as fatigue using neuroimaging, and what we have learned.


One of the most prevalent sequelae after brain injury or disease is fatigue. While this has been known for over 100 years, fatigue has proven very difficult to study, in part because until recently the only way to assess fatigue has been via self-report. With the advent of neuroimaging, we have new tools to study psychological constructs such as fatigue -- tools that provide new dependent measures for old scientific questions. In this talk, I will explain how we have applied neuroimaging to the study of fatigue, and how this has allowed us to not only begin to define the neural network underlying fatigue but has also allowed us to better understand what fatigue is.


Glenn Wylie is the director of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation. He is also an associate professor at Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School.

Dr. Wylie received his B.Sc at Dalhousie University, supervised by Dr. Raymond Klein, and his DPhil at Oxford University supervised by Drs. Alan Allport and Chris Frith. He has published over 80 articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed publications. He regularly presents his research findings at national and international conferences, and has received grant funding from Federal sources (the NIH and the VA), from state commissions (the New Jersey Commission for Brain Injury Research and Spinal Cord Injury Research) as well as from foundations such as the National MS Society.