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2019 Data Science for Social Good

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DSSG Participants at the final presentation at IDEO/San Francisco

The Data Science for Social Good summer program trains aspiring researchers to work on data science projects with social impact.  Working closely with governments and nonprofits, participants take on real-world problems in education, health, energy, public safety, transportation, economic development, international development and more. Participants include a diverse and inclusive cohort of students who spend the summer on campus working with the program.

The first summer of the Stanford Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) program ran from July 15th to September 13th, 2019.

The goal of the DSSG program is to train the next generation of ethically aware data scientists and to provide measurable impact for projects with social impact. This summer's pilot program had seven student fellows from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from computer science to statistics to sociology. The fellows divided into two teams, each worked with a different partner organization to bring critical insights into a core data science challenge.

Summer 2019 Projects

Stanford Blood Center: Predicting Platelet Usage Platelets are an important blood component involved in clot formation; however, platelets are expensive, time-intensive to obtain, and have a short half-life. Fellows partnered with the Stanford Blood Center to leverage patient-level data on past transfusions, surgery scheduling, hospital admission, and lab tests to help predict platelet use and thereby reduce waste.

Veterans Administration: Examining Opiate Adverse Events in Minority Populations Opiate misuse in the veteran population is seven times that of the general population. Students partnered with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to examine trends in opiate misuse, focusing on minority populations. Fellows also worked on examining and building predictive models to veterans at high risk of an opiate overdose and assessed algorithmic bias in these models.

Program highlights

In addition to the deep dives into the partners' data sets, participants learned a lot - both through a variety of weekly trainings and seminars as well as through visits to local companies like Google, Facebook, and IDEO. The program held a weekly speaker series from faculty across Stanford campus, including the Law and Business schools, and local industry. In the 1-2 trainings held each week, participants engaged in a variety of topics ranging from material on how to speed up computation to penalized regression and cross-validation. These sessions also included instruction on common tools and techniques like git, R programming language, data visualization and exploratory data analysis, Jupyter and RStudio notebooks, etc. Throughout the summer, they also held weekly discussions about data ethics, including topics such as data security and privacy, algorithmic bias, reproducibility, and communicating with a general audience.

Stanford's Data Science for Social Good program is based loosely off the University of Chicago's DSSG program but is not affiliated.

We’ll be running DSSG again next summer!

Sign up for DSSG announcements through the Data Science Institute mailing list

Are you interested in becoming a student fellow or mentor next summer? Add yourself to the mailing list and we’ll contact you when next summer’s applications for fellows and mentors are up in early spring.

Do you have a social good project that you think DSSG could help with? If you’re interested in partnering with us, please add your name to this list, and we will notify you later this fall when the application for partnerships for next summer goes live.