Raina Merchant: NAM Emerging Leader

caption: Raina MerchantThe National Academy of Medicine (NAM) selected Penn Medicine’s Raina Merchant as a member of its newest class of Emerging Leaders of Health and Medicine Scholars. Dr. Merchant is the director of the Penn Center for Digital Health and an associate professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She was one of only 10 selected to join this new class, which began July 1 and will serve through June 30, 2022.

The NAM Emerging Leaders of Health and Medicine was established in 2016 for early and mid-career professionals who work in health care, health policy and similar fields. They participate in mentorship opportunities, exchange ideas and collaborate across multiple sectors and fields, and work to better shape NAM’s path forward in improving health in the United States.

“These extraordinary individuals represent the next generation of leading scientists, health care providers, public health professionals and policymakers, who are poised to shape the future of science, medicine and health equity,” NAM president Victor J. Dzau said.

Dr. Merchant’s work focuses on the intersection of the internet, digital media and health, for which she founded the Center for Digital Health within Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation. Much of Dr. Merchant’s work focuses on the evaluation of health behaviors through lenses such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and search engines. Recently, she helped lead a team that discovered depression could be predicted as many as three months before it was diagnosed through the evaluation of language in Facebook posts.

Additionally, one of Dr. Merchant’s passions has been the marriage of new technology and heart health, leading to her directorship of the “MyHeartMap Challenge,” which used social media and crowdsourcing to provide an online map of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across Philadelphia.