Xian (Elaine) Ye

  • 2020 Summer Intern

Xian (Elaine) Ye is a rising senior at Smith College double majoring in Psychology and Statistical & Data Sciences. Growing up in a small city in China, she became interested in mental health after she realized the stigma associated with mental illness and a lack of relevant service in the community. Before joining the program, she worked with Dr. Caitlin Shepherd at Smith on Food and Alcohol Disturbance as well as the underlying cognitive and personality factors of eating disorders (EDs). The dearth of EDs research in a diverse population prompted her to conduct an independent study on cultural and psychosocial factors related to EDs in China. Elaine is particularly interested in using culturally sensitive tools to study mental health and applying data science methods in the healthcare field.

During her time at the Global Mental Health Programs, Elaine worked with Dr. Reuben Robbins and his team on developing the tablet-based NeuroScreen app, a cost-effective screening tool that is designed to assess neurocognitive impairment in perinatally HIV-infected youth in low- and middle-income countries. She compiled a comprehensive list of neurocognitive tasks that measure different aspects of executive functioning. In addition, Elaine created scaled scores using data from HIV negative participants in South Africa and Thailand and applied polynomial regression models to generate regression-based norms for neurocognitive tasks in these populations using the statistical software R. The Global Mental Health Programs gave Elaine the opportunities to stretch her statistical skills in global health research and learn about mental health from the public health perspective.

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