Dr. Rajani Sadasivam is a Tenured Professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences with a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry. A digital health researcher with unique transdisciplinary training in computer engineering and behavioral science, Dr. Sadasivam’s research integrates advanced computer engineering concepts and behavioral health theories to address complex behavioral health challenges.
Dr. Sadasivam’s digital health research is primarily focused on treating tobacco use (e.g., cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use), the number one preventable cause of death. A major challenge is that tobacco-related disparities have expanded, with disadvantaged groups disproportionately suffering from tobacco use (e.g., low-income, minorities, and people with mental health conditions). Dr. Sadasivam has developed multiple digital health innovations (i.e., computer-tailored health communication (CTHC) systems, mobile health and games, and peer recruitment on social media) to address this critical issue. These innovations have been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Sadasivam is conducting these studies in the United States and Vietnam.
Dr. Sadasivam has been sought as a collaborator for his digital health skills, extending his research to address other critical health challenges. Example projects include teaching weight management counseling skills to providers, encouraging lung cancer screening, monitoring and supporting pediatric asthma patients, and motivating physical activity among cancer survivors.
Further, Dr. Sadasivam has developed a research portfolio in implementation science—the study of methods and strategies to promote the uptake of effective interventions into routine practice. He has co-developed an electronic referral (e-referral) system that health care providers could use to refer patients to different behavioral health programs. Providers have used this program to e-refer those who smoke to an online web-assisted tobacco intervention. Currently, it is being tested to connect cancer survivors to physical activity programs. He is the Methods Co-Lead of a National Center Institute-funded P50 Implementation Science Center 3 (ISC3), in which he mentors and guides the development of the technology for the pilot projects funded by the center. He is a member of the ISC3 Health Equity Taskforce that coordinates health-equity-related activities across the various P50 ISC3 centers.
Dr. Sadasivam actively mentors trainees in digital health, tobacco cessation, and implementation science. His mentees include Ph.D. students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty. In his mentoring, he aims to be a facilitator of knowledge, skills, and collaborative network building. He is an active member of the Society of Research in Nicotine and Tobacco and a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine societies.