Our REACH group (Research in Environments, Active aging and Community Health) is using wearable cameras and location-tracking devices to observe how people behave in real life. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports our work, which is designed to learn how daily behavior patterns relate to health. The wearable camera and GPS location-tracking devices both collect potentially sensitive information about a person’s daily activity. The cameras take photos of the people and places we visit. The GPS records the location of places we visit. The data we collect (i.e., pictures and location) is not streaming in real time, but that will soon change. The Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) that review our research want to protect participants and it’s not clear how to do this. Some of our participants are not worried about the information captured by these wearable devices, some are. We have developed an ethical framework to protect participants. However, we are challenged with how to share our data with other scientists. How can we balance protecting participant privacy and advancing scientific methods, which require outsiders to repeat our analyses?


Jacqueline Kerr, Ph.D., M.Sc.
UC San Diego, School of Medicine
Dr Kerr received her PhD from the University of Birmingham, England, in 2001 studying interventions and environments that promote stair use. After 3 years in the Munich Cancer Registry focusing on quality of life and breast/colorectal cancer, Dr Kerr moved to Active Living Research in San Diego. Dr Kerr is currently an Associate Professor at UCSD in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, and researcher in the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems at the Qualcomm Institute, Calit2. Dr Kerr’s research focuses on measurement, intervention and environmental correlates of physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults.

Research Projects

Dr. Kerr works on several NIH funded R01 projects with Dr Sallis on neighborhood correlates of physical activity in children, teens, adults and older adults, including two international studies in adults and teens.

Dr. Kerr leads several NCI funded projects collecting and processing GPS data, including developing software to aggregate and process GPS data. Dr Kerr has lead a review and several workshops on this topic and can help researchers include GPS data in their projects with protocols for IRBs, data collection, processing, matching with GIS etc.

Dr. Kerr is PI of two NCI funded R01 grants using Machine Learning techniques to classify physical activity types and sedentary behaviors from raw accelerometer, GPS and heart rate data. Annotated truth images from a SenseCam person worn camera are employed in this work and Dr Kerr is helping to advance this field.

Dr. Kerr’s expertise in physical activity and location measurement inform improved evaluation of behavior change interventions. An example is the NHLBI funded MIPARC study in Continuing Care Retirement Communities, which includes community advocacy.

Date & Time

Wed, 05/04/2016 at 5:00-7:00 PM

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