Asia brown bag talk by Lai Sze Tso


Lai Sze Tso is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative (GHMHI) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Using innovative technologies to improve personal and community health–China as a case-study for sharing medical knowledge and access between interactions between patients, healthcare professionals, and community-based organizations

Stigma and discrimination against migrants and members of the LGBTQ community make it extremely hard for these disadvantaged populations to access healthcare, particularly for sexual health information, testing, and linkage-to-care procedures. The problems experienced by young migrants and members of the LGBTQ in accessing health information, behavioral-educational interventions, and getting high-quality care from medical professionals are well documented. However, innovations in social media and online technologies have reduced many of these barriers, thereby resulting in improved knowledge and linkage to treatment for people seeking care.  Using a medical sociology framework, we describe the collaborative efforts among patients, healthcare professionals, and leaders in community organizations to build and use social media and online technologies to overcome these challenges in low-and-middle income countries. Examining China as a case-study for the use of innovative technology by doctors, community organizations, and potential patients, this talk begins to theorize about how these interactions build trust in healthcare interactions to improve health outcomes and modify healthcare structures. The talk concludes by discussing recent initiatives, successes, and remaining challenges for improving personal and community health.


Lai Sze Tso joined MIT in August 2016, as part of the Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative, having received her doctorate from the departments of Sociology and Women Studies, at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Her primary research focuses on young women’s aspirations and their use of community resources in China’s rural to urban migration. This work was supported by the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and the US Department of Education Fulbright-Hayes. In her postdoctoral projects in the Schools of Medicine in the Pediatric Prevention Research Center at Wayne State University (2014-2015) and University of North Carolina-Project China (2015-2016), she expanded on this research by studying how community organizations and healthcare professionals use online technologies to implement behavioral and educational interventions for sexual and mental health concerns. Her research and community outreach has contributed to updates in World Health Organization policy recommendations for HIV/AIDS, and has been featured as publications in AIDS, AIDS & Behavior, BMC Public Health, Current Opinion is Psychology, Journal of the International AIDS Society, and Sexually Transmitted Infections. At MIT, Lai Sze teaches Introduction to Sociology and Global Sexualities, the latter is an undergraduate course to help students learn about health, wellbeing, and experiences of LGBTQ and minorities outside of the US. 

All are welcome.

Time: 30 January 2018, 12:30-13:30 
Place: NIAS, room 18.1.08, CSS, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Cph 

Feel free to bring your own lunch. There will be coffee and tea.

Organizer: ADI and NIAS 

Asia brown bag talk by Lai Sze Tso
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