Keynote: Human & Technology Interaction for Health

Session Chairs: George Knopf, TBA


Session Description: 

Thursday April 21, 2022
12:00pm - 12:45pm EDT 


Thursday April 21, 2022
12:00pm - 12:45 pm EDT

Dr. Rita Orji - Dalhousie University

"Persuasive Technology for Health and Wellness"

Abstract: Advances in technology offer many opportunities to strategically design interactive systems that aid and motivate people toward behaviours and actions that are beneficial for them and their communities. Avoiding behaviors that pose health risks and promoting a healthy lifestyle can be facilitated by Persuasive Technologies (PTs). PTs can integrate into people’s daily lives and support them to achieve various self-improvement goals. It is well-established that PT interventions are effective tools for promoting health and wellness. In this talk, I will share ways of designing PT interventions to promote health and wellness goals with a major focus on PTs for promoting Physical Activity. First, I will show ways that PT interventions can be tailored to specific populations, individuals, or health conditions in order to increase their effectiveness at achieving desired outcomes such as increased utilization, adherence, motivation, and improved health. I will then provide some examples to show that tailored PT interventions are more effective than the one-size-fits-all approach across various health behaviour contexts (e.g., physical activity) and cultural groups (e.g., people from Western culture and Non-Western culture).


Bio: Prof. Rita Orji is a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology and a Computer Science Professor at Dalhousie University, Canada where she directs the Persuasive Computing Lab. Her research at the intersection of technology and human behaviour focuses on designing interactive technologies to empower people, improve lives, and contribute to solving many societal problems. Specifically, technologies that integrate into people’s daily lives and support them to achieve various self-improvement goals. She applies her work to tackle real-life problems in various domains including improving a wide range of health and wellness objectives such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, sexual and other health risk behaviours. She has won millions of dollars from competitive grant funding from agencies and governments around the world to support her work.  With over 200 peer-reviewed papers, Prof. Orji has won over 60 prestigious awards and recognitions nationally and internationally in recognition of her work in this area. Recently, she was named among the Top 150 Canadian Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Top 60 African Women in STEM, Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women, Top 100 Nigeria’s Leading Women, and admitted into the Royal Society of Canada. She is a renowned speaker who has delivered 15 keynotes and over 100 invited talks and other presentations.

Prof. Orji is a renowned speaker who has delivered over 100 invited talks, keynote speeches, and public presentations. She has attracted over 100 instances of media coverage by major news organizations such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and StarPhoenix on account of her work and empowerment programs with significant social and community impact. She was also a speaker at a United Nations panel. Above all, Prof. Orji is a Champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM through her numerous activities and using herself as a practical example. She founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged Foundation. She is passionate about mentoring the next generation of STEM Leaders.