Juliet Sekandi

Creative Research Medal

Photograph of juliet sekander

Juliet Sekandi, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and the Global Health Institute, has conducted one of the first pilot evaluations of the feasibility, acceptability, and cost of using video directly observed therapy (VDOT) among tuberculosis patients in her home country of Uganda. She recently published results of a federally funded randomized clinical trial showing VDOT improved treatment completion to nearly 90%. In VDOT, a smartphone app records the patient taking the prescribed medication; the patient then sends the video via an encrypted message to a health provider who views it and assesses adherence. For patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, VDOT helps ensure adherence to a new oral antibiotic available to treat this disease strain. Tuberculosis control workforce, however, remains overburdened. Sekandi is working with colleagues in the School of Computing to develop novel facial recognition software using advanced machine learning and computer vision to read and interpret videos of patients’ adherence with minimal human input.