On March 30th, we were fortunate to host Ebony Dashiell-Aje, PhD, of BioMarin for our Women’s Health Tech Wednesday. Here is a glimpse of the conversation

What is Ebony’ background?

Ebony current serves as the Senior Director of Patient Engagement & Outcomes research at BioMarin—a biotech company focusing on rare diseases. With degrees in Psychology (B.S.) and Human Development (Ph.D.) from the University of Maryland, her passion for mental health has always been a part of her professional journey. In her work, she uses qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the depth of the human experience and developed clinical outcome tools to enhance patients’ lives. Leading regulatory patient engagement, she brings patients’ voices to the forefront and optimizes the use of digital technology in trails.  

What opportunities exist for digital health tech and what barriers for adoption exist?  

First, digital health tech is useful because it increases measure precision and collects data. This allows for the generation of personalized medicine. Additionally, it increases patient access and convenience for participation in research. However, it can be difficult to find “fit for purpose” tools and implement seamlessly and meaningfully. There must be a certain level of expertise from those creating the change, so the data produced is valuable and meaningful.  

How does digital health work within public health? How does it broaden the paradigm?  

With digital health, there’s more increased precision to create more targeted outcomes. It’s complementary: it does not replace clinical work. While what is new and shiny is attractive, a key principle is that new is not always better. Thoughtful processes to measure digital health is necessary for it to efficiently complement evaluation and it must have analytic validity as well as content validity.  

How does this process benefit the patient?  

The main goal is to help the patient so we must know what the patients’ goals are. Obtaining early input from the patient and finding out what is important to them is crucial to evaluating what measurement tools are best.  

How does this process benefit the patient?  

Don’t be afraid to try out new areas and expand your expertise! The medical space is dynamic and getting foundational skills that are then transferrable is best for long-term success. Take it from Ebony herself — she began in the psychological space with children and now works in rate disease drug development. If you are courageous enough to expand your views, you will add to the field in innovative ways!  

We would like to extend gratitude Ebony Dashiell-Aje for her insight and time. To check out the video of the full interview, click here 

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