Lucy Yan

Assistant Professor, Kelley School of Business

As the social media landscape continues to develop, Lucy Yan, assistant professor of information systems in the Kelley School of Business, discovered how to utilize technology to make a difference in peoples' lives.

After Yan’s friend was diagnosed with cancer, Yan used her computer science education to help share her friend’s story. The emotional support generated by the social media, through her friend’s experience, triggered Yan to uncover how she could help other patients with chronic diseases.

“I thought if I connect more people together I could potentially make positive changes to the healthcare system,” Yan says.

Current research shows that patients who utilize online social media channels to connect with others improve their overall emotional and physical health. Yan believes that different types of social media support patients at different health stages. Her research establishes that patients in severe health stages benefit from emotional support, whereas as a less severe patient benefits from informational support. These findings provide insight to online health communities and healthcare practitioners desiring to improve healthcare delivery systems.

“From my work I feel that I know myself better,” Yan says. “The patients’ stories put my life in perspective.”

Yan obtained a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego University in 2005. Her desire to use her technical knowledge to positively impact business operations led Yan to attend the University of Washington. After obtaining her doctorate degree in information systems in 2012, Yan joined the Kelley School’s Operations and Decisions Technologies Department. She endeavors to inspire students in her classroom at Indiana University experience and build confidence in their studies.

“We usually see ourselves lower than we should,” Yan says. “The key is we need to adjust our view higher.”

As a woman in a generally male-dominated field, Yan advises her female students to build a wide network and develop a broader view of the world to prepare for the challenges they will face in the future.

“We need to change females’ views of technology, and make them aware that once they join the field they can do just as good as males,” says Yan. “It’s a historical bias that needs to be changed.”