Minnesota Nursing magazine

Big data reveals family-level problems

Team members Chih-Lin Chi, Brady Alsaker, Anne Chevalier McKechnie, Karen Monsen and Sasank Maganti
Team members Chih-Lin Chi, Brady Alsaker, Anne Chevalier McKechnie, Karen Monsen and Sasank Maganti.

Assistant Professor Anne Chevalier McKechnie, PhD, RN, is leading an innovative big data collaboration that could pave the way for new understandings of family health. With Associate Professor Karen Monsen, PhD, RN, FAAN, McKechnie is examining the feasibility of using big data techniques to identify patterns within families with young children. Monsen invited McKechnie and her long-time mentor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Karen Pridham, PhD, RN, FAAN, to join a research team that already included University of Minnesota staff, students and faculty, including Brady Alsaker, MN, RN, University of Minnesota Medical Center; Sasank Maganti, a master’s degree student in the College of Science and Engineering, and Assistant Professor Chih-Lin Chi, PhD, MBA. Together, they are conducting a study with the Omaha System Data Collaborative, a practice-based research network. Data analyzed were collected by public health nurses during routine home visits with 8,638 families (10,332 individuals) across Minnesota. The families received 843,603 interventions (including teaching, guidance and counseling) for 39,080 problems (like parenting, growth and development). In addition to new and compelling observations about the relationships among three family outcomes (parent/child knowledge, parent/child behavior or improved condition), data visualization showed intervention pattern variations by problem. Moreover, family level analysis revealed more than double the number of problems compared to the individual level, including parental problems that were not identified for a child (like income). These and other unexpected findings regarding family level problems, interventions and outcomes were featured in the symposium Family Nursing Needs Big Data and Big Data Needs Family Nursing at the 42nd-annual Midwest Nursing Research Society Conference in April.


Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research

Jayne Fulkerson

Center Director: 
Jayne Fulkerson, PhD

To improve the health of infants, children, adolescents, parents, and families in the context of their communities. Center members develop and disseminate evidence-based interventions and best practices in primary and secondary prevention.

For more information:
Email: CCFHPR@umn.edu