Homestead Alumna Releases Mobile App to Help Breast Cancer Patients

A 2005 Homestead High School graduate has released MyPath, a new mobile app that provides breast cancer patients with personalized information and updates as they battle their illnesses.

Maia Jacobs, who is seeking a Ph.D. in human-centered computing from Georgia Tech, developed the app with Aditi Dhar, her research partner at the university. The project, along with Jacobs’ research into how computational tools can help manage chronic illnesses, has led to her being named a 2016 James D. Foley Scholar.

Jacobs says that her time at Homestead served as an important academic foundation to her future success in both her undergraduate and graduate studies. She received a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 before moving on to study at one of the nation’s premier engineering and technology-focused institutions. 

“In reflection, the mathematics and English departments stand out the most when I think about my time in high school, particularly the advanced placement courses,” said Jacobs. “I never thought I would end up in a career that involved so much writing, and Homestead was definitely the first place I learned to develop strong, evidence-based arguments. I undoubtedly used those foundational composition skills taught at Homestead throughout my undergraduate studies and ultimately in my research publications as a doctoral student.”

Jacobs first became familiar with the challenges individuals face when diagnosed with cancer when she volunteered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Madison. With MyPath, Jacobs and Dhar are working to provide patients with easier access to personalized, helpful information that changes and updates over the course of the user’s battle with breast cancer.

The app’s home screen, for example, features several tabs—each of which pertains to a specific need. There are tabs for treatments, day-to-day issues, overall health and wellness, emotional support and even weekly surveys users can complete to help customize the app to meet their needs.

Jacobs has been working on the project for the past five years. It started with a different application, called MyJourney Compass, which offered more static and generalized information. That evolved into MyPath, which has received funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dhar joined Jacobs on the project in 2015.

To learn more about Jacobs and her work, visit https://research.cc.gatech.edu/ecl/people/maia-jacobs.

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