Newswise — Irvine, Calif. – October 15, 2019 – Sean Young, PhD, professor at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, has been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine ad hoc committee to address the alarming increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) through the National Association of County and City Heath Officials requested the formation of the committee.

“STIs have reached epidemic proportions nationally and continue to rise. Our committee is charged with investigating the problem and recommending novel and implementable solutions,” said Young.  “Solutions exist. We are optimistic about the CDC’s request for help that there will be resources and support to implement the committee’s solutions.”

The “Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States” committee will examine the epidemiological dimensions of STIs in the United States and factors that contribute to the epidemic (changes in population demographics, sexual and other behaviors, social determinants), as well as changes in the understanding of the agents that cause STIs.

Additionally, the study will attempt to address the economic burden associated with STIs and review current public health strategies and programs to prevent and control STIs (including STI diagnostics, STI vaccines, STI monitoring and surveillance, and treatment. Barriers in the healthcare system and insurance coverage associated with the prevention and treatment of STIs will also be surveyed.

Young was appointed to the committee due to his work at UCI leveraging social and behavioral data to detect real-world problems. He applied insights from psychology to online behavior change interventions and saw social norms could be modified.

Young uses this approach to transform time-consuming and expensive community-based interventions into online variants that more efficiently reach the masses. By analyzing people’s behaviors, problems from these behaviors can quickly be detected and addressed. Working with public health officials, Young is now developing tools that mine social data to identify potential areas of disease outbreak, crime, and poverty. His expertise will be used to address the STI epidemic.

“We can now use technologies as a way of predicting and changing behavior, leading to positive and ethically delivered social change,” said Young.

About the UCI School of Medicine: Each year, the UCI School of Medicine educates over 400 medical students, as well as 200 doctoral and master’s students. More than 600 residents and fellows are trained at UC Irvine Medical Center and affiliated institutions. The School of Medicine offers an MD; a dual MD/PhD medical scientist training program; and PhDs and master’s degrees in anatomy and neurobiology, biomedical sciences, genetic counseling, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and biophysics, and translational sciences. Medical students also may pursue an MD/MBA, an MD/master’s in public health, or an MD/master’s degree through one of three mission-based programs: the Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM), the Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC), and the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). The UCI School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Accreditation and ranks among the top 50 nationwide for research. For more information, visit

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit