UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


ONLINE: Digital Tools for Addressing a Public Health Crisis

02 July 2024, 3:30 pm–4:45 pm

sloane lab 2024 series

Sloane Lab and HDSM Darmstadt are pleased to welcome Cecília Tomori (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing) and Brian Wingenroth (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Marco Humbel, UCLDH Associate Director (ECR)

Understanding the U.S. Opioid Overdose Epidemic through Analysis of the Opioid Industry Documents Archive: Digital Tools for Addressing a Public Health Crisis 

The US opioid overdose crisis to date has cost approximately 800,000 lives. This talk will examine the origins of the crisis, and its public health consequences via the Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA), a collaboration between the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University. The presentation will highlight key moments in the crisis and the corporate actors that orchestrated sophisticated marketing strategies that expanded the use of prescription opioids and presented them as a solution to pain and an ever-growing list of medical conditions. These tactics constitute a playbook that has been deployed across other health-harming industries and are part of what the World Health Organization refers to as the commercial determinants of health.

The talk will then turn to examples of digital analytic strategies to explore questions that may be posed by researchers and the public to investigate specific areas of the opioid crisis. We will discuss the many ways that data science and artificial intelligence are playing a growing role in our work, including supporting metadata creation and image extraction. We will also demonstrate our tools designed to encourage users to work with the raw data behind OIDA and apply their own computational methods to the collection.

Register for the Zoom event and view the full seminar series programme: https://critical-creative.eventbrite.co.uk

The Sloane Lab Seminar Series is convened by Marco Humbel (Sloane Lab & UCLDH), Nadezhda Povroznik (TU Darmstadt), Julianne Nyhan (TU Darmstadt & UCL) and Andrew Flinn (UCL). Administrative support is provided by Lucy Stagg (UCLDH & UCL IAS).

This joint virtual seminar is co-hosted by University College London, TU Darmstadt, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum.

The symposium is funded by the Towards a National Collection programme (Arts and Humanities Research Council) as an activity of the Sloane Lab Discovery Project.

About the Speakers

Cecília Tomori

Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

She holds a joint appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. Dr Tomori is internationally recognized for her expertise on breastfeeding and maternal child health and has worked to address a wide range of other major public health issues, including infectious diseases and the opioid crisis. Her recent work has explored corporate strategies that have cast doubt on science and undermined public health as they sought to maximize profits across a range of industries from pharmaceuticals to the infant and adult food industries and the fossil fuel and chemical industries. Dr. Tomori is actively involved in research and training on these issues and policy change to create better health for all. 

Brian Wingenroth

Data Science Lead at Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

OIDA is dedicated to preserving and offering public access to corporate documents made public through opioid litigation providing insight into the workings of the opioid industry during the height of the U.S. opioid crisis. In his role, Brian drives the development of innovative tools and products that enhance the archive, including the image collection, new methods for analyzing email threads, and advancements in metadata extraction. Previously, as a research software engineer at the University of Maryland, College Park Brian contributed to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) where he built data collection infrastructure. He also served as a software engineer and solutions architect for Project MUSE at the Johns Hopkins University Press. Brian earned his B.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University.