Kar-Hai Chu, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Public Health

Kar-Hai Chu, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Public Health. His interdisciplinary training focused on applying technology and social network analysis to different aspects of interactive online education. He has studied various public health issues, including tobacco control, community health coalitions, and social media–based health surveillance. Dr. Chu’s current research is focused on innovative methods of using online technologies to support health science, including studies on mobile apps for tobacco cessation, using Twitter to monitor nicotine and tobacco-related cancer communication, and designing e-cigarette interventions for high school students.

Follow Dr. Chu on Twitter at @karhai. He enjoys rock climbing, surfing, and playing basketball.

Education & Training

  • BS (Computer Science), Johns Hopkins University
  • MS (Computer Science), Columbia University
  • PhD (Communications and Information Sciences), University of Hawaii

Representative Publications

Chu K, Escobar-Viera CG, Matheny SJ, Davis EM, and Primack BA. Tobacco cessation mobile app intervention (Just Kwit! study): protocol for a pilot randomized controlled pragmatic trial. Trials. 2019;20(1):147.

This pilot trial will be the first to evaluate a commercially available smartphone app for tobacco cessation in a hospitalized setting.

Chu K, Colditz JB, Primack BA, Shensa A, Allem J, Miller E, Unger JB, Boley Cruz T. JUUL: spreading online and offline. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2018;63(5):582-586.

Study found that ¼ of users following the e-cigarette brand JUUL’s official Twitter account were adolescents and assessed those adolescents’ patterns of sharing JUUL-related information.

Chu K, Allem J, Cruz T, Unger J. Vaping on Instagram: cloud chasing, hand checks, and product placement. Tobacco Control. 2016 Sep;26(5):575-578. PMID: 27660111.

Tobacco and e-cigarette companies have used pictures as successful advertising tools. We identifying the themes of e-cigarette-related images posted on Instagram, studying the level of reactions (likes) being elicited by each theme, and examining trends.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Chu’s works.

Research Interests

  • Tobacco control
  • Social network analysis
  • Mobile health
  • Online social media