Larry An


2020

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Expressive Interviewing: A Conversational System for Coping with COVID-19
Charles Welch | Allison Lahnala | Veronica Perez-Rosas | Siqi Shen | Sarah Seraj | Larry An | Kenneth Resnicow | James Pennebaker | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 (Part 2) at EMNLP 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns for many regarding personal and public health implications, financial security and economic stability. Alongside many other unprecedented challenges, there are increasing concerns over social isolation and mental health. We introduce Expressive Interviewing – an interview-style conversational system that draws on ideas from motivational interviewing and expressive writing. Expressive Interviewing seeks to encourage users to express their thoughts and feelings through writing by asking them questions about how COVID-19 has impacted their lives. We present relevant aspects of the system’s design and implementation as well as quantitative and qualitative analyses of user interactions with the system. In addition, we conduct a comparative evaluation with a general purpose dialogue system for mental health that shows our system potential in helping users to cope with COVID-19 issues.

2019

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Towards Extracting Medical Family History from Natural Language Interactions: A New Dataset and Baselines
Mahmoud Azab | Stephane Dadian | Vivi Nastase | Larry An | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We introduce a new dataset consisting of natural language interactions annotated with medical family histories, obtained during interactions with a genetic counselor and through crowdsourcing, following a questionnaire created by experts in the domain. We describe the data collection process and the annotations performed by medical professionals, including illness and personal attributes (name, age, gender, family relationships) for the patient and their family members. An initial system that performs argument identification and relation extraction shows promising results – average F-score of 0.87 on complex sentences on the targeted relations.