“The HeNN app also connects users to HelpIsHereDE, the state’s one-stop online source of information on prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction.”
Elizabeth Romero, director of Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse
and Mental Health, said HeNN complements the state’s comprehensive
online behavioral health referral system for health care providers.
That network, the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN), allows
patients to be transitioned through electronic referrals to behavioral
health providers in the state that match the level of care needed.
“Technology is advancing when it comes to connectivity to treatment
services,” Romero said. “So many individuals and families in our state
can benefit from well-designed tools that support their journey to
About the development of HeNN
The project’s leaders, in addition to Anderson, are UD’s Hui Fang and Cathy Wu.
Fang is associate professor of electrical and computer engineering,
David L. and Beverly J.C. Mills Chair, and JPMC Interim Fellow. She is
also affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information
Sciences, the Institute for Financial Services Analytics and the Center
for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Fang’s group leads app
wire-framing and programming.
Wu is the Unidel Edward G. Jefferson Chair in Engineering and
Computer Science, professor of computer and information sciences and
director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and
the Data Science Institute. Her group assists with the underlying
database development with an automated workflow to streamline data
integration and update.
Other members of the development team were Haibi Hu from Computer
Science and Engineering; Sachin Gavali and Julie Cowart, from the Center
for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; Joshua Stout and Logan
Neitzke-Spruill, both of the Center for Drug and Health Studies; Gabe
Humphreys, Andrew Braune and John Hedberg, all of Green Line Business
Group, a technology company; and Patrick Callahan of CompassRed, a data
and analytics company.
HeNN was funded by a Center for Advanced Technology grant from the
Delaware Biotechnology Institute. The team is exploring other sources of
support to continue expanding HeNN’s functionality and services
What’s next for HeNN?
In the future, the HeNN team hopes to incorporate services from
surrounding areas, including Philadelphia and northern Maryland, and to
expand resources and services that address mental health and general
“The app has been designed in a way that can be easily scaled to more services with minimum manual effort,” Fang said.
Article by Ann Manser; photo illustration by Jeffrey Chase
Published July 29, 2019