2018 May JAMIA Journal Club Webinar

May 10, 2018
Free for all; members and non-members
Katelynn Devinney, MPH

Discovering foodborne illness in online restaurant reviews

Co-author Katelynn Devinney will discuss this month's JAMIA Journal Club selection:

Effland T, Lawson A, Balter S, et al. Discovering foodborne illness in online restaurant reviews.
Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018 Jan 10. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocx093. [Epub ahead of print]


Katelynn Devinney, MPH
Foodborne Disease Epidemiologist
Bureau of Communicable Disease
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Queens, NY

Ms. Devinney is a Foodborne Disease Epidemiologist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Long Island City, Queens, NY. She is an awardee and graduate of the Informatics-Training in Place Program (I-TIPP), a multi-agency collaboration designed for more training in public health informatics in the existing workforce while employed at a State, Tribal, Local, Territorial (STLT) health department. Her main research interest is to use social media for general foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigations. 


  • 40-minute discussion between the authors and the JAMIA Student Editorial Board moderators including salient features of the published study and its potential impact on practice.
  • 20-minute discussion of questions submitted by listeners via the webinar tools.


  • Follow @AMIAinformatics and #JAMIAJC for Journal Club information.
  • Participants also receive short feedback surveys to evaluate the JAMIA JC webinar.


JAMIA Journal Club managers are JAMIA Student Editorial Board members:

Lucy Lu Wang, PhD Candidate, Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 

Jingcheng Du, PhD Candidate and CPRIT Pre-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Informatics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX


The PubMed citation for the paper under discussion is:

Effland T, Lawson A, Balter S, et al. Discovering foodborne illness in online restaurant reviews.
Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018 Jan 10. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocx093. [Epub ahead of print]

Students who are not AMIA members, but whose academic institutions are members of the Academic Forum, are eligible for a complimentary JAMIA Journal Club registration. Please contact Susanne Arnold at susanne@amia.org for the discount code. In the email, please include: full name, Academic Department, and the primary Academic Forum representative of that Academic Department. Note that AMIA Student memberships are $50, which allow access to JAMIA, all JAMIA Journal Clubs, and other webinars of interest to the biomedical informatics community. 

Statement of Purpose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 48 million illnesses and >3000 deaths caused by the consumption of contaminated food in the United States each year. Of the approximately 1200 foodborne outbreaks reported and investigated nationally, 68% are restaurant-related.

Most restaurant-associated outbreaks are identified via health department complaint systems. However, the increasing use of social media has provided a public platform for users to disclose serious real-life incidents such as food poisoning that may not be reported through established complaint systems. In this study, we used data from individuals’ restaurant reviews obtained from Yelp, the online social networking platform where consumers evaluate local shops and services. A comparison of food outlets associated with outbreaks from the CDC Foodborne Outbreak Online Database and data extracted from Yelp reviews indicating foodborne illness and implicating a specific food item found that the distribution of food categories was very similar between the two sources, supporting the usefulness of these data in public health responses. Furthermore, Yelp reviews can be directly linked with individual restaurant locations, allowing for targeted and timely response.

Professionals committed to improving population health will appreciate this innovative use of social media for early identification of foodborne illness originating from restaurant menu items.

Target Audience

The target audience for this activity is professionals and students interested in biomedical and health informatics.

Learning Objectives

After this live activity, the participant should be better able to:

  • Incorporate consumer social media postings as a data source indicating complaints and occurrences of foodborne illness originating from restaurants
  • Understand the performance of different text classification techniques when applied to Yelp restaurant reviews for the identification of foodborne illness complaints


Katelynn Devinney, MPH
Foodborne Disease Epidemiologist
Bureau of Communicable Disease
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Queens, NY

Accreditation Statement

The American Medical Informatics Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The American Medical Informatics Association designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Criteria for Successful Completion

Completion of this live activity is demonstrated by:

  • Viewing the live webinar
  • Optional submission of questions via webinar feature; option to follow @AMIAinformatics and tweet via #JAMIAJC
  • Completion of the evaluation survey emailed at the webinar's conclusion, and 
  • Verification of attendance through the participant's electronic report through the individual login to AMIA Central at www.amia.org. 

The physician participant will be able to generate a CME certificate through the AMIA automated system. 
For a certificate of completion, contact Pesha@amia.org.

Commercial Support

No commercial support was received for this activity.

Disclosure Policy

As a provider accredited by the ACCME, AMIA requires that everyone who is in a position to control the content of an educational activity disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest for 12 months prior to the educational activity.

The ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

Faculty and planners who refuse to disclose relevant financial relationships will be disqualified from participating in the CME activity. For an individual with no relevant financial relationship(s), the participants must be informed that no conflicts of interest or financial relationship(s) exist.

AMIA uses a number of methods to resolve potential conflicts of interest, including: limiting content of the presentation to that which has been reviewed by one or more peer reviewers; ensuring that all scientific research referred to conforms to generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis; undertaking review of the educational activity by a content reviewer to evaluate for potential bias, balance in presentation, evidence-based content or other indicators of integrity, and absence of bias; monitoring the educational activity to evaluate for commercial bias in the presentation; and/or reviewing participant feedback to evaluate for commercial bias in the activity.

Disclosures for this Activity

These faculty, planners, and staff who are in a position to control the content of this activity disclose that they and their life partners have no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests: 

JAMIA Journal Club Faculty: Katelynn Devinney
JAMIA Journal Club planners: Jingcheng Du; Lucy Lu Wang
AMIA staff: Susanne Arnold, Pesha Rubinstein
JAMIA Student Editorial Board Advisor: Michael Chiang

Instructions for Claiming CME/CE Credit

CME site (MyAMIA) works best with IE 8 or above version, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

  • Login to your account at amia.org; in upper right hand corner, click on AMIA Central
  • Go to “My Events" under Membership/Activities
  • Click “Apply for Credits" for this webinar
  • Follow the instructions on the Credit Registration page. Be sure both drop-down menus say “physician”
  • To print out your certificate, go to "My CME/CE Credits" under Membership/Activities.
  • Physicians will be able to print out or save their CME certificates.
  • Other attendees: if you require a certificate of participation, please contact pesha@amia.org

Contact Info

For questions about content or CE, email Pesha@amia.org. For questions about webinar access, email Susanne@amia.org