Mukund Poddar: 2021 Public Service Graduate Fellow

The Harvard Data Science (HDSI) Public Service Graduate Fellowship


Mukund Poddar (MSHDS ‘22, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) worked in the Surgical Informatics lab under Dr. Gabriel Brat at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to develop a platform that allows a Machine Learning Model that predicts the surgical risk score of Ulcerative Colitis (UC) patients to be accessible to physicians at patients’ bedsides. Some patients with UC require surgery but delayed action can result in higher healthcare costs and worse patient outcomes. Poddar’s model aims to suggest a surgical referral at the correct time in order to avoid these burdens.


The Harvard Data Science Initiative (HDSI) Public Service Data Science Graduate Fellowship supports Master’s students in Harvard’s data science programs (Biomedical Informatics, Health Data Science, Data Science) who want to explore career paths at not-for-profit and public sector organizations through a summer internship.

The project consisted of developing the technology to deploy this model for usage by actual clinicians. Poddar created a front-end web application that takes input from the physician gastroenterologist, queries the model’s predictions for the risk score, and shows it to the physician along with graphs and visualizations to help put the number in context. Additionally, Poddar created a data pipeline from one of the datastores in the hospital to the model that enabled use of the patient’s history in making a successful prediction. Poddar and his team concluded the project by wrapping up the individual components in Docker containers for deployment.


During this fellowship, Poddar had the opportunity to work with an inter-disciplinary team and learn about how clinicians approach complex issues. He will continue his work next semester to help finalize the data pipeline and assist with the pilot project of the software’s usage.

The HDSI Public Service Data Science Fellowship


The HDSI (Harvard Data Science Initiative) Public Service Data Science Graduate Fellowship supports Master’s students in Harvard’s data science programs (Biomedical Informatics (HMS), Health Data Science (HSPH), Data Science (SEAS)) who want to explore career paths at not-for-profit and public sector organizations through a summer internship.


The #fellowship includes a $10,000 stipend to support an unpaid #summer 2022 #internship at a not-for-profit or public sector organization that either (a) applies data science to solve social challenges, or (b) advocates for responsible data science. The stipend is intended to support living expenses during the summer and may not be used for tuition.


Fellows are also expected to promote public service #data science at #Harvard, which will include documenting their experience in the fellowship through a blog post or short report to the HDSI (previous winners Rachel Moon and Pradeep Mangalath); and may include community-building activities such as:

  • Facilitating a public service data science reading group

  • Participating on panels and in discussions/talks

  • Serving as a resource to other students interested in public service and data science

Learn how to apply
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