Xindi (Cindy) Hu is an award-winning, internationally renowned data scientist and environmental health researcher. She employs geospatial methods to support evidence-based public health decision-making, with a focus on vulnerable populations.
Hu’s work has had a significant impact on both the public health research and policy communities. Her work on drinking water contamination caused by so-called “forever chemicals” was the first to shed light on the national significance of the problem and played a pivotal role in catalyzing proposed federal drinking water regulations. Since then, she has transitioned to more public health-focused work on wastewater-based epidemiology and COVID-19. Her contributions to Mathematica’s Covid-SURGE algorithm help public health officials use this novel data source to gain insights into community-level disease outbreaks. She also developed 19andMe, an interactive risk calculator for the public to identify the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the probability of severe health outcomes. The app has received hundreds of thousands of visits since its launch, ranks top in Google search results for “COVID risk calculator,” and was featured in Nature Technology Feature.
Hu currently serves as technical lead for Mathematica’s ClimaWATCH, a climate change and health analytics tool. Using a causal inference framework, she assesses the health impacts of extreme heat on Medicaid populations, empowering communities to identify vulnerable groups and design evidence-based interventions. Hu also leads geospatial analysis for the state of California to assess service access gaps among Medi-Cal beneficiaries in need of home and community-based services.
Before joining Mathematica in 2018, Hu was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, where she earned her Sc.D. in risk and decision sciences from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research has been published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Health Perspectives, and Environmental Science & Technology Letters, and received media coverage from the Washington Post, CNN, and Reuters.