UTHSC to Advance Health Equity

With a new $50 million grant from NIH, the University of North Texas Health Science Center https://www.uthsc.edu, will lead the AI/ML consortium to Advance Health Equity and Research Diversity (AIM-AHEAD).

The plan is to bring experts in community engagement, AI/ML, health equity research, data science training, and data infrastructure together. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used beyond healthcare as in facial recognition to self-driving cars and beyond, but there is an extreme lack of diversity among the developers of AI/ML tools.

According to NIH,AIM-AHEAD was created to close the gaps in the AI/ML field which currently lacks diversity in researchers and data, including EHRs. These gaps pose a risk of creating and continuing harmful biases in how AI/ML is used, how algorithms are developed and trained, and how findings are interpreted. Critically, these gaps can lead to continued health disparities and inequities for underrepresented communities.”

While a groundbreaking technology, AI which mimics human decision-making through its choice of algorithms, has brought human bias into the system. After all humans program the system.

“Many studies have shown that flawed AI systems and algorithms perpetuating gender and racial biases have resulted in questionable outcomes” reports Bettina Beech, Chief Population Health Officer at the University of Houston and newly named AIM-AHEAD Principal Investigator for the Leadership Core.

She said, “The AIM-AHEAD project directly connects with the University of Houston’s plan to train and diversify the future workforce in population health, increase the use of digital tools for chronic disease self-management, and to advance population health research.”

Other Members of the Leadership Core includes University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Center Aurora, University of California, Los Angeles, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


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