Three HBCU Medical Schools Participate in Effort to Boost Diversity in Artificial Intelligence Research

Historically Black Meharry Medical College, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Howard University have joined the leadership core for a new two-year, $100 million award funded by the National Institutes of Health to participate in the Coordinating Center for the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity (AIM-AHEAD) program.

The artificial intelligence/machine learning field currently lacks diversity in its researchers and in data, including electronic health record data. These gaps pose a risk of creating and continuing harmful biases in how the technology 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. The new consortium seeks to increase the participation and representation of the researchers and communities that are currently underrepresented in artificial intelligence modeling and applications through mutually beneficial partnerships.

“Lack of diversity of both data and researchers runs the risk of creating harmful biases in the algorithms, practice, and outcome of health care data as we continue to combat health disparities and inequities faced by underrepresented and underserved communities,” said James E.K. Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College. “This mutually beneficial partnership made possible by the NIH provides the right funding, infrastructure, and training needed to implement a transformative approach to improve health for all.”

The University of North Texas Health Science Center will lead the consortium. In addition to the three historically Black medical schools, participating institutions include the Vanderbilt University Medical Center; the University of Houston; the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Center; the University of California, Los Angeles; Johns Hopkins University; the National Alliance Against Disparities in Patient Health; Harvard Medical School, and the Oregon Community Health Information Network


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