Emory University Launching ‘Empathetic AI for Health Institute’

Emory University in Atlanta is launching a Emory Institute for Empathic AI for Health to discern patterns in large amounts of data and make predictions that improve patient health outcomes in diseases such as lung, prostate and breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more.

The university said Emory AI.Health will foster the development of accessible, cost-effective and equitable AI tools by developing an ecosystem of multidisciplinary experts from Emory, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, the Georgia Institute of Technology and others, and seeking public-private associations to promote new research. It will then serve as the engine to deploy those tools at the patient’s bedside, initially within Emory Healthcare and ultimately around the world.

A central pillar of the institute is to promote health equity by reducing the cost of care and increasing both the quality and access to care for all populations, with an initial focus on the underserved population of the Atlanta region.

Emory AI.Health will be led by Anant Madabhushi, Ph.D., Robert W. Woodruff Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology, a member of the Cancer Immunology research program at Emory. Winship. Cancer Institute and career research scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
Madabhushi is the author of over 475 peer-reviewed publications and holds over 200 issued or pending patents in the areas of AI, radiomics, computational pathology, medical image analysis, and computer vision.

“It is an honor and thrill to lead the Emory Empathetic AI for Health Institute,” Madabhushi says in a statement. He joined Emory in 2022 as one of the first faculty hired through the AI.Humanity initiative. “With the power of artificial intelligence and precision medicine, we are moving towards a future where healthcare will not only be reactive, but proactive for everyone, regardless of their background, to ensure that everyone has the best opportunity to lead a healthy life”.

Emory AI.Health will also leverage the expertise of Emory researchers such as Bari Clifford and Judy Gichoya, who are advancing AI in diverse patient groups. Additionally, the institute will benefit from a university-wide recruiting effort through AI.Humanity, which is recruiting up to 60 new faculty who focus on AI in disciplines including health, law, business, ethics and other fields.

Improve health equity

Given precision medicine’s ability to personally tailor diagnoses and treatments, it would seem that the discipline would inherently promote health equity; but the lack of diversity in clinical trials can exacerbate existing health disparities by creating an algorithmic bias toward majority populations. Therefore, improving health equity will be at the forefront of Emory AI.Health.

“There is a critical need to develop AI-based risk prediction models for minority patients,” Madabhushi said. “The resulting cost reductions from AI-based precision medicine, as well as the elimination of the need for invasive biopsies, are even greater benefits for underserved and underserved populations locally in Atlanta, nationally, and globally.” .

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