DeVry University's Health Equity Symposium Explores Improving Disparities and Outcomes with AI

Lisle, Ill. – May 10, 2024 – Artificial intelligence, healthcare and equity converged during DeVry University's Bridging the Gap Between Artificial Intelligence and Health Equity, a two-day virtual symposium held on May 8-9 to explore AI's foreseeable potential to resolve health disparities and improve outcomes in the healthcare industry.


The symposium, a first of its kind at the university, brought together nearly a dozen esteemed practitioners in healthcare, technology and higher education from around the country to share insights on how to close the gap on health disparities by delivering better outcomes with correct and ethical usage of AI.


"We're living in a complex, post-COVID world where social determinants of health and health equity are bigger priorities as AI is also setting a precedence across multiple industries including healthcare," noted DeVry University's Dr. Laura-Kathryn Neal, national dean colleges and curriculum, College of Health Sciences. "It's important to understand how these things intersect," she added.


Dr. Neal organized the symposium with DeVry University's Chief Inclusion, Belonging and Equity Officer Veronica Calderon.


"The existence of health inequities and disparities can have life-or-death consequences for individuals and communities. So, understanding the problem and the need is critical," said Calderon. "As much as we want to believe we're ahead of the curve, we are not. We’re not minimizing disparities or tackling social determinants of health at scale."


According to the CDC, "health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or in opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic and other population groups and communities." In the U.S., health disparities can refer to unequal access, quality and outcomes experienced by different populations, producing significant gaps.


Calderon said she and Dr. Neal were eager to continue examining how to improve health outcomes through a DEI lens.


Sessions on the symposium’s day one focused on health equity, while day two focused on leveraging AI's capabilities to address and resolve disparities. An earlier kick-off session by the University of California Director of Health Information Management Services Maria Caban Alizondo examined the use of AI as a tool towards achieving health equity. A day two session by Data Scientist David Marc delved into AI-based algorithms when ethics, inclusivity and cultural bias intersect.


Other sessions explored disparities in access to medical care for urban and rural communities, health equity and AI for underserved populations, as well as diversity and ethical challenges in AI development teams, and more.


Sanjay Deo, founder and president of the consulting firm 24By7Security, Inc. delivered the closing keynote. "He is a huge influence on the healthcare and cybersecurity industries," said Dr. Neal.


"DeVry's symposium represents a critical meeting point for AI and healthcare equity, demanding our focused attention and bold actions," said Deo following the event. "The conversation around data privacy and security in AI is of the utmost importance, requiring us to transcend traditional compliance for the sake of trust in our healthcare systems. I am eager to help foster significant strides towards a healthcare future characterized by equity, emphasizing the vital importance of trust and accountability," he added.


Dr. Neal and Calderon said they ultimately hope to galvanize students' and practitioners' interests in health advocacy, an essential daily component to resolving disparities.


"The more we continue to have these conversations with audiences who are actively applying their knowledge day-to-day is monumental to ultimately improve health outcomes," added Calderon.


Dr. Neal noted DeVry students from the College of Health Sciences and cybersecurity programs were in the audience to gain a sneak peek at critical issues prevailing in the industries they hope to work in.


She said, "I hope they are motivated and inspired to bring their knowledge further than just our event, instead looking deeper at their communities and the organizations they want to work for, to effect change in spaces that are not necessarily being served well."

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap and address emerging talent needs by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online in Business, Healthcare and Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit