Duke AI Health’s Nicoleta Economou talks guidelines & guardrails for responsible health AI development in AIMed “Champions” interview

Nicoleta Economou-Zavlanos, PhD, the director of Governance and Evaluation of health AI systems at Duke AI Health, was recently interviewed by AIMed’s Gemma Lovegrove for their AI Champions Interview Series, which highlights key thought leaders in the AI space. During the interview, Dr. Economou underscored the importance of incorporating fairness, transparency, and inclusivity throughout the entire process of health AI development, implementation, and monitoring.


CHI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Digital Healthcare

The Connected Health Initiative (CHI) is hosting an in-person conference titled ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Digital Healthcare at the Crossroads’ on September 26, 2023, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., from 12:30 PM to 5:35 PM EDT. The event will delve into the profound impact of AI systems on healthcare, offering potential for improved outcomes, cost savings, and a shift towards proactive disease prevention. Duke AI Health Director Michael Pencina, PhD, ABCDS Director Nicoleta Economou-Zavlanos, PhD, and AI Health Equity Scholar Michael Cary, PhD, RN, will be presenting the Algorithm-Based Clinical Decision Support (ABCDS) Oversight framework at the conference, touching upon the program’s design, implementation and strategies for bias mitigation and ensuring health equity. The CHI conference aims to foster a vital public dialogue on the state of health AI, proactive approaches by leading organizations to address AI efficacy, and the government’s role in managing AI’s risks and opportunities in healthcare.


Duke AI Health Director Michael Pencina Named Duke Health’s First Chief Data Scientist

Michael Pencina, PhD, vice dean for data science, professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke University School of Medicine, and director of Duke AI Health, has been named Duke Health’s first chief data scientist. Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean Mary E. Klotman, MD, and Duke University Health System Chief Executive Officer Craig Albanese, MD, MBA, announced Pencina’s appointment. “In the current era of rapid expansion of AI and data science, we created this new role in recognition of the need for a well-articulated strategy for Duke Health that spans and connects both our academic and our clinical missions,” Klotman and Albanese said in their announcement.


Flyer for the event

Please join us for a lunch and learn on September 19

Large language models (LLM) are powering amazing recent innovations in generative AI such as ChatGPT. Although their capabilities may seem like magic, behind these technologies are concepts that anyone can understand.

Please join us on Tuesday, September 19 for a lunch and learn as Larry Carin provides a math-free, intuitive explanation of how LLMs work. Dr. Carin will introduces participants to the deep-learning technology that has revolutionized the capacity of machines to perform language translation, to answer questions posed for given text, and to generate (synthesize) text that is near human-generated quality.


Duke Health and Microsoft Form AI Partnership to Advance Medicine

Duke University and Duke Health have recently announced a monumental five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to support artificial intelligence (AI) applications in medicine and lead transformation in healthcare delivery, champion health equity, and pioneer advanced research. “We are excited to partner with Microsoft and bring our organizations’ talent together to solve the most pressing healthcare challenges,” said Duke AI Health Director and Vice Dean for Data Science Michael Pencina, PhD. “We will combine medical expertise, data science methods, and technology solutions to improve patient care and community health and advance the foundations of trustworthy health AI.”


Photograph of a clinician in white coat in conversation

PCORI HSII Capacity Building Launches

Duke University Health System has received a new capacity-building contract with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). This contract, as part of PCORI’s Health Systems Implementation Initiative, will be used to support preparation for implementation projects that will advance the adoption of evidence-based practice within healthcare delivery settings. The Duke team, led by Rick Shannon, MD, includes co-investigators Armando Bedoya, MD; Nrupen Bhavsar, PhD; Ben Goldstein, PhD; and Michelle Lyn, MBA, MHA; and is supported by Duke AI Health.


Duke AI Health and School of Nursing to convene first-ever Duke Symposium on Algorithmic Equity and Fairness in Health

Duke AI Health and the Duke University School of Nursing are proud to announce the inaugural Duke Symposium on Algorithmic Equity and Fairness in Health, scheduled to take place in spring 2024.

The symposium will be spearheaded by Dr. Michael Cary, a distinguished scholar in nursing and the Elizabeth C. Clipp Term Chair of Nursing at the School of Nursing. Dr. Cary also serves as the Health Equity Scholar for Duke AI and leads the algorithmic equity initiative within Duke AI Health.

“In healthcare, algorithmic bias can lead to disparities in diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and access to care. It can disproportionately affect marginalized and underrepresented groups, exacerbating existing health inequities. As we rely increasingly on clinical algorithms to make decisions that impact people’s lives, we must continue to raise awareness about algorithmic bias in healthcare and work towards building a more equitable healthcare system,” stated Dr. Cary.

This groundbreaking symposium aims to bring together esteemed faculty members and experts from various disciplines to address bias resulting from clinical algorithms. The goal is to develop innovative methods and interventions that promote equity in health and healthcare delivery, particularly for marginalized groups. The event will revolve around the theme “Mitigating Bias and Advancing Health Equity in Clinical Algorithms in Healthcare.”

Algorithmic bias carries significant real-world implications that pervade various domains, including employment, housing, and healthcare. While many emerging methods are being employed to comprehend and mitigate algorithmic bias, critical gaps persist in the development and implementation of such vital approaches to advance health equity research and practice solutions.

Duke AI Health has prioritized algorithmic bias in health as a central focus of its mission to foster ethical and equitable data science. “I am thrilled to support Dr. Cary’s leadership in this essential domain and eagerly anticipate the expertise this event will bring together,” remarked Dr. Michael Pencina, Vice Dean for Data Science and Director of AI Health.

The Duke School of Nursing is deeply committed to mitigating the adverse social determinants of health and eradicating health inequities. ” I commend the efforts of Dr. Cary and the team at Duke AI Health in organizing the first Duke Symposium on Algorithmic Equity and Fairness in Health,” said Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Dean and Bessie Baker Distinguished Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing. “This symposium will provide a valuable platform for experts to come together, share knowledge, and develop innovative solutions to advance health equity research and practice.” He went on to say, “I particularly encourage nurses to actively engage in these discussions and contribute to the ongoing efforts to create fair and unbiased algorithms in clinical settings and throughout the community where healthcare is delivered. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in promoting equity and fairness in healthcare.”

Save the date! The symposium is scheduled to take place in person at the Duke School of Nursing from March 13-14, 2024. Additional details and registration information will be announced in fall 2023. To stay informed about the event, we encourage individuals to sign up for the Duke AI Health mailing list and the Duke School of Nursing mailing list.

Media Contact:
Sarah Riddle; Manager, External Communications, Duke University School of Nursing
Phone: (919) 613-9778
Email: sarah.j.riddle@duke.edu

About Duke University School of Nursing
A diverse community of scholars and clinicians, Duke University School of Nursing is advancing health equity and social justice by preparing nurse leaders and innovators with a commitment to improving health outcomes through transformative excellence in education, clinical practice, and nursing science. Ranked as one of the leading nursing schools in the country, Duke School of Nursing focuses on improving the health of communities locally and globally by educating the nursing leaders of tomorrow and taking tangible steps to end health inequity, like the creation of www.DUSONtrailblazer.com, a set of conceptual and applied web resources for harmful social determinants of health mitigation.

About Duke AI Health
Duke AI Health is a pioneering initiative at Duke University that focuses on the ethical and equitable application of data science in healthcare. The mission of Duke AI Health is to drive innovation, research, and collaboration to advance health equity, improve patient outcomes, and transform healthcare delivery.


Flyer displaying a title for the data science fellowship program

Duke AI Health Announces Data Science Fellowship Program Leadership Transition

The Duke AI Health Data Science Fellowship Program is a 2-year training program in data science with direct application for healthcare. Designed for early-career data scientists with strong backgrounds in quantitative disciplines, the program is part of a multidisciplinary, campus-spanning initiative that applies machine learning and quantitative sciences to rich sources of healthcare and administrative data, using the insights gained to improve healthcare delivery, quality of care, and the health of individuals and communities.

Under the leadership of program director Lisa Wruck, PhD, and associate director Silvana Lawvere, PhD, the Data Science Fellowship program enrolled the first fellows in February 2020, and 12 fellows have participated in the program to date.

“Dr. Wruck and Dr. Lawvere have been integral to the success of this program,” said Michael Pencina, PhD, vice dean for data science and director of Duke AI Health. “Their expertise and commitment to the trainees has created a rigorous and supportive environment for them to learn and thrive, and I’m grateful to them for creating the success of the program.”

As Dr. Wruck and Dr. Lawvere step away from the program, the leadership will transition to Matt Engelhard, PhD as the faculty director and Andrew Olson, MPP as the senior operations leader. Dr. Engelhard is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and Mr. Olson is AI Health’s Associate Director, Policy Strategy and Solutions for Health Data Science.

Flyer for the 2023 poster showcase

New video highlights success of the spring 2023 poster showcase

A new video highlights the experience of the Duke Health Data Science Poster Showcase, held April 24, 2023 at the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Medical Education.

Created by Duke videographer Michael Blair with support from the Duke Center for Computational Thinking, the video features interviews by Matt Engelhard, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and faculty director of the AI Health Data Science Fellowship Program; and Hanxue Gu, a PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and a member of the Mazurowski Lab who won the award for Best Computational Thinking Poster.


Composite image featuring photos of 32 speakers

AI Health Spring 2023 Learning Experiences

By Tiffany Torres

The Spring 2023 semester was comprised of 15 AI Health seminars that attracted 866 attendances, including people who attended multiple sessions.

 The AI Health seminar series builds upon the success of our previous “Plus Data Science” learning experiences from 2017 – 2021 under the leadership of Larry Carin, which convened 59 in-person learning experiences and 66 virtual learning experiences.

Since its launch in 2018, +DS has held a cumulative 140 learning experience sessions (both in-person and virtual).

The Spring 2023 semester featured 32 data experts from across multiple areas of interest.

Duke Departments and Schools Represented:

  • Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
  • Duke Health Technology Solutions
  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Family Medicine and Community Health
  • School of Nursing
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • CTSI
  • Radiology
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurosurgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Population Health Sciences
  • Geriatrics
  • Office of Evaluation and Applied Research Partnership

We are looking forward to the Fall 2023 learning experiences, which will begin in September. A list of upcoming events can be found at https://aihealth.duke.edu/events/