Aside from altering the very fabric of daily life across the United States and the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the many existing shortcomings and inequities of the American healthcare system. The burgeoning public health crisis has resulted in more than 5 million confirmed cases nationwide and close to 163,000 deaths as of the beginning of August. However, some communities and groups have been disproportionately impacted, as a prize-winning analysis by Duke’s Meredith Brown, Matt Feder, and Pouya Mohammadi, presented at this year’s Duke American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest: COVID-19 Virtual Data Challenge.
The Duke University School of Medicine’s Office of Data Science and Information Technology and Duke AI Health partnered to co-host a virtual symposium on Wednesday, June 24, focused on using data science to combat public health crises. In her opening remarks, School of Medicine Dean Mary E. Klotman said that we are in the midst of two pandemics—COVID-19 and racism. The School of Medicine, of which the DCRI is part, will play an active role in driving solutions to both of these pandemics, and data science is one of the key tools that will be used. The symposium, titled “Public Health Crises of 2020: Battling COVID-19 and Disparities with Data,” featured seven DCRI faculty and data science experts from a range of other Duke entities such as Duke Forge and AI Health. The event also featured speakers external to the University, including two keynote speakers from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, as well as speakers from Change Healthcare and Amazon Web Services Data Exchange. The event, which was delivered in rapid-fire five-minute talks, was hosted and moderated by the DCRI’s Michael Pencina, PhD, Vice Dean for Data Science & Information Technology (pictured left). Other DCRI speakers included Jessilyn Dunn, PhD; Benjamin Goldstein, PhD; Ricardo Henao, PhD; Keith Marsolo, PhD; Susanna Naggie, MD; and DCRI fellow Jedrek Wosik, MD.
Creativity and insight were on display as a panel of judges announced the winners of the Duke ASA DataFest: COVID-19 Virtual Data Challenge on May 5th. The contest, which took place from April 8th through April 22nd, encouraged Duke students to use data science to explore unique effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily life and different aspects of the social fabric of the United States. Contest participants, working alone or in teams, were prompted to use publicly available data resources to gain insights into the cultural and societal impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The entries were judged by a panel of 15 experts drawn from academia and industry, with prizes awarded in categories that included “Most creative topic or data set”; “Best Visualizations”; “Best Interactive Dashboard”; “Best Insight”; and a “Judges’ Pick” award to recognize achievement outside of the other categories.
BLOG: “During the onset of an event such as the one we’re now experiencing, resilience is the key priority. Secure your systems and protect your family and business. Remember, cybercrime spreads just as easily from personal devices to work devices as viruses do between people. Biodefense may have previously been considered the domain of the military and antiterrorism experts, but all of us now have a potential role to play. Please consider lending your time and expertise.” – Eric D. Perakslis, PhD
BLOG: “As we advance into the era of learning health systems, we need to systematize a process for how clinicians and data scientists can work together to solve important problems with EHR data.” – Andrew Olson, MPP, and Scott Kollins, PhD
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that while different wearable technologies, like smart watches and fitness trackers, can accurately measure heart rate across a variety of skin tones, the accuracy between devices begins to vary wildly when they measure heart rate during different types of everyday activities. The study results appear online on February 10 in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine.
In collaboration with Duke AI Health and Duke Forge, the Duke Department of Medicine is seeking proposals for research in health data science. This request for proposals is designed to fulfill two missions: 1) to grow Department of Medicine faculty involvement in health data science; and 2) to support research that will then be used to improve the quality of care for patients at Duke Health.
The Department is particularly interested in proposals that utilize data from the Duke University Health System. We plan to fund several 1-year awards.
The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended to 5:00 PM Eastern time, Thursday, April 30th, 2020.
Duke Forge, in collaboration with Duke AI Health, announces a new scholarship opportunity for research at the intersection of quantitative science and health. This program is open to postdoctoral researchers in quantitative science programs. This program funds innovative, strategic, and creative researchers to develop and apply new analytical tools to solve challenges in human health and the delivery of healthcare. Successful applicants will show evidence of outstanding research ability and strong interest in health data science.
Duke Vice President for Research Lawrence Carin, PhD, and Forge Co-Director Erich Huang, MD, PhD, recently introduced AI Health, Duke’s new multidisciplinary, campus-spanning organization dedicated to enabling research into applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare, and to effectively translating that research into techniques and technologies that will improve health outcomes for patients and communities. AI Health will also have a strong presence in education and workforce development as it builds training programs to equip students, quantitative scientists, and clinicians for a future that will increasingly be shaped by data science.