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UNTHSC receives $50 million grant to help rectify health disparities

8 Oct 2021 9:35 PM | Stacy Hollingsworth (Administrator)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a $50 million award to the University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC) at Fort Worth to lead the coordinating center for the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity, or AIM-AHEAD, program.

HSC will lead the multi-institutional coordinating center, which brings together experts in community engagement, artificial intelligence/machine learning, health equity research, data science training and data infrastructure.

AIM-AHEAD was created to close the gaps in the artificial intelligence/machine learning field, which currently lacks diversity in its researchers and in data, including electronic health records. These gaps pose a risk of creating and continuing harmful biases in how artificial intelligence/machine learning is used, how algorithms are developed and trained, and how findings are interpreted. These gaps can lead to continued health disparities and inequities for underrepresented communities.

“This consortium will bring together research institutions, minority-serving institutions, private sector and community organizations in mutually beneficial, coordinated and trusted partnerships to enhance the participation and representation of researchers and communities currently underrepresented in the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha, regents professor and vice president who will lead the AIM-AHEAD Coordinating Center. “Through this consortium we will harness the benefits of this technology to address health disparities in our communities.”

The initial phase of the project runs through Sept. 16, 2023. The contract amount for two years is $100 million, with future funding based on federal budget allocation.

Creating opportunities for all in Fort Worth

Fort Worth is continually working to create opportunities for all community members. The city is eager to be part of a national team working to build health equity.

“The City of Fort Worth is honored to partner with HSC and NIH on this important work as we continue to break down barriers that create health disparities,” said Mayor Mattie Parker. “This is meaningful work that supports our mission of creating opportunity for all in Fort Worth regardless of ZIP code. We look forward to this opportunity to help drive meaningful change and create solutions around health inequities and disparities in our neighborhoods.”

AIM-AHEAD strives to eliminate harmful biases that exist in algorithms, training and the interpretation of data while engaging diverse scientists, including those from underrepresented groups.

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