March 11, 2020

Harnessing AI to help people with disabilities

Regenstrief, Harvard University and Stanford School of Medicine co-sponsoring conference

Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the lives of people with disabilities and dependencies, but it can also perpetuate discriminatory biases and cause unintended harm. Regenstrief Institute, Harvard University and Stanford University School of Medicine are co-sponsoring a conference to explore the best practices to harness the potential of AI to serve those with disabilities and dependencies.

“Artificial Intelligence and Disability/Dependency: Equity, Access, and Interdependence,” is scheduled for March 24 and will highlight the challenges and opportunities to implement AI technologies to improve lives. For example, smart devices can support people with physical disabilities, but the technology can have negative impacts as well. AI outputs have the potential to exacerbate discriminatory biases present in the data used to create and train the technology.

Panels featuring legal scholars, ethicists, AI developers, clinicians and people living with disabilities and dependencies will discuss best practices and guidelines for stakeholders, articulating clear criteria for developers and medical providers who want to use AI technology.

Regenstrief Vice President for Research Development Eneida Mendonca, M.D., PhD, helped to organize this conference. Dr. Mendonca also is a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Eneida Mendonca, Regenstrief Institute, VP for Research Development

“There is an abundance of opportunities to leverage AI to improve the lives of people with disabilities and dependencies, as well as those who care for them,” said Dr. Mendonca, an expert in natural language processing and machine learning. “However, these tools do have the potential to create unintended consequences. We must be purposeful in their creation and implementation and continue to monitor outcomes. This conference is an opportunity to proactively create guidance in this area.”

Regenstrief Researcher Noll Campbell, PharmD, is participating in the conference’s panel on AI and disability. Dr. Campbell, also an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Purdue University College of Pharmacy, is a geriatric pharmacotherapy expert. He will share his knowledge on the unique needs of cognitively impaired older adults and how AI methods may or may not be valuable to help interpret data from this population.

Microsoft AI for Good Research Lab Director of Health Strategy Geralyn Miller will deliver the keynote address.

Due to precautions related to the coronavirus, the conference is only available online. Registration is free and open to the public.

Register here.

It is sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School; the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD); the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University; the Regenstrief Institute; and the Presence at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Support is also provided by the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund at Harvard University.

About Regenstrief Institute

Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its researchers are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

Regenstrief Institute is celebrating 50 years of healthcare innovation. Sam Regenstrief, a successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

Eneida Mendonca, M.D., PhD

In addition to serving as vice president for research development and as a research scientist at Regenstrief Institute, Eneida Mendonca, M.D., PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and professor of biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine. She is currently interim director of the Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics at Regenstrief Institute.

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