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Gabelli School Global Healthcare Innovation Management Center Hosts AI and Healthcare: Beyond the Hype

Featured Events | Feb 29, 2024 |

One-Day Conference Featured Top Experts in Healthcare, Pharma, and AI Who Provided a Fascinating Look into the Future

On February 1, during the “AI and Healthcare: Beyond the Hype” conference hosted by the Gabelli School’s Global Healthcare Innovation Management Center, experts at the forefront of the development and implementation of AI for the healthcare industry convened to share how AI is already having a profound impact on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Presenters from across these industries, the technology and AI fields, and academia shared their insights with members of the audience who ranged from top medical researchers and pharmaceutical executives to venture capitalists and governmental officials.

While the world has been taken by storm through the use of more commonly known AI applications such as ChatGPT, there remains somewhat of a void in what the public knows about the transformational changes that are now occurring in the healthcare and pharma environment due to AI technology. The deeply enlightening presentations delivered by renowned experts at this conference and the panel discussions that followed, went way beyond the hype, to reveal the incredible advances being made that will revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat disease. It was clear that the potential to save millions of lives and millions of dollars in healthcare costs is now a reality due to these amazing new technologies. Using them equitably and safely presents enormous challenges at the operational and policy level, but also opens up ethical dilemmas of an epic proportion, all of which were a part of the discussion during this immersive day-long event.

Dennis Jacobs, Ph.D., provost, senior vice president of academic affairs, and professor of chemistry, Fordham University, delivered opening remarks that set the stage for the day’s discussions on the challenges facing the healthcare industry and the potential for AI to revolutionize our healthcare systems.

Falguni Sen, Ph.D., who spearheaded the event and serves as director of the Global Healthcare Innovation Management Center, and professor of strategy and statistics at the Gabelli School of Business, introduced two areas at the frontier of AI technology integration: drug discovery and healthcare delivery. The presentations that followed were groundbreaking, inspirational, yet anxiety provoking in their revelation of all that has been accomplished, all that is yet to come, and the enormity of the ethical challenges that will need to be addressed.

Navid Asgari, Ph.D., Grose endowed chair in business and associate professor of strategy and statistics, Gabelli School of Business, who took the lead in shaping the content for the event, focused on AI: hype vs reality, where the current narrative is either one of doom and gloom or the miraculous answer to all of the world’s problems. He pointed out that both extremes were misleading and encouraged the audience to reframe the narrative to appreciate the “incredible potential and complex challenges” of AI in healthcare, to keep realistic perspectives with no bias, to ensure critical oversight, and to harness the power of AI to question and refine objectives.

Dr. Roy Barnes, M.B., M.Med., Ph.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, Eikon Therapeutics, who presented on AI in Drug Discovery and Clinical Development,” shared how his company’s super-resolution microscopy allows scientists to tag, track, and observe the movement of protein in live cells. The rapid acquisition of data received from lasers tracking proteins at an exceptional resolution, highly automated and scaled, is continuously improving the algorithm and enables the company to amass a library of millions of compounds—incredibly detailed information that can be used to more quickly and definitively diagnose disease.

Thomas Fuchs, Ph.D., co-director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health at Mount Sinai, dean of artificial intelligence and human health, and professor of computational pathology and computer science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, presented on “Computational Pathology: AI’s Impact on Disease Diagnosis,” which focused on the future of pathology in an AI-driven world, and the impact of AI technology on the entire healthcare pipeline from research and development to implementation and delivery. Although it must be implemented ethically and equitably, Fuchs emphasized “we have a moral obligation” to adopt AI in healthcare.

A panel discussion titled “Advancements in AI-Driven Diagnosis and Treatment,” which was moderated by Navid Asgari, Ph.D., brought several of the speakers together providing a cross section of views across the topic, but ultimately reiterating the need to move forward as quickly as possible, but not without setting moral and ethical ground rules.

Afternoon panels focused on the pharmaceutical industry and the use of AI in the hospital setting. During her presentation on “AI in Pharma: Transforming Drug Development and Marketing,” Andree Bates, Ph.D., founder of Eularis, a company that applies mathematics to overcome pharmaceutical commercial challenges, focused on the ways in which AI will revolution drug development and supply chain management.

Marc Paradis, vice president of data strategy for Northwell Holdings, delivered a presentation on “Data-Driven Healthcare: Transforming Patient Care,” which outlined the fundamental problems healthcare currently faces including a huge aging population that will require specialized care, and a system that is strained with long wait times, inefficient processes, old infrastructure, shrinking financial margins, legacy technologies, and a risk averse culture. He asserted that no amount of improvement in operational efficiency could fix the supply and demand problem, instead calling for a re-imagining/engineering of healthcare through Generative AI.

A panel discussion followed, which was titled “The Future of Data Strategy in Healthcare.” It was moderated by Falguni Sen, Ph.D., and brought together Marc Paradis and Amol Joshi, Ph.D., the Bern Beatty Fellow and an associate professor of strategic management at the Wake Forest University (WFU) School of Business, who focused on the incredible importance of data and the ways in which it will be used to transform the healthcare industry as AI finds its place across business operations, research, and patient care.

The conference closed with a lecture title “Bridging AI and Healthcare: An Innovation Perspective,” featuring Amol Joshi, Ph.D., who concluded the event with a message of hope and excitement as we re-envision healthcare for the future from an innovation perspective.

Written by: Paola Curcio-Kleinman, senior director of marketing and communications, and Michelle Miller, associate director of communications, Fordham University Gabelli School of Business.

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