Notre Dame partners with Accenture to grow health equity data and analytics to improve health care for vulnerable populations

Author: Sue Ryan

ND Experts

Nitesh Chawla

Nitesh Chawla

Computer Science and Engineering

University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame

Identifying and addressing community health and well-being obstacles is a challenge typically addressed in silos of local government, hospital systems or community organizations, with narrow interventions such as improved access to nutritious food or providing better transportation for residents to medical facilities.

The University of Notre Dame’s Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society is collaborating with campus and community partners to develop a more holistic approach to addressing such problems through its new Health Equity Data Lab.

With the support of a gift from Accenture, the first undertaking for the lab is the Accenture Health Equity Data project, led by Nitesh Chawla, the institute’s founding director and the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Accenture has also committed to a fundraising campaign with its employees and alumni, including those who have ties to Notre Dame, over a three-year period.

The Accenture Health Equity Data project will leverage the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand and aim to solve the most intransigent healthcare challenges, specifically at the intersection of medical and social care.

“The Accenture Health Equity Data gift will allow us to build a comprehensive framework to identify where gaps exist for underserved communities when trying to improve health and well-being,” Chawla said. “An understanding of these gaps can illuminate the sources of disparities that can be followed up by collaboratively developing clinical, behavioral, social and/or policy interventions that target these challenges.

“We are extremely grateful for Accenture’s support,” he continued. “We hope to develop a framework for co-creation and co-innovation to advance solutions to tackle health disparities challenges, including but not limited to responsible AI for health, an annual health equity data index and adding precision to social determinants of health actions. Our partnership with Accenture is a perfect pairing for our organizations to tackle such problems given the Lucy Institute’s mission to advance data innovations that  help transform society and individual lives.”

The Accenture Health Equity Data project will convene a business forum of leaders from academics, government, corporations and non-governmental organizations to discuss specific community health care inequities and solutions from all facets.

Dr. Ankoor Shah, Accenture’s health equity lead, said, “We are proud to support this critical initiative because we believe technology, in concert with academic community and corporate partnerships, is the catalyst to actionably reduce disparities in healthcare access, experience and ultimately outcomes.”

Michele Martin, Accenture’s health industry managing director and sponsor of the program added, “This is an important nexus of impactful, data-driven research and corporate application designed to improve the communities that we serve.”