NewsDoris Duke Foundation Pledges $10M To Reform Medical Algorithms

Doris Duke Foundation Pledges $10M To Reform Medical Algorithms

The Doris Duke Foundation has a mission to “[support] the well-being of people and the planet for a more creative, equitable and sustainable future,” according to its website. 

“Race is not a biological proxy,” said the foundation’s incoming chief health equity officer, Joseph Wright. “Race is a social construct and has no place being embedded in a clinical guideline like this.” 

Sindy Escobar Alvarez, program director for medical research at the Doris Duke Foundation, said the foundation’s involvement is a result of the limited research that has been done to examine the impact and composition of “race-aware” algorithms. 
Four national medical organizations and one New York City-based coalition will receive funding: The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Heart Association, The American Society of Hematology, The Coalition to End Racism in Clinical Algorithms (New York), and The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The funding will include grants ranging from $1.36 million to $3.4 million to research the use of medical algorithms in hospitals with the ultimate goal of reforming and creating guidelines for these tools that consider race. 

Other professionals who are not receiving funding shared insight on the use of algorithms. Nwamaka Eneanya, nephrologist and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “The inequities of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd really served as catalyst to change things.”

Some organizations that received funding, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, have begun to update their guidelines. However, some medical-society members support keeping race in clinical equations, and others believe finding an alternative for medical algorithms may be more beneficial.

Source: Black Enterprise

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