Mount Mary University Selected for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health Equity Initiative​​

Mount Mary University Selected for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health Equity Initiative​​Mount Mary University was recently selected as a funding recipient by the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health Equity Initiative​ that seeks to reduce inequities in healthcare outcomes among underserved populations across the globe.

With these AWS funds Mount Mary has created the Infuse Project. It began in early 2024 and will last for one year, connecting students and faculty from the university's occupational therapy and user experience (UX) design programs with innovative, cloud-based technology, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) and data collection systems provided by AWS. Additionally, classes will have access to a team of expert consultants who will provide guidance throughout the process.

The goal of the project is to develop new patient experiences in health screening and delivery, with a focus on culturally sensitive and inclusive care. The students will also examine the socioeconomic factors that play a role in patient outcomes, particularly among those left on the medical system's margins.

"Culturally sensitive care has been shown to improve health outcomes," says Dr. Kari Inda, professor and chair of the occupational therapy department at Mount Mary. "Understanding the background and needs of each patient is central to the therapeutic experience. This project will enable OT students to use artificial intelligence solutions to bridge cultural divides and collaboratively create healthcare plans that empower patients to improve their health."

The AWS Health Equity Initiative cited the unique nature of the university's proposal –including a focus on care delivery through a culturally responsive lens.

This project is connected to Mount Mary's new Institute for the Advancement of Women and Children, announced by university president Dr. Isabelle Cherney last year. The Institute seeks, among other goals, to improve quality of life indicators among historically marginalized and vulnerable populations. The Institute includes four Centers of Excellence for women's health and wellness, women's access and advancement in technology, children's rights, and women's leadership. "This award is an amazing opportunity for our students to become co-creators of a more equitable healthcare delivery. This project officially opens our Centers for the Advancement of Women in Technology and the Center for Women's Health and Wellness," said President Cherney.

The collaboration with AWS provides the opportunity to scale the final product developed by the classes and potentially make it available to a wider community of healthcare providers. "This project is closely aligned with our mission," shared Bob Schwartz, Mount Mary's chief transformation and innovation officer. "We're also confident the experience will prepare our diverse young women for practice in a rapidly accelerating digital environment, allowing them to be professionally competitive in the future."