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ORAU partners with Meharry to provide leadership in health equity and researcher diversity for new NIH consortium

ORAU partners with Meharry to provide leadership in health equity and researcher diversity for new NIH consortium

Oak Ridge, Tenn.—Meharry Medical College, partnering with ORAU, was recently named by the National Institutes of Health as co-lead of the southeast regional hub of NIH’s new Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Research Diversity, or AIM AHEAD.

AIM AHEAD will be developed as a large-scale research consortium focused on enhancing inclusivity of health data and promoting researcher diversity in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Specifically, the consortium will focus in four core areas: leadership, data science training, infrastructure, and data and research. Meharry and ORAU will support the leadership core. 

Meharry will be responsible for recruiting and helping build this consortium of partners to increase the participation and engagement of the researchers and communities that are currently underrepresented in AI/ML modeling and applications through mutually beneficial partnerships. It also will provide training on how to access the data for users, promote publication of diverse research, and more. Meharry selected ORAU as a partner in supporting these needs because of its extensive university consortium including many historically black colleges and universities/minority education institutions in the Southeast, its significant experience recruiting from HBCUs/MEIs, and its strong project management experience.

“ORAU was proud to work closely with the Meharry proposal team, and we look forward to supporting the AIM AHEAD southeast hub by sharing our experience with recruitment strategies and stakeholder engagement,” said Desmond Stubbs, ORAU director of diversity initiatives. “We have a strong background in engaging HBCUs/MEIs and bringing them to the table in large contract opportunities such as these with NIH, and we want to leverage that in supporting Meharry in their leadership and recruiting in this program.”

Because of its track record with HBCU engagement, ORAU was also recently selected to participate in the NIH 2021 Path to Excellence and Innovation Initiative 2.0 cohort, which links HBCUs with contracting opportunities and other collaborations with small businesses.

Meharry is a member and strong university partner in ORAU’s Consortium, and will be supporting the University of North Texas Health Science Center, which has been named by the NIH to lead the coordinating center for AIM AHEAD. Other ORAU Consortium member universities that are serving as AIM AHEAD partners due to their core missions to serve underrepresented or underserved groups impacted by health disparities include Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Colorado, University of Houston, and Vanderbilt University.

About ORAU

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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