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IVAC Participates at Global Digital Health Forum

Rose Weeks participates in panel discussion at Global Digital Health Forum

IVAC faculty and students joined colleagues this month at the Global Digital Health Forum in Bethesda, MD. The forum is the leading public health industry networking and relationship-building opportunity for tech innovators, donors, researchers, government representatives, and implementing organizations working in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Dr. Smisha Agarwal, an Associate Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, led a standing-room-only panel discussion on the use of generative AI in healthcare settings with participants from Jacaranda Health, REACH, and IDInsight. Panelists spoke about how non-generative large language models help to quickly address misinformation and scale national outreach efforts with instantly tailored outreach materials, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. Challenges include the need for secure, affordable cloud storage and appropriate training data on local languages. When it comes to generative AI, participants emphasized the need for guardrails to ensure safety without stifling innovation.
  • Padmini Vishwanath presented on behalf of the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) scorecard team, sharing results from key informant interviews assessing stakeholder views on the IA2030 dashboard and implications for the tool’s ability to enhance performance and accountability. The study, which was supported by MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership and the WHO, underlines the need for engagement with country- and regional-level stakeholders early in the process of developing a data visualization tool to understand their data, policy, and advocacy needs.
  • IVAC Research Associate Rose Weeks presented a study that described conversations with the AI-powered Vaccine Information Resource Assistant (VIRA) chatbot during the pandemic, characterizing users’ interests and misinformation among over 50,000 user comments. Insights from the topic modeling study, which is not yet published, will contribute to a deeper understanding of the potential benefits and challenges associated with utilizing chatbots to promote community-aligned public health messaging and encourage behavior change.