MIT Jameel Clinic hosts regional convening on AI and healthcare in Dubai in partnership with UAE Artificial Intelligence Office

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Jameel Clinic, the epicentre of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), hosted today a one-day conference titled ‘AI Cures MENASA: Clinical AI and data solutions for health’, in partnership with the UAE Artificial Intelligence Office, Community Jameel, and Wellcome. Held at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, the conference was attended by H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, and brought together pioneers in AI and health from the Jameel Clinic, including MacArthur ‘genius grant’ Fellows Professor Regina Barzilay and Professor Dina Katabi, Dr Adam Yala and Dr Shrooq Alsenan, a Jameel Clinic research fellow from Saudi Arabia, together with representatives from major hospitals and public health agencies across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region. The conference marks the first international venture of ‘AI Cures’, the Jameel Clinic’s platform for collaboration that launched in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Climate change, lengthening life expectancy, and sedentary lifestyles are impacting hospitals and public health sectors across the MENASA region due to a rise in non-communicable diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes as well as neurodegenerative diseases. The rise of AI in healthcare presents a powerful opportunity to tackle these challenges and enable better patient outcomes, yet the gap between research in the field and real-world implementation across hospitals continues to grow. Building a robust coalition of researchers, clinicians, hospitals, and public health actors is vital to realising the benefits of major advances in AI in the detection and treatment of diseases — not just in the MENASA region, but around the world.

The Jameel Clinic, co-founded by MIT and Community Jameel in 2018, brings together computer scientists, biologists and clinicians to develop new tools to tackle health challenges. Since its launch, the Jameel Clinic team has used deep learning techniques to discover Halicin, the first new antibiotic in three decades, which is  capable of killing around 35 deadly bacteria including antimicrobial resistant tuberculosis and the superbug C. difficile. The Jameel Clinic also developed Mirai, a machine learning algorithm that predicts breast cancer more than three years earlier than current approaches and is equally effective across different races and ethnicities, a major advance for health equity.

Consistent with the Jameel Clinic’s mission to ensure these new tools are rolled out around the world, especially to countries with more fragile public health systems and to at-risk communities, the ‘AI Cures MENASA’ conference will serve as a launch pad for the international expansion of the Jameel Clinic AI Hospital Network, a new initiative supported by the Jameel Clinic and Wellcome that is building partnerships with hospitals to deploy and develop new AI tools in clinical settings, with the aim of saving lives.

Fady Jameel, vice chairman of Community Jameel, said: “We are excited to be able to help bring together such an inspiring gathering of scientists, policymakers, public health officials and hospital leaders at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. The work of the Jameel Clinic has the potential to transform healthcare for millions of people around the world, and we are excited to see the Jameel Clinic AI Hospital Network expanding in the MENASA region and rolling out clinical AI tools around the world for an equitable impact for all.”

Professor Regina Barzilay, AI faculty lead at the Jameel Clinic, said: “Ensuring that the cutting-edge clinical AI research being done at MIT can be utilized in diverse clinical settings is critical to our mission at the Jameel Clinic. We look forward to combining the expertise of Jameel Clinic researchers with the expertise of local clinicians and public health officials in the MENASA region to maximize the impact of clinical AI tools on patient lives.”

Tariq Khokhar, head of data for science & health at Wellcome, said: “AI tools have an exciting role to play in transforming healthcare for patients around the world and advancing health research. But first, researchers, policymakers, clinicians and healthcare managers must work together to rigorously test them in diverse settings, so we know they work for different people and under different circumstances. This will ensure they’re safe for everyone and maximise their potentially life-saving potential.”

The Jameel Clinic AI Hospital Network aims to roll out clinical AI tools at 35 hospitals across eight countries, including Saudi Arabia, India and Taiwan. With the significant breakthroughs in clinical AI technologies we have witnessed in the past decade across all areas of clinical care, the networks seeks to ensure that new healthcare technologies are deployed equitably, particularly across low and middle income countries, in order to improve the quality of care and save lives.

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