Cities are facing unprecedented health challenges, from the growing burden of cardiovascular disease, to increased demands on health systems due to rapid urbanization, the constant threat of emerging diseases often hitting urban populations hardest as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of climate change and the global shortage of skilled health workers. At the same time, data and AI are transforming the urban health landscape and providing new opportunities for driving population health and transforming health systems from reactive care systems, to proactive, predictive and even preventive health systems.
AI4HealthyCities Health Equity Network
The AI4HealthyCities Health Equity Network brings together data from health and health-influencing sectors and applies advanced analytics and AI to provide decision makers with insights about the true drivers of cardiovascular health and equity.
We include data from health-influencing sectors because health is influenced more by the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, and age, than by the quality of healthcare they access. The data-driven insights generated by AI4HealthyCities aim at advancing our understanding about how heart health could be improved by modifying some of the underlying social, economic, or environmental determinants of health. This includes factors as diverse as housing, access to healthy food, income, physical exercise or green space, education, professional occupation, pollution, migration, and the influence of structural racism and agism.
These insights can help city authorities make more informed decisions about how to target health resources toward the interventions that positively impact the health of the greatest number of people. And, importantly, narrow existing heart health inequities – challenging the current reality where people living in neighboring zip codes experience drastic differences in heart health and life expectancy. Learnings are disseminated through the AI4HealthyCities summits.
The AI4HealthyCities Health Equity Network was created by the Novartis Foundation and developed in collaboration with Microsoft AI for Health. In 2022, New York became the first city to be announced in the network. Here, the initiative is run in collaboration with the NYU School of Global Public Health; the public hospital system NYC Health + Hospitals; and the city health authorities.
Additional cities will be announced, with each city initiative examining the influence of different factors impacting heart health, such as structural racism, housing, extreme weather, mobility, or education.
In June 2022, the Novartis Foundation and Microsoft AI for Health hosted the AI4HealthyCities Summit in Basel, bringing together city leaders and global experts in AI in health and wellbeing from high-, middle-, and low-income countries.
Topics covered narrowing health inequities in cities; improving urban cardiovascular population health with data and digital; using data to improve decision making in population health; and virtual health and care.