The role of technology in scaling health equity | HLTH 2022 | Google Health

The role of technology in scaling health equity | HLTH 2022 | Google Health

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Ivor: Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming and welcome to our next session. I am Dr. Ivor Horn. I am Chief Health Equity Officer here at Google. I am really excited to have these amazing panelists with me today to join in this conversation.

I'm going to have them introduce themselves, and then we will jump into our discussion. So-- Joneigh: Yeah, it's really exciting to be here today. My name is Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Vice President Chief Health Equity officer of CVS Health, practicing ER doctor, and spent the better part of the past decade leading what ended up being mostly public health crises in local and state health departments. Deonta: All right.

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Deonta Wortham. I am the Chief of Staff and Head of Strategy at

Our organization is focused on centering equity across the digital health space. And we're working with innovators within digital health to ensure that they have the resources, the reach, and the recognition that they need to create an equitable future for all. Del: And last, but not least, Del Smith, co-founder and CEO of Acclinate. We are a digital health company that specializes in accessing and engaging communities of color so they can make informed health decisions and specifically, decisions around clinical trial participation. I am an academic by trade. I spent 13 years in higher ed as a business school professor and six and 1/2 as a dean of a business school-- an HBCU-- as well.

Prior to that, spent time working for companies like McKesson and US Oncology in my previous year. So happy to be here. Ivor: Thank you. I am honored to be getting a chance to talk to this group. So in September, we had our second annual Google Health Equity Summit.

And the theme of that summit was building trust to scale impact in a growing health ecosystem. And what you'll notice here is on this panel, we have people from different parts of the health equity ecosystem to have this conversation. Because you'll begin to hear the theme of why it's important that we work together in partnership and collaboration.

You've heard that theme throughout these sessions today. So I want to emphasize that you're going to continue to hear that today. So in this session, we're going to particularly dive a little bit deeper into some of the conversations that we had during the Health Equity Summit. If you're curious about what we talked about in the Health Equity Summit, please go to, click on health equity, and you can watch it yourself. And we're going to discuss the role that technology can play in scaling health equity and earning trust with communities.

So I want to start with you, Dr. Khaldun. Can you start us off telling us a little bit about your work at CVS in health equity and what you're doing in the health equity space? Joneigh: Absolutely. So I've been in my role for about a year, and it's just been an amazing, amazing experience.

And I also say that health equity at CVS Health-- it did not start in October of 2021 when I got there, right. I mean, even going back to 20-- 2002, I believe-- when Jack Rowe, president of Aetna at the time, started collecting race and ethnicity data. And it was like, way ahead of his time. He got a lot of pushback, but he was doing that over two decades ago-- Ivor: That's right. Joneigh: -right.

Tobacco, taking tobacco out of the stores, our vaccine work. So absolutely, you know, health equity is kind of already embedded in what we do at CVS Health. So we're aligning our strategy really around some really internal kind of foundational actions and also some external kind of partnerships. So the first one is really-- think about our 320,000 colleagues who work for CVS Health.

How can we make sure we leverage all of their strengths, make sure they have the tools, the tactics, the knowledge to understand what health disparities are? And then, they can actually impact health disparities in their everyday work. We're also implementing a business-impact assessment tool for health equity. How are you thinking about your processes, your policies all the way from front store to your claims, how we're working in the pharmacy. How are we really evaluating our data and our policies? We're also leveraging data, so creating data dashboards. We actually understand by race, ethnicity with more granularity than those five boxes that we all kind of are forced to put ourselves into-- language, sexual orientation, et cetera-- and really thinking about how do we leverage data to be able to have impacts on our communities.

And then, finally, we're focusing on women's health, mental health, and heart health, as far as where we want to go deep and really improve outcomes for the communities that we serve. Ivor: I think what's really wonderful about the thing you're talking about-- you're talking about your employees. You're talking about your role as a payer, talking about your work that you do in the community.

Deonta, you've been doing a little bit of your-- has been doing some work with us with Fitbit. I want to hear a little bit more about that. But can you talk a little bit about what it means to bring technology to health equity, but also what it means to bring health equity to technology around the working venue? Deonta: It's such a good question, and I feel like all of us could layer on things. I'll start us off. I would say bringing health equity to technology-- for us, it's really around thinking where are opportunities for us to engage with communities and populations where there is an outsized need, impact, and opportunity to both think about health outcomes for folks that have been underserved, but then also where there are unique areas for innovation to take place and to sprout as well. What's interesting on the flip side of that-- when you think about ensuring that technology is being undergirded by equitable principles-- is thinking about the different ways in which folks can start to use data from community members and also think about ways that that can be filtered into the development process from problem identification all the way down to solution assessment.

I'll talk about the work that right now we're doing with Google, which is thinking about where digital health is and is not reaching certain populations. The project is exploring a few really exciting questions. The first of which is the question of what populations does digital health reach currently? Secondly, what are the communities that these innovations are not reaching? What are the specific challenges and needs that those communities face? And then lastly, as you think about developing solutions for them, how do you think about ways to build enduring trust among those communities through both learning partnerships and collaboration? As we've dived into those questions, what we've found is a few things. Number one, we think about who's using digital health products. We found that there are some communities that are adopting digital health products at a higher rate than others.

And, of course, there are folks that are communities that we typically look to and that we think of when we think about digital health products-- folks that are high-income users, folks that are younger, that are millennials. But there're also folks that come from communities that are surprising, including transgender folks and Black-identifying individuals-- transgender folks using digital health products at a rate that's five times higher than folks that do not identify as transgender individuals and Black folks at nearly 1.4 times higher than white-identifying folks. What does that mean? It means that there is an express demand among these populations that we can begin to explore and dive into. But it also means that there's an opportunity to understand what are the things that need to be in place to ensure that these solutions are meeting their needs and also are meeting the satisfaction of these individual as well. Ivor: I think what's really powerful about the data and the information that you're sharing is if we look more broadly, we get one perspective.

But when we dig deeper, like, you get the nuance and the specificity of the information and the detail to begin to answer different questions and address different needs in different ways. Del, I want to talk a little bit about-- first, I want you to tell us about Acclinate. Tell us about what you do because the work that you do and the mission of the company is really powerful, and this is a startup. And talk a little bit about how you use technology in the work that you do and how that connects with health equity. Del: Sure.

Well, if you look at the US population as the lens, we know that the US population is about 42% racial and ethnic minority and growing, according to the latest Census Bureau. But if we look at clinical trial participations, right-- the process that we use to get much needed drugs to market-- only about 5% of clinical trial participants are identified as African-American or Black, about 1% as Latinx. And, of course, when we start talking about Native American populations and other Indigenous populations, that percentage is even lower.

And that's problematic because we don't know if drugs work the same for everybody in the process. We all know that mistrust is one of the factors that contributes to that. So what we decided to do as a company is to really challenge the industry. Instead of saying, hey, Dr. Horn, you don't know me, but would you like to be part of a clinical trial, which we know that many of our people say I'm not sure. And for communities of color, the answer is like hell, no.

They may not say it out loud. Our approach is to say Dr. Horn, would you like to learn more about health-related issues that might be of importance to you or a family member? And it's through that process that we have engagement with Dr. Horne, sustained engagement. And that sustained engagement does two things for us-- builds trust and it gathers data.

And it's that trust in that data that we use on our backend platform called e-DICT, which stands for enhanced diversity in clinical trials, which uses predictive analytics to say when is the most appropriate time to present a opportunity to take part in the trial to Dr. Horne And that's what we built. So in our front end, our engagement tool is called NOWINCLUDED. For all of those that have your phone and you're multitasking, feel free to jump over to And that is our method for engagement with our communities of color.

It is a central trusted place where our communities of color go to get information as tailored to their specific needs. And so just earlier today, we had a lupus webinar. We had individuals that are experiencing lupus get on and talk about their experience-- highly, highly engaging content. As the conversation about YouTube Health was there, I was sending it to my team, saying we've got to integrate this into our platform as well too. But it is really about trying to overcome the issue of trust and then about utilizing the data.

And the last thing I'll say is it was interesting because I was walking to this room, I was passing one of the companies next to us, which used to be who we held our platform on-- our data on-- and we moved over. We are part of Google for Black Founders a year ago. And Google actually made a small investment in Atlanta as well too and allowed us to utilize the platform to move over. And it has been fantastic for our product development team and our ability to take on this large amounts of data and to do the type of predictive analytics that we need and do it in a way where we don't exasperate some of the health inequalities and inequities that AI has the ability to do. So when we had the conversations with Google-- like, how do we not just have the children run rampant, AI, and exasperating these issues-- they were very receptive to saying you're absolutely right. Let's figure out how we can look at these models and make sure that we're not creating more problems than we have currently today.

So we appreciate that. Ivor: Thank you so much. I don't know if many people know about Google for Startups. How did you hear about Google for Startups? Del: Well, when you're in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and you're looking for every resource or benefit you can find, right, if someone-- and this one specific individual Jason Horn, who was actually over-- or Jason Scott, I think he's named, Jason Scott who was over that, I'm sorry-- kind of reached out to us and said, hey, I think this is something you need to be part of.

They had a first cohort. It was a second cohort. And it was just an opportunity really to be around individuals that are trying to make an impact and try to make a change-- a social impact change-- utilizing technology and the process.

So it was a great accelerator experience. The resources provided, both in terms of expertise and talent and technical credits, as well as money, was very helpful to where we are today. Ivor: Thank you for that. You talked about scaling. And scaling is so important. We talk a lot about innovation moves at the speed of trust.

And so I want to talk about trust because you talked a lot about in the work that you do and the foundation of how you think about the work that you do at Acclinate. And it's so important for us. We know from technology, technology can support us addressing health equities and reducing health disparities.

But it can also potentially worsen them, and it can also to break down that trust and break down those relationships. Really, at Google, we really think about and really emphasize the importance of privacy, of security, and reliability. You've heard some conversations.

For those of you who've been in the room earlier-- and the work that we do around trust and around building products that can scale, but building them in a way that is reliable and safe and secure. For us, technology is really about partnerships. We talked a lot about that. But to do-- to build trust and a key component of that scalability and innovation is what we do around trust. We talked a lot about information as a determinant of health, making information accessible and authentic. We talked a little bit about that as well.

And a core of that is improving resources and platforms that people feel like they can trust, and they're-- part of that is building trusting relationships and partnerships and collaboration. So one of the things that I want to talk to you all is you're thinking about the work that you do. How do you-- and you're thinking about the use of technology and the importance of technology in scaling your efforts. What are the things that you think about as it relates to the impact of building trust and that connection with health equity? How do you-- how do you take that in consideration? Joneigh? Joneigh: Yeah, I would say you know trust is critically important. I mean you know spent the better part of the past decade for me working in public health departments.

If you don't kind of have that trust of the community, you can't do your work. And so I would just say at CVS, we vaccinated over 73 million people since vaccines became available for the pandemic. And that is because we have trust, right. 85% of Americans are within 10 miles of a CVS Health store. We have an app. I'll bet you a lot of you in this room have the CVS Health app.

You probably scheduled your test or your vaccine on it, right. We have pharmacists. People are more likely to go to their pharmacist in any given month than they are to their own private physician. So really leveraging-- what am I talking about-- being in communities, right, having a long-term relationship. Not just showing up when the crisis hits, but people already knowing you, understanding who you are, and understanding that they can trust you and the services that you provide.

So I think that's really, really important. Ivor: Thank you. I want to talk a little bit, Deonta, and talk about the innovators that you all work with and the role that innovators play in building that trusting relationship and serving as that bridge with communities. And like, we talk about that last mile and the people who are doing the work and the boots on the ground.

You want to talk a little bit about the work you all are doing at Rock Health? Deonta: Most definitely. We, in September, launched an initiative called the equitable investments initiative to support underrepresented and underfunded founders in this space. And one of the things that we've been honing in on, as we think about the innovators that we're working with, are two concepts, the first of which is proximity. These are entrepreneurs that have deep intimate relationships with the communities that they're developing solutions for and have deep awareness of the lived realities of the end users that they're developing products for as well. And then also using lived experience that input from communities as a core factor and driver for not only how they're developing their solutions, but also how they're thinking about iterating on them over time and saying lived experience and input from communities is an invaluable data point that we should be capturing.

Like I said before, from problem identification all the way down through solution development. And as we think about the deployment of resources to innovators that are developing solutions in this space, investors should also be saying how is the voice of the customer? How is the voice of the end user informing, influencing, and directing the growth and trajectory of this innovation as well? It's one of the things that allows us to turn to community members and say that your voice, your aspirations are here. It also, quite frankly, allows innovators to ensure that they have sustainable products that actually address the needs of folks over time. Ivor: Yeah, thanks. Dell, we've talked a lot about in our conversations about the core essence of trust and the importance of trust in the work that you do and how you not only think about the work that you're doing with the community and how important sustaining and maintaining that trust is, but also who you partner with and who you collaborate with. And I mean, as a startup founder, understanding, doing that work, and what it means for you to think about how you scale a company in the space-- can you talk a little bit about that? Del: Yeah, absolutely.

So trust is at the heart of everything we do. I mean, we're dealing in an industry where, as I mentioned, so much of the issue and the root of the problem stems from mistrust. Our company is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. We've got employees. We're about an hour away from Tuskegee. We've got employees that grew up in Tuskegee, right.

And it's a part of what we do Deonta talked about lived experience. When we look at our team, this is a for us bias type of movement, and we don't shy away from that because that's what we do. I know when we hired our chief medical lead away from a major pharmaceutical company-- well, when she came to us from a major pharmaceutical company. Make sure we get that clear.

It sounds like somebody's taking notes over here. You know, the issue was, you know, she was that watchdog in the company, always trying to identify times when issues of violations of trust could come up. And so we love having her on part of our team because as we're doing what we're doing, right, we have that trust. Like, if anyone in our company sees that anything that we're doing has the potential to violate trust or have a perception of-- like, they're raising our hand, saying we can't do that.

And part of that has to do with sometimes we're dealing with the industry that says, all right, hey, you guys have-- you're the trusted source to this entity that we don't have access to. Get this data for us. Give us the data. And we say we can't hand over data to you. That's not the way we operate, right.

We're that trusted intermediary. We can work with you. We can look at aggregated data, but we can't do that. And so it's really important, And even down to our round-- we just did a seed round of finding financing. And we had to turn down a lot of investors who, after several meetings, I didn't hear the word mission and purpose one time out of them.

And I had to say, listen, I would love to have your money, but at this stage, it's so important that we ensure that even our investors around the table are leaning into this idea that sometimes they're going to make decisions that aren't the most economic decision that we need to be making in terms of a basis of returns. But it's what we need to do in terms of maintaining that level of trust. Because, again, that is our competitive advantage. And if we lose that, then essentially we've lost the value of our company. Ivor: Yeah, that essence and the core of the foundation of what you're building, understanding what you're building on, and the importance of that. Joneigh, you have multiple audiences as part of the work that you do.

And how do you think about like, with each of those audiences, like, the trust-- establishing the trust, integrating technology, where technology can break down for you-- is part of that work? Joneigh: You know, I think when people are-- when we're asking folks for data or we're utilizing technology, people want to know OK, why are you collecting this? What are you going to do with it? Person: Mic Joneigh: Oops, sorry. Why are you collecting this data? Excuse me, I'm used to having a conversation. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's like my friend here. I'm sorry about that. Ivor: We're just up here talking.

Joneigh: Thank you. So but people want to know like, why are you collecting this data, right? What are you going to do with it? How is it actually going to improve or impact or make worse, quite frankly, worsen my health? And then, who else is going to have access to it? So when we're thinking about how we are leveraging technology and data at CVS Health, those are kind of the questions that we think about. So we're actually working with Google Cloud, right, leveraging your resources to again, create those data dashboards that I talked about earlier so we understand how people are experiencing health and health care.

We also have a digital first-- not digital only-- but digital first strategy. So whoever you are, if you're interacting with our services, we're going to try to meet you where you are and be simple when it comes to you being able to access health care services. But if digital is not what you need, we also have that in-person footprint as well.

And we're also partnering with Google as well on some of our AI work, again, making sure we're not worsening disparities and inequities with the data that we have. Ivor: Yeah, I think this, you know, this speaks to the importance of who you're in relationship with and who you're partnering with and being-- we often say equity by design. And it has to be intentional as part of the work that we do.

I also want to talk about how technology can enable innovation. We're here at the Health Innovation Conference and HLTH, and so I want to talk about how the role that technology can play in advancing innovation. We recently announced our health equity research initiative because we feel like part of our responsibility as Google is to contribute to the innovation in this space. And oftentimes we know-- for those of us who've been doing health equity for a long time, I'm a researcher by training-- getting funding for research to do this work and do health equity work, especially when it's early stage cutting-edge research, we actually know that it's much harder for researchers to get that funding.

And so for us, our task in a really small way-- because I think of us as a small part of this broader ecosystem-- is to seed and support that work. And so we announced our research initiative in partnership with our colleagues within Google, with Fitbit, with Cloud, and with our team with their partner in Fitabase, and we were building on work that Fitbit had done previously. And an example of that-- an example of research that's moved forward is a research study called PowerMom that comes out of the Scripps Institute with Dr. Lasé Ajayi there. And it focuses on moms and pregnant people who are utilizing Fitbit to track their heart rate, track their exercise, track their stress level as they're going through their pregnancy. Because we know-- and it's for Black moms-- and we know that Black moms actually have a greater risk of complications. And so being able to understand not just those things that happen within the four walls of a health care system, but what all of those other factors to help them determine their health care has really been a powerful part of that work.

And so we're excited to be able to support that and do it a little bit more. I want to ask this group a little bit, and I know we talk about this all-- we talk about this all the time-- kind of the challenges and opportunities to support your work in technology. So let's start with the challenges. What are some of the challenges that you've encountered in using technology in in doing health equity work? Joneigh: You're looking at me? I would say it's the trust.

I mean, it really is. I mean, even I'll raise my hand. Sometimes I'm on an app, and they're like, ask me all those questions. What do they need that for? I'm not answering it. They're going to do something.

And that's me working in the health equity space, trying to collect data. And I have like a-- right, like I get it, right. It's like, why are you collecting these data? So I think we really have to do a better job of engaging with historically marginalized communities, having people of color in positions of leadership is really, really important. It's like, oh, that person looks like me. I know they won't do me dirty, right. So I can share my data with you.

We're doing a lot of that, actually, in our clinical trials work at CVS Health as well, hiring-- having people who are from communities engaging with community members so they can actually get access to the clinical trials as you discussed. Del: That was good. Now we doing age or beauty. Which one? I know I got age. He's probably got beauty.

But anyway, I think, you know, clearly there's bias that exists in terms of tech and you know, being a Black founder in our communities of color and underrepresented groups. And that's really, I think, a challenge to come out there and say you're a tech-enabled or tech-based company, and you don't look like what people normally see. There's a level of discrediting and higher bar, and all those things exist. The other part is the data.

I know we have a lot of discussions about AI, and I mentioned this, right. As we kind of set out to train our models, it was very much like, the data we got was the data that was used to kind of say these are the people that are currently in trials. And if we use that data to train our models, we're going to create that same thing. And so it was that challenge of trying to like, even talk to data scientists and different people and say, you know, we've got to figure out some ways to use some algorithmic bias in here and some stewardship and pull some levers that you just can't let the data tell you what you should do. And, you know, that was a little bit of a challenge. But I think this discussion about equity and understanding that AI can be used for good and AI can be used for not so good, people are paying more attention to that.

Again, Google understands that. But that has been a challenge for us to really approach this in a way to where we ensure that what we're doing adds to trying to solve the problem versus exasperating the issues. Deonta: I'll round us out. And there are two things that I would point out to-- in addition to the points that were raised by Joneigh around trust and then Del by data-- the first of which is expanding our definition of scale to ensure that it includes not only reach, but depth of impact and understanding what that means in different contexts so that we can look at a playbook of different ways that technology is being deployed and saying in this context, this is what success looks like. In this context is what a proof point looks like.

In this context is what it means to engage and leverage the lived experience and the data from communities-- like I was saying before-- to inform what iterations can look like over time. And then on the flip side of that, there's also a need for amplifications of models that are working in powerful ways. And there also needs to be ways in which we are having vibrant discussions around the ways that those models are tackling new problems in innovative ways and are building, quite frankly, on the demand that we're seeing. That the communities that I said before are clearly expressing a desire to engage with say, digital health products, and are saying that there is a product that understands and that allows me to build trust with it. I'll go the yard with it.

It's a huge opportunity, I think, that the entire field conveys. Ivor: We think about that. For the health equity team and for the health team at Google, we think about this a lot. And with, more broadly, with our partners across Google and Alphabet, it's really trust.

Because when we're thinking about trust, we're thinking about trust between you and I, your organization, your organization, your company, and the consumer. So we're thinking about consumers. We're thinking about respecting our users. We're thinking about the caregivers and the providers. We talked a lot about AI because we're looking at-- if the caregivers aren't seeing AI and trusting that and their understanding that we're thinking about that bias and we are taking that into consideration, that's really important as well.

And the community-- we talked about this a lot when we did the Health Equity Summit. It was really about building trust with the community and having that dialogue and beginning that conversation to ask, why is Google doing health equity? Why do we care about this work? Because we think it is fundamental to health. We can't achieve our goal of billions of healthier people across the globe if we are not able to address health equity and if we're not able to put that front and center. So I think you all pointed out there are multiple stakeholders as part of this work.

And we have to think about it in very different ways. All right, now the opportunities. Joneigh: Yes. So, you know, I'll say-- again, spent time as a public health official.

So one of the most important things of crisis communication is be first, be right, be credible. You really can't do that. And we did not do that well throughout the pandemic, as you all know. And part of that was actually because our data infrastructure is just a hot mess, right. Not only is there lack of communication and data infrastructure, data sharing between the public and the private sector, but even as it became well known throughout the pandemic as I was getting blasted on TV every day, there was not a lot of collaboration and sharing of data at the federal, state, and local level either. So everyone wanted to know where is the case at? Why do they have it? Are they hospitalized? Are they dead? Like, how many cases do you have? How many vaccines, you know, do you have in Michigan? And so I think one thing-- one opportunity-- is for us to really think about how do we in the private sector-- non-governmental sector-- really make sure we do our part in improving public health working with governmental health departments as well.

Because they, quite frankly, will never have the funding and the infrastructure to do this really, really well. So I think that's a really important opportunity. Ivor: And we learned that. Obviously, we learned that during the pandemic as well.

And I think it was really transformative for us in thinking about the role that we play in this ecosystem and how powerful an opportunity that is for us and a humbling one. And we are very intentional about taking that role very seriously. Deonta: I think there's a huge opportunity to support innovators that are centering trust within their work from day one all the way down to 8,000. And Del was sitting here, and there are countless folks that are sitting around this convention space that we're in right now that are doing this and are deeply engaging their end users to impact their health needs and challenges in powerful ways. One of the things that often comes to mind when we think about supporting innovators is OK, well, how do we deploy capital to ensure that we can get them to that next stage of growth? One of the things that we've been exploring in the equitable investments work is that capital is just one variable in an entrepreneur's journey.

There's capital. There's a need for strategic support. There's a need for network connections. There's a need for guidance and, quite frankly, just ensuring that entrepreneurs are fueled with the energy that requires them to do the work on a day-to-day basis.

And that's a role that each person in this room can play. You don't need necessarily to be an investor to support entrepreneurs in powerful ways. You don't need to have an advisory services firm to provide data that supports them in powerful ways. You can also think about the role that you're playing-- whether it's in an enterprise setting, whether it's in a public policy setting-- to provide the context, the guidance, and the necessary information that allows them to get to their next stage of growth too.

Del: Yeah. When I talk about AIML sometimes around my network and my friends and my family, and, of course, they're like, what is this? What is AIML? I'm like, artificial intelligence, machine learning. They're like, we still don't know what it is. And so I go through, and I explain to them like, what it's about and what we are trying to do with it in a positive way. And I get from those circles, people say oh, you know what? We could do this, and we can do that. And so, as a company, we had this really crazy idea we threw at NIH that said, what if we could help train our communities-- and particularly for us, our communities of color-- to both understand more about like, AIML In terms of how it can be applied to help address health disparities that they live with and they deal with.

And NIH came back and said yeah, we're interested in piloting something with that. That's the hypothesis. And so we just, you know, secured a half a million dollar contract to test this hypothesis.

And so we're actually doing it in Birmingham, Alabama. And we're going to see if there's a way that we can have our communities who are typically on the receiving end-- the last end of these solutions-- come to the forefront in a kind of a participatory way and say, listen, we want you to use AIML to address these issues. And this is how we think, overall, you should go about doing it and then seeing if us as scientists and engineers can go and develop this and present it to them and say, how does this work? And so I'm optimistic that we're going to be able to get some good learnings from that.

And I think if we can empower people to now be at the forefront to try to say take this technology and fix some of our issues, I think that has a tremendous opportunity for us to really change some of the landscape and some of the disparities that we see today. Ivor: I'm like, I'm speechless here for a moment. Because I think what's so powerful about what you're saying-- we talked-- we said information as a determinant of health. And our ability to have our communities like, not just be the receiver, but be the contributor and be the forefront and giving the guidance of where we should be going-- I think centering marginalized communities-- you talked about-- we talk a lot about how many people we're going to reach, the breadth, but there's also the opportunity in the work with technology of depth.

How do we reach a lot of people? But also, how can we use technology to go deep for those populations who have the widest gaps? And how can we close those gaps more effectively in using technology? And to me, going to-- we talk about this in health equity all the time-- going to the community and going to the source to understand the problem and have the context of the problem and the nuance of the problem, that is so critical in the work that we're doing in AI and ML. If we're like, if we're doing a peanut butter, that's not our goal. It's really-- we have to understand the depth of that nuance and not the black and white yes, no as we're building models. And I think that's really critical and important to the things that we're thinking about. Del: And we'd love to have Google be part of that project. I just want to put that plug out there as a partner.

Ivor: Plug, that's fair. That was fair. The other thing that-- the other thing that was really powerful for us as part of the Health Equity Summit was seeing the impact that some of the work that we were doing. We announced our efforts on Search and the ability for people to search for providers that took Medicaid and Medicare on our search tool. And we announced that during the Health Equity Summit.

But what was so powerful to me was, literally, the founders in the room messaging their teams, going hey, you need to go look at this, and we need to understand this. Because this can really have the opportunity to not only be useful to the end user, but to scale our company. Those of us who are boots on the ground who have the trust of the community, for us to be able to scale that resource-- and for us, it was this aha moment of opportunity of like, how we contribute to the ecosystem? I like to think that we're like, this fertile ground on which things can grow, both in large companies as well as startups. And so that part excites me. So I'm going to ask with-- have a little bit of a fun question that we have at the end.

And I get this from one of my colleagues, Dr. Lauren Wilcox, and she always ends our sessions this way. And it's like, if we had a magic-- if you had a magic wand, what would you want Google to do in the health equity space? Del: I can kick us up.

Deonta: I would love for Google to continue to have conversations like this-- where we can amplify and engage with leading lights in this space that are thinking about the ways in which technology can increasingly serve a diverse group of folks and where trust can be centered in every aspect of what we're developing over time. Like, we-- I'd love for us to get to a place where this is just how we do good work. It's not good work for certain populations.

It's an underlying aspect of how we think about developing our people, how we think about assessing the effectiveness of technological solutions, and how we also think about just living in a world that demands this of us. We're 10 or 15 years out from this no longer being a luxury. It's going to be an aspect of our daily lives, and we need to be aware of that. And we need to make sure that when we get to 2030 or 2035, that we're not catching ourselves flatfooted and saying, I wish that we had thought about this in other powerful ways. Or I wish that we had seeded and supported and amplified models that addressed this in 2000-- what year is this? 2022, I guess '23 technically, but like, we're around the corner. Ivor: We're close.

Deonta: Yeah. Joneigh: You know, I would love to see-- you're already doing this-- but just imagine a world where there was no issue of access from a digital and technology standpoint. What if everybody-- urban, rural-- had the laptop, had access to good broadband, right.

Like, what if we could make that happen? So that's my kind of magic wand-- like, no access issues for anybody in the country. Del: Yeah, I would say, you know, as you go down this path, when you have innovative companies and individuals that are trying to fight this battle of health equity, continue to open up the resources that you have and the prowess that you've developed to them to allow them to continue to have resources to push this fight. And so maybe there's a-- if I had a magic wand, it would say any capability that you have within Google that would help our company further our mission, please have that be available to us. And I do want to do-- I do want to say just as a plug for Google, and I know we're not trying to advocate here. But, you know, there's a lot of players right now in this space, big data players in this space.

And I don't have to name them. You know who they are. And they've all come to us and say we want to work with you. We want to partner with you.

But it's that intentionality that you see on display here today. That is what has allowed us as a young company to say, do we really want to shut the door to these people when it could be opportunities? And when we get back to our mission, it's like, who's really talking the talk and walking the walk? And it's what you guys are doing. So I just hope that nothing comes in the way of continuing that progress that you're making, that you continue to build your team and you build your resources. And I think it's going to come back dividends to you from a-- just from a business standpoint with where we're going as a as a country and as a world and from an entrepreneurial ecosystem. So that would be my answer.

Ivor: Wow, thank you. Wow.

2022-12-21 05:43

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