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BCLA's 7th Annual Healthcare Symposium on Big Data in Medicine

On Tuesday May 24th, 2022, Biotech Connection Los Angeles (BCLA) hosted its 7th annual Healthcare Symposium, back in-person at BioscienceLA and virtually. This year’s Healthcare Symposium focused on “Big Data in Medicine” and explored the role data plays in improving patient outcomes and disease prevention.

This year’s symposium featured keynote speaker Kara DeFrias, Director of Experience Design for the Cancer Moonshot program under the Obama Administration, who gave a heartwarming talk of her experience working in the White House. Kara’s address covered several personal anecdotes which are summed up into six key points that should be implemented to lead an effective experimental design: 1. Humanize the effort; 2. Hold on to your narrative; 3. Bring the outside in; 4. Design with, not for; 5. Tech isn’t hard at the end of the day, humans are; and 6. You can be nice and be humble and still get stuff done at the end of the day. With these six guiding principles in mind, Kara was able to help optimize Obama’s Cancer Moonshot initiative to make a decade’s worth of advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, in only five years.

A panel discussion followed the keynote address, which was composed of data experts from industry, healthcare, and academia. The featured panelists were Dr. Naim Matasci, Director of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the Ellison Institute, Nathan Wan, Chief Technology Officer at Nuanced Health, and Dr. Kingson Man, Senior Data Scientist of Precision Medicine at City of Hope, and the discussion was moderated by Dr. Ricky Savjani, resident physician at the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA. The panel discussion offered insights as to how machine learning algorithms and data analytics are altering not only healthcare that is directly provided to patients but also the bench to bedside approach to drug design and development. The attentive audience brought up interesting points such as equitable data sharing, the roles of inequalities in healthcare in data collection and processing, and ways to improve human interpretation of data to more accurately understand data models, which inspired a lively discussion among the data science experts.

The Healthcare Symposium concluded with networking and light refreshments where panelists and attendees had the opportunity to continue the earlier discussions on a more personal level.

We would like to thank the keynote speaker and the panelists for sharing their insights on big data in medicine, as well as attendees, core sponsors, and team members for making the 7th annual BCLA Healthcare Symposium a great success! Stay tuned for upcoming BCLA events to keep you connected with the Los Angeles biotech community.

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