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Penn Collaboratory to Fund more than $2.1M in Grants in Year One

The Penn Artificial Intelligence and Technology Collaboratory for Healthy Aging (PennAITech) – made up of Penn’s School of Nursing, the Perelman School of Medicine, and other departments across the University – focuses on identifying developing, evaluating, commercializing, and disseminating innovative technology and artificial intelligence methods/software to support aging. It’s made possible through a grant from the National Institute on Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health. In its first year, and through a competitive national grant review process, twelve applicants from academia, industry, and clinical practice across the United States have been selected for funding.

The Collaboratory Pilot Core invites applications for pilot studies using technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize care management and health outcomes for older Americans, including those with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) living in their homes independently, and those receiving clinical care or skilled home and community-based services. The goals of this pilot program are two-fold:

1) Solicit, select, and manage pilot studies that develop or test technology and AI to detect risk, predict needs, address disparities, improve access to care, and support decision making for chronic illness management and safe aging in place for older adults with or without ADRD and their caregivers.

2) Foster collaborations among affiliated Penn investigators and a network of scientists and clinicians in peer institutions, research centers, industry partners and home and community-based services.

This year’s awardees are:

Pilot 1: Patient-Surrogate Alignment in Digital Advance Care Planning. PI: Desh Mohan, MD (Koda Health) ;

Pilot 2: Designing Usable Technologies for Older Adults via Data-Driven Whole-Person User Personas. PI: Robin Austin, PhD, DNP (University of Minnesota);

Pilot 3: RGBd + Thermal Computer Vision Platform for Home Monitoring and Telehealth. PI: Richard Everts (Bestie Bot);

Pilot 4: Conversational Care Technologies. PI: Robin Brewer, PhD (University of Michigan)

Pilot 5: Physiological Detection and Monitoring of Alzheimer’s Disease. PI: David Yonce, MS, MBA (Cogwear);

Pilot 6: AI-assisted Fall Detection & Remote Monitoring for Seniors with ADRD. PI: David Stout (Iris Technology Inc);

Pilot 7: AI-Enabled Conversations to Measure Mental Status and Manage Psychotropic Medication Use. PI: Lorens Helmchen, PhD (The George Washington University);

Pilot 8: Detecting respiratory distress in patients with advanced ADRD using radio sensors. PI: Veerawat Phongtankuel MD, MS (Weill Cornell Medicine);

Pilot 9: Feasibility of Digital Monitoring to Detect Autonomic Markers of Empathy Loss in bv FTD. PI: Emma Rhodes, PhD (University of Pennsylvania);

Pilot 10: An Accessible Machine Learning-Based ADRD Screening Tool for Caregivers. PI: Maja Matarić, PhD (University of South California);

Pilot 11: SoundMind. PI: Kendra Ray, PhD, MPH, MT-BC (AutoTune Me); and

Pilot 12: Leveraging Patient Portals to Support Caregivers. PI: Jennifer Portz, PhD (University of Colorado and Kaiser Permanente).

“These awardees represent the broad range of innovative solutions that have the potential to significantly improve the lives of older adults and their families, and our team of experts at Penn are looking forward to working with them and supporting them in this journey” said George Demiris, PhD, FACMI, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with joint faculty appointments in Penn Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, and the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and one of the principal investigators of PennAITech.

Jason Karlawish, MD, Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology, co-director of the Penn Memory Center and Associated Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Perelman School of Medicine; and Co-Principal Investigator of PennAITech, added “We are excited to provide a supportive environment to deploy and test cutting-edge technologies and innovative approaches to improving the well-being of America’s older adults, especially persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases.”