Howard University, AARP Launch Age-Tech Partnership to Address Health Disparities Confronting Persons Age 50+

WASHINGTON – The Howard University College of Medicine’s 1867 Health Innovations Project and AARP Innovation Labs today announced a strategic partnership focused on developing new models of care. The collaboration will explore age-tech solutions to enhance health care access for individuals with chronic health conditions in medically underserved communities.

Through the1867 Health Innovations Project, AARP and Howard University are conducting two clinical pilot projects to improve diabetes management and medication adherence. The first is a proactive voice-first technology that uses facial recognition to remind individuals to take their medication. The second pilot is a digital online health community that empowers individuals and connects them to others with similar health challenges. The partnership aims to develop additional pilot projects to address health conditions including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, genetic disorders, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

AARP Innovation Labs will support Howard University with cutting-edge technologies and resources like design thinking training to improve the health and well-being of adults age 50+. The tech solutions will include mobile apps, sensors, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearables, facial and voice recognition, and data analytics. Howard University will pair the technology with research and care models to assess short- and long-term effectiveness, while facilitating the adoption of disruptive technologies in chronic disease management and medically underserved communities.

“The partnership combines the strengths of two great organizations, while enhancing tech and innovation initiatives for the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Hugh Mighty, dean of Howard University’s College of Medicine and vice president of clinical affairs.

In the current pandemic, COVID-19 has disproportionally affected older adults and multicultural communities, especially those with chronic health conditions. In addition, many individuals in these populations lack the tools to seek out services like telehealth and resources to stay informed and safe from the virus.

“Now more than ever, our most vulnerable communities need critical support to stay connected and educated through innovative measures,” said Nigel Smith, Director, AARP Innovation Labs. “We’re proud to collaborate with Howard University and focus on solutions to help underserved populations better manage their chronic conditions and live healthier lives, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

“It is important that all communities have access to innovative digital solutions,” said Michael Crawford, Howard University’s associate dean for strategy, outreach, and innovation. “The AARP partnership allows us to test, scale, and accelerate the use of tech solutions for 50+ medically underserved.”

Howard University launched the 1867 Health Innovations Project in April. Aptly named after the year the University was founded, 1867 aims to collaborate with innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and corporate partners to tackle complex health challenges confronting underserved populations in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond.

For more information about the 1867 Health Innovations Project, contact Michael Crawford, associate dean in the Howard University College of Medicine,  michael.crawford@howard.edu.

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