Symposium on Data Science for Healthcare (DaSH)

“Leveraging Big Data for Healthcare Revolution”

yi-chen Guest post from Professor Yi Chen, Henry J. Leir Chair in Healthcare, Associate Professor in the Martin Tuchman School of Management (MT-SoM) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

On October 5th and 6th, a symposium on Data Science for Healthcare (DaSH), sponsored by the Leir Charitable Foundations, was successfully held at the Leir Retreat Center, Ridgefield, CT. The DaSH symposium brought together participants from academia, industry, government, and professional organizations in multi-disciplines to discuss the grand challenges and to identify research directions for enabling smart healthcare with data science.

The organizer, Yi Chen, Henry J. Leir Chair in Healthcare, Associate Professor in the Martin Tuchman School of Management (MT-SoM) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), initiated the DaSH symposium to address the topic of leveraging big data for healthcare revolution. Analytics of big data could make an impact on every aspect of the nation’s $3 trillion healthcare industry — from better outcomes to more accessible and affordable care. The goal of the DaSH symposium is to foster collaboration across different disciplines and sectors to escalate the healthcare revolution.

With the great success of the inaugural event last year, the DaSH 2016 symposium focuses on the theme “Data Sharing: the Art, Science and Ethics”. Data sharing is a complex and challenging issue with both technical and social implications. The participants had constructive breakout sessions to discuss several questions in data sharing:

1) How to encourage data sharing?

2) How to facilitate data sharing?

3) How to ensure integrity in data sharing?

The participants discussed the types of data relevant to healthcare research, the current barriers to sharing, and possible incentives. The technological challenges to facilitate sharing, as well as the importance and enforcement of responsible data sharing were also discussed.

Dr. Jack Fong, Director of the Leir Retreat Center, and President, Dr. Joel Bloom, Provost, Dr. Fadi Deek, and Dean of MT-SoM, Dr. Reggie Caudill from NJIT, gave opening remarks at the DaSH symposium, welcoming the participants and discussing the status and challenges of current healthcare in U.S.

Mr. René Bastón (Executive Director, NSF Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub) presented the activities at the Big Data Innovation Hub, the importance of data sharing, and the recently awarded projects on health data science.

Dr. George M. Hripcsak (MD, Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor & Chair, Dept of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia Univ.) presented the initiatives of Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) for healthcare data sharing. Dr. Zachary Ives (PhD, Professor, Computer & Information Science, Penn) discussed the challenges and the state-of-art technologies for data integration, and the efforts in applying them in healthcare domains. Dr. Atam P. Dhawan (PhD, Vice Provost for Research and Development, Distinguished Professor, ECE, NJIT) presented the Point-of-Care Technologies.

DaSH also featured two panels discussing the impact of big data on two important healthcare applications: the Cancer Moonshot mission, led by Dr. Reynold Panettieri (MD, Professor, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Vice Chancellor of Clinical & Translational Science, Rutgers), and the undergoing Health Reform at U.S., led by Ms. Kathy Grise (Senior Program Director for Big Data Initiatives, Future Directions, IEEE).

Dr. Bradford Hesse (Chief, Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at National Cancer Institute, NIH) and Dr. Nan Zhang (Program Director, NSF) also discussed the new initiatives and opportunities at NIH and NSF, respectively.

DaSH gathered researchers in multiple areas such as data science, medicine and business, practitioners in healthcare, industry representatives, and thought leaders for fruitful discussions. Many organizations in northeast region and beyond participated in the event, such as NJIT, Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Univ. of Pennsylvania, The City Univ. of New York, Rutgers University, Clark University, SUNY at Buffalo, Drexel Univ., Stony Brook Univ., Penn State Univ., Anthem, IBM, IEEE, NIH, and NSF.

We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Leir Retreat Center and the Leir Charitable Foundations for this symposium. We also thank the DaSH advisory board and all the remarkable participants for their contributions.

The full report of the workshop will be available at the DaSH website. For more information about the DaSH symposium, please visit:

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