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Marymount University team lands key grant for AI readiness

By: Marymount University

December 8, 2023

Artificial intelligence has rapidly expanded in both importance and scale over recent years, with concerns about its safe use and development even leading the White House to issue an executive order related to its ‘extraordinary potential for both promise and peril.’

In higher education specifically, supplemental grants have been fundamental to advancing research that focuses on artificial intelligence. This year, Marymount University was one of only 15 universities awarded with the National Institutes of Health’s AIM-AHEAD Program for AI Readiness (PAIR) grant, which will be implemented by Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging. A team of three Marymount faculty and staff members — Dr. Nathan Green, Dr. Patricia Heyn and Dr. Diane Murphy — were instrumental in earning this grant.

“Our excitement stems from the potential impact this grant will have in propelling our research and engagement efforts forward at Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging,” Dr. Heyn said. “This grant is not just a financial resource, but a catalyst that will enable us to expand our scientific innovation horizons and impact more lives positively.”

The AIM-AHEAD Program for AI Readiness seeks to leverage resources to jumpstart AI research for health equity, particularly within minority-serving institutions such as Marymount — the only four-year Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in Virginia. It integrates artificial intelligence and health care for aging facilities across the U.S., particularly within underserved communities. Through the grant, Marymount will now be connected with critical AIM-AHEAD resources such as AI/health equity experts and grant-writing coaches to establish research labs that host cross-disciplinary teams for research projects and grant writing, as well as participate in a variety of sessions and training opportunities.

The Center for Optimal Aging was founded in 2021 as the first interdisciplinary research center at Marymount, dedicated to fulfilling a critical societal need by connecting and supporting aging-related service providers, community-based groups and professionals in identifying, implementing, evaluating and sustaining best practices to maximize the health and overall well-being of older adults. Since its founding, the Center has continued to gain momentum by receiving various grants, earning recognition from notable organizations and attending prominent conferences to showcase research.

“Receiving this grant is a monumental step for Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging and Marymount University as a whole,” Dr. Heyn added. “Our ultimate goal is to establish the Center as a leading authority in AI aging-related research and practices, contributing significantly to the well-being of older adults.”

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