The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) at Harvard University is committed to surfacing and addressing broad challenges in public health that affect large populations around the globe. HGHI is situated under the Office of the Harvard President and Provost and considered the nexus of global health at the University. We are committed to bringing together great minds across disciplines and sectors to drive innovative research, create educational opportunities and impact policy.

As part of the HGHI’s Technology and Health domain, our AI in Global Health Program examines the promise, potential and challenges that automated technologies bring as they transform healthcare in low and middle-income countries.

In response to a call for further investment into research that can be translated into evidence-based action, HGHI undertook a global state of play landscaping exercise with an in-depth focus on Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and affiliated hospitals. Our exercise revealed a global, critical gap in the exploration of key issues at the intersection of AI, health and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Academic leadership is strongly needed in this space to ensure that AI-assisted systems are deployed for impactful health outcomes in LMICs; that validated innovations scale; and that technologies are designed by and for local communities. In the absence of such leadership, the promises generated by AI could fall flat or worse, cause harm.

When it comes to AI and Global Health, the solutions needed will not just come from clinicians and computer scientists, but other experts, such as lawyers, ethicists, public health experts and policy makers. It will require synergistic collaborations from local communities and in-country leaders, multilateral organizations and philanthropic entities.