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Office of Global Affairs

November 9, 2015

Big data holds tremendous opportunities to solve health challenges, Cauce tells Tsinghua forum

President Cauce gives the keynote address at the Tsinghua University Innovation and Big Data Forum.

President Cauce gives the keynote address at the Tsinghua University Innovation and Big Data Forum.Dan Schlatter

The challenges of our time cross boundaries, so universities and nations must do the same to solve them. That was the message President Ana Mari Cauce delivered during her keynote address Monday at the Tsinghua University Innovation and Big Data Forum in Beijing.

“The future health, prosperity, and well-being of our nations and our planet depend on our ability to cross boundaries and build relationships. Relationships between our students, who are the future leaders of our nations; between our faculties, who are driving innovation around the world; and between our countries, as leading players on the global stage,” Cauce said.

Cauce said the opportunities of “big data” are perhaps most evident in public health, an area that is an area of particular strength for the UW. She discussed work by both the School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to bring big data to bear on health challenges, from adverse pharmaceutical reactions to the effects of pollution.

IHME’s ongoing work with Chinese researchers and health agencies are identifying community-by-community health trends and challenges, and this enables a systematic approach to solving these challenges.

“Where you’re born matters. And by harnessing big data we’re able to see for the first time just how much it matters, to identify the hidden boundaries between us, and to do something about them,” Cauce said.

Read the full text of President Cauce’s remarks.