Meet Dr. Nancy Schoenborn, Co-Director of the Stakeholder Engagement Core at JH AITC. By day, she serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Schoenborn's research is twofold: within JH AITC, she focuses on identifying key priorities that AI should target to benefit older adults. Outside of JH AITC, her work centers on decision-making and communication with older adults to promote patient-centered care. Notably, she has been recognized for her contributions to the field, receiving the Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year award from the American Geriatrics Society in 2019, and her research has been funded by organizations such as the National Institute on Aging and the American Cancer Society. Join us as we explore how Dr. Schoenborn is ensuring that stakeholder voices are not only heard, but are integral in shaping the future of AI in geriatric care.
#1 - Can you share with us a little about your work or research?
As Co-Director of the Stakeholder Engagement Core, we have several research projects ongoing to better understand what are the most important priorities that AI should be targeting. Outside of my role for JH AITC, I study decision-making and communication with older adults to promote patient-centered care.
#2 - What initially drew you to this intersection of AI, AgeTech, aging, and dementia? Is there a personal story or motivation behind your commitment to this field?
I see older adults with and without dementia regularly in my clinical practice. I see the joy and strength as well as the needs and challenges. As my research focuses on patient-centered care and understanding patient preferences and priorities, I became interested when the opportunity came along to make sure stakeholder voices are heard in leveraging AI to promote older adults' health and well-being.
#3 - In your view, where is the biggest gap in the current landscape of aging and dementia research and care, and how can AI and emerging technologies help bridge this?
There are lots of gaps and challenges, but the top three issues are caregiver support, especially for those who care for patients with dementia; care coordination across all settings and provider types; and maintaining safety at home without intruding on one's independence.
#4 - Any words of wisdom for budding startups or researchers eager to dive into the AI and AgeTech space?
Please, please talk to the end users at the earliest stage of design—talk to the patients, the caregivers, and the frontline clinicians who will use the technology. This increases the relevance and uptake of the product tremendously if you understand from step one what are the needs and what are the barriers to technology adoption.
#5 - Outside of the lab or office, what’s a hobby or activity you're passionate about?
I love to bake and cook; it's a relaxing activity that is naturally productive and creative at the same time.