Posted on
September 13, 2023

Dr. Thomas Cudjoe: Tackling Social Isolation

Thomas K.M. Cudjoe, MD, MPH, MA


Co-Director of the Stakeholder Engagement Core at JH AITC


+ Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Endowed Professor and Assistant Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
+ Major, United States Army Reserve



Meet Dr. Thomas K.M. Cudjoe, Co-Director of the JH AITC Stakeholder Engagement Core. By day, he holds the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Endowed Professorship and serves as an Assistant Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He's also a Major in the United States Army Reserve. Dr. Cudjoe’s research is dedicated to understanding and mitigating social isolation among older adults by using community-based strategies and human-centered design. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Foundation for Social Connection and is the 2021 Caryl & George Bernstein CIM/HAP Scholar. His work has been featured in prominent media outlets such as the New York Times and NPR. Join us as we delve into the pressing issue of social isolation in older adults, the role of AI in addressing unmet needs, and the importance of empathy in technology development.

#1 - Can you share with us a little about your work or research?

My research focuses on understanding and addressing social isolation among older adults, leveraging community-based strategies, mixed-methods, and human-centered design. I've led studies that illuminate the prevalence of social isolation in this age group and its impact on health. In addition to my academic responsibilities, I serve on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Foundation for Social Connection. My work has garnered attention from prominent media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Good Morning America. Through my multi-faceted approach, I aim to contribute meaningful solutions to the pressing issue of social isolation.

#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?

One of the key elements that was critical in drawing me to this endeavor was the opportunity to facilitate and work to ensure that the perspectives of older adults that are often not engaged in research or technology development could be heard and incorporated.

#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?

Misalignment between unmet needs or preferences of older adults and entities developing technologies.

#4 - Any words of wisdom for budding startups or researchers eager to dive into the AI and AgeTech space?

Empathy with potential end-users and constant iterations.

#5 - Outside of the lab or office, what’s a hobby or activity you're passionate about?

I really enjoy ceramics, specifically throwing mugs and bowls.

The AITC Innovator Spotlight series provides concise profiles of key leaders from our three research collaboratories. Through a set of five questions, the series offers insights into their research, sheds light on current industry trends, and delves into their personal journeys.