Healthcare Panel: Accelerating Discovery and Innovation for Precision Brain Health?

Abstract: Despite the depth and breadth of Alzheimer’s Disease research, effective methods for treatment remain elusive. Technology is changing what we can do and how we can do it. Digital technologies have translated into a plethora of wearable sensors and smart home devices flooding the market, with more devices in the pipeline. They offer a solution for monitoring and detecting modifiable brain health related risk factors and behavioral symptoms well before changes meet the threshold for clinical diagnosis. The more transformative opportunity, however, lies in a shift from a medical intervention model of “personalized medicine” to a more comprehensive focus on “personalized brain health” that focuses on preventing disease altogether. Current and emerging artificial intelligence/data science approaches are critical to meeting this scientific vision but are highly dependent on access to high quality healthcare data resources. We address the challenge of shifting longstanding clinical research policies and practices to one centered on lowering the barriers to data sharing and embracing as well as incentivizing team science.

Bio: SANJI FERNANDO is a Vice President and Head of the OptumLabs Center for Applied Data. The Center for Applied Data Science (CADS) is a new kind of resource within Optum,
focused on the application of new data science methods to solve complex health care challenges
faced by UnitedHealthCare and Optum. Sanji joined UnitedHealth Group in 2014 from Nokia, where he created the Data Science team for Nokia.
Prior to Nokia, Sanji was a co-founder and VP of Engineering of a venture-backed mobile software
company, Vettro. Sanji began his career in consulting with Viant and Accenture.
Sanji is a graduate of the Trinity College with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He lives in
the Boston area with his wife, Michelle, and their three boys, Ben, Lucas and Axel. In his free time,
Sanji enjoys coaching his sons in basketball and baseball. He also serves on the board of his local
Little League.