United Health invests more than $8M in HBCU data science training

United Health Group is making a five-year, $8.25 million investment to help train data science and analytics experts at Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.

The money will help those colleges, part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium. The new AUCC Data Science Initiative will offer technical classes for students seeking to specialize in analytics for healthcare and beyond. 

UnitedHealth notes that job openings for data experts in the U.S. will exceed more than 2.7 million by next year.

The hope is that the AUCC initiative will be able to emphasize the value of data science across academic disciplines, officials say, teaching more than 9,000 students new techniques for analytics and research, especially for healthcare and disparities that exist in minority communities.

In addition, the initiative will enable the development of new certificate programs focused on data science and analytics.

UnitedHealth Group says the investment is aimed at continuing to develop a 21st century health workforce that can develop “personalized, culturally competent care, particularly in underserved communities.”

“The colleges in the Atlanta University Center, for decades, have been in the vanguard of educating African Americans who succeed in STEM fields,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College. “This gift by UnitedHealth Group is an investment in our commitment to continue that primacy in STEM by making the AUCC a center of excellence for the study of data science across a range of disciplines in medicine and the liberal arts.”

In our focus on workforce development this month, Healthcare IT News and Healthcare Finance are exploring the ways healthcare workforces are changing – and how they ought to be changing – in the era of accountable care, population health management, artificial intelligence, evolving technology and emerging data-driven care models.

As shown recently at the HIMSS Machine Learning & AI for Healthcare event, putting together smart analytics teams, comprising the right people for the right roles, is key for success in 21st century healthcare.

“The Data Science Initiative has the potential to make the Atlanta University Center Consortium a national resource for experts in data analytics,” said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. “This program will not only produce talented data scientists who will be leaders in their fields, but increasing the number of degree offerings with data science competencies at HBCUs will assist in diversifying a career field that is currently made up of less than 7% of under-represented minorities.”

“Technology in general, and data science in particular, are critical to better meeting the needs of our customers,” said David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support this initiative because it aligns with our desire to ensure our workforce for the future is diverse and possesses the skills needed to propel our company for continued success.” 

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