Master’s students awarded prestigious Vector Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence

June 2, 2023

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Clockwise: Dana Elsaid, Pourya Momtaz, Pooja Sharma and Afreen Rehman.

By Alisa Kim

Four incoming students at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation were awarded a Vector Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence from the Vector Institute. The scholarship is worth $17,500 and recognizes exceptional students who are pursuing a master’s in artificial intelligence at an Ontario university.

“Congratulations to all of our Vector Scholarship recipients. The award affirms your academic excellence and connects you to a network of researchers and innovators in AI in health. We are delighted to welcome you to IHPME, where you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to drive AI and health information technology-based change,” says Dr. Audrey Laporte, Director of IHPME.

Dana Elsaid, who will begin her studies in the Master of Health Informatics (MHI) program in September, says she was “ecstatic” to learn of her award and that the MHI program is a perfect match for her academic and career goals. “I am truly excited to be part of the program where I will have the opportunity to explore the multi-disciplinary approaches that drive system change and take part in unfolding advancements in health care,” she says.

Joining Elsaid in the MHI program this fall is Afreen Rehman, who says she felt excitement and gratitude upon learning of her award and looks forward to her studies at IHPME. “Enrolling in the program will deepen my understanding of AI technology, as well as address ethical, management, privacy, and Canadian health care policy concerns for its efficient use in improving patient outcomes,” she says. She hopes to use the knowledge she will gain to help organizations adopt AI and develop strategies that consider the limitations and ethical concerns of AI in health. “My goal is to ensure responsible and effective use of AI, optimizing patient care and driving innovations in health care,” she says.

Enrolling in the program will deepen my understanding of AI technology, as well as address ethical, management, privacy, and Canadian health care policy concerns for its efficient use in improving patient outcomes.”

Afreen Rehman, incoming Master of Health Informatics program student

Pooja Sharma, who is also starting the MHI program in September, says she was overjoyed at the news of her award. “This scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is going to open new doors for me and many other recipients. I am looking forward to joining the talented Vector community,” says Sharma. She says AI has the potential to support management of chronic disease and enhance clinical decision-making and hopes to be part of this change. “Recognizing the transformative power of AI, I hope to leverage data to steer the development of AI technologies in the right direction and bridge existing health inequities for sub-populations at risk.”

Pourya Momtaz, who is starting his master’s in the Health Systems Research program in September, says he is grateful for the award as it will enable him to pursue his academic goals without worrying about finances. “Winning the Vector scholarship is truly a life-changing moment for me, and I am excited beyond words to see where this opportunity takes me in my educational and professional journey,” he says. Momtaz, whose ultimate aim is to become a public health researcher, says he has personal reasons for pursuing research in AI in health systems. Two years ago, he lost two close family members to cancer. “Since then, I have always thought about the revolutionary changes that could be brought to health systems by AI; I decided to dedicate most of my time to research on bioinformatics, digital health and AI-based health systems. I hope that one day I’ll be able to produce meaningful work in this field.”

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