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Healthcare, Ethics and Technology Experts Debate Ethical Risks and Rewards of Big Data

Published October 12, 2018

NEW YORK, October 10, 2018 — The New York Academy of Sciences and NYU School of Medicine present “Healthcare in the Era of Big Data: Opportunities & Challenges,” which will take place Oct. 24–25, 2018 at the Academy headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, the colloquium will convene healthcare, ethics and technology leaders who will explore the ethical risks and rewards of incorporating big data into the healthcare landscape.

“New technologies and big data are opening up incredible opportunities to better understand and treat diseases. Yet greater access to data from multiple sources and platforms also creates new ethical challenges,” said Melanie Brickman Borchard, PhD, MSc, Director of Life Sciences at the Academy. “This convening will bring together healthcare leaders for a discussion on how to responsibly collect and manage healthcare data while harnessing this vital information to improve patient and consumer care."

Keynote speaker Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD of Flatiron Health will share her insights on “Research at Scale: Rethinking Evidence Generation for the 21st Century”. Yale University’s Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM will also give a keynote address. Healthcare, science and technology leaders from 23andMe, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Vanderbilt University, Verily (by Google) and more will delve into the ethical implications around key topics including:

  • How to navigate recruitment and consent
  • Privacy protection and data ownership
  • Corporate responsibility and compliance
  • Third-party data access within genomic databases
  • The future of healthcare in this new era of medicine and research

The healthcare space is experiencing a fundamental period of disruption with the integration of new technologies and big data. Medical research is no longer confined to the doctor’s office or controlled clinical trials. Health outcomes may be predicted by information from wearable devices, at-home genetic testing kits, insurance databases, web searches, or even a cell phone’s GPS. Increased access to real-world data has the potential to be converted into actionable knowledge to improve treatments and healthcare systems. Yet as more data become available, there is a growing importance to ensure it is ethically used, protected and regulated.

“No one player in the healthcare space can tackle big data management and protection alone. That is why we are bringing together established and emerging healthcare leaders for a transparent discussion on ethical ways to implement big data to transform the healthcare industry,” said Arthur Caplan, PhD, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine.

“This is a critical conversation on the ethical issues surrounding big data and healthcare,” said Joanne Waldstreicher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “As greater access to data opens up new opportunities for public health, we all have an imperative to exercise social responsibility, trustworthiness, accountability and cross-sector collaboration for better, safer health outcomes.”

All panel sessions and keynote lectures will be livestreamed during the two days of the symposium. A link is available here and registration is free.

For media inquiries and press passes, please contact

About NYU School of Medicine

NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world-class medical educational excellence. For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital, one of the nation's finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City's diverse population, which enhances the scope and quality of their medical education and training. Additional information about the NYU School of Medicine is available at

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.

About Johnson & Johnson

Caring for the world, one person at a time... inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science — bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 130,800 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.


Marie Gentile

Director of Communications