Alliance News

Health Equity, AI, and Partnership: 2023 Annual Meeting Highlights

Jun 9, 2023

You can access the recording here.


“There is a lot we can do individually, but we can do a lot more collectively.”
–Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Africa CDC’s Chief Digital Health Adviser


“The ambitious agenda [of Africa CDC’s Digital Transformation Strategy] over such a huge continent cannot be achieved unless every available resource is harnessed. And that can only be done through cross-collaboration partnerships,” said Africa CDC’s Chief Digital Health Adviser, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, at the Bay Area Global Health Alliance annual meeting on June 6.

Attending were more than 125 members and guests, both online and in person at UCSF. Alliance board secretary Martin Dale, PSI, spoke with Nsengimana in a fireside chat that explored the rollout of Africa’s new digital partnership and how digital innovations and partnerships can advance health equity on the continent.

Africa CDC’s strategy looks to digital innovation to help strengthen the public health workforce and infrastructure, expand the capacity for manufacturing, diagnostics and therapeutics, and increase domestic resources for health security and investment in healthcare, strengthen governance and policy, and promote partnerships. Nsengimana explained that the digital plan is patient-centric (embracing open standards and digital public goods), promotes equity and inclusion, and is guided by a strong lens on gender. It is also rooted in the concept of a single pan-African trade market. (Watch Nsengimana’s keynote, 44 min)


Alliance board chair, Colin Boyle welcomes members to the meeting.

Other Possibilities for AI in Global Health

In a panel discussion on the implications of AI in global health with members from Stanford Byers Center for BioDesign, Accenture ADP, Mastercard, Baraka Impact Finance, and Pendulum, the participants discussed the technology’s enormous potential. “AI is already tackling complex health challenges, and in some cases, AI is helping LMICs leapfrog higher-income regions in addressing wicked problems and improving health outcomes,” said Alliance board member and Stanford University‘s BioDesign’s Krista Donaldson, who moderated the panel.

The panelists also cautioned that the enormous potential of artificial intelligence is predicated on healthcare investment in AI research and development and discussed the imperative for health-related ethical and regulatory frameworks for this new and powerful technology.

Short breaks gave attendees the opportunity to network and mingle.

The group explored several challenges that could hamper AI’s adoption in healthcare, including concerns about connectivity and interoperability impeding equal access and the need for large amounts of high-quality data and skilled AI developers and clinicians who thoroughly understand the technology’s potential. “As you get excited about these shiny, sexy AI tools, don’t forget about those that are at the base of the pyramid who do not have connectivity,” cautioned panelist Natasha Sunderji, managing director, Accenture ADP. “Regardless of what exciting solution you create, you will leave them behind.”

For the panel, Donaldson was joined by Natasha Sunderji, Alliance board member and Global Health and Nutrition Lead, Accenture ADP; Paul Musser, SVP Enterprise Partnerships, Mastercard; Carolina Batista, Head of Global Health Affairs, Baraka Impact Finance; and Brittany Hume Charm, Head of Growth, Global Health, Pendulum (formerly Macro-Eyes). (Watch Other Possibilities for AI in Global Health, 56 min)

Alliance board members, Krista Donaldson and Natasha Sunderji kick off the discussion.

Lightning Talks

The meeting also included an inspiring series of lightning talks on new initiatives and about key issues important to members, as well as opportunities for member engagement and collective impact. The lightning talks featured the following focus areas and members.

The State of the Alliance

Alliance Executive Director, Sara Anderson sits with Deputy Director, Abbey Kocan, and Membership and Communications Associate, Madhavi Kuthanur.

Sara Anderson, executive director of the Alliance, spoke about the organization’s strengths, particularly its trusted role as a neutral convener able to broker multi-sector collaboration. Its 82 members—who share a vision for global health equity—now span the globe and include partners in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. “While we will hold on to our region’s roots in innovation and technology, we are expanding our scope to more intentionally include more partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia,” said Anderson. “The Bay Area Global Health Alliance is a trusted community where, coming out of our silos and across the sectors, we can collaborate and advance global health equity together. Thank you for helping us earn your trust,” she concluded. (Watch The State of the Alliance, 5 min)

Check back here and via our various communication channels for more information on the upcoming workshops. An insights brief on the convening will be released later this summer. If you missed it or would like to hear it again, you can watch the recording of the Annual Meeting here.