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STEM Scholars Lecture Series

The STEM Scholars lectures are designed for the general public. These lectures bring together area K-12 and community college students, faculty, and administrators; local business and industry leaders; CSUS students, faculty and alumni; and local community members to learn more about Sacramento State faculty research and scholarly efforts in STEM fields. The lectures cover a wide range of STEM topics from artificial intelligence to environmental sustainability issues.

Current Lecture

Unmasking Algorithmic Bias in Healthcare: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions


Each year, commercial software analyzes the health records of 150 million patients using various algorithms as part of the decision-making process. These algorithms calculate patients' risk factors and are meant to identify those with urgent health issues. However, bias is a significant problem because the algorithms use health costs as a proxy for health needs. This leads to less spending on Black patients with similar needs, falsely indicating they are healthier than equally sick White patients.

Algorithmic bias is pervasive, with studies from healthcare providers, insurers, technology companies, and regulators demonstrating its impact on clinical care, operational workflows, and policies. This talk will explore the definition of bias, discuss three critical data errors (biased data collection, interpretation, and handling), delve into the causes of algorithmic bias, outline methods for measuring it, and consider whether biased algorithms can be rectified.

STEM Lecture Flyer


Dr. Sadaf Ashtari is an Associate Professor of Information Systems and Business Analytics at California State University, Sacramento. Her research focuses on the utilization of information systems and online peer support groups in chronic disease prevention and management. She served as the principal investigator for the Genentech-funded project, "Patient Experience-Based Information Systems Application for Mitigation of Genetic-Disorder Pain." Her previous studies revolved around the integration of information systems in healthcare and the impact of organizational and social factors on Electronic Health Record (EHR) effectiveness. Dr. Ashtari has published her work in prestigious journals like the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), JMIR Formative Research, and the International Journal of Patient-Centered Healthcare (IJPCH). She holds a Ph.D. in Technology and Professional Service Management from Eastern Michigan University, along with a Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Management Information Systems and Information Technology Engineering from Science and Research University, Tehran, Iran.

Video Archive

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