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How we can create equity for all communities?
Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.
Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.
Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)
This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.
To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.
This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.
After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”
“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”
Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).
As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.
Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”
"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/
The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.
'This night will go under my pillow of sweet dreams for the rest of my life.'
The live two-hour premiere episode of the star-studded 31st season of “Dancing With the Stars” was an emotional one, to say the least, as actress Selma Blair took to the stage.
Four years ago, Blair publicly announced her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—a chronic disease that causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination.
It was clear that entering the competition was more than a chance to win a title for Blair. In an interview with ET Canada, the “Cruel Intentions” actress shared that “I hope that by doing this show that I could show people with disabilities the joy that can be found in ways you never expected.”
Blair definitely succeeded with that goal. She and pro dance partner Sasha Farber earned third place and brought the audience to tears with an elegant, moving waltz routine set to David Cook's "The Time of My Life."
Blair posted a shorter clip of the dance onto her Instagram, writing in the caption that "This night will go under my pillow of sweet dreams for the rest of my life.”Blair, who normally walks with a cane, was most concerned with keeping her balance during the performance. But relying on Farber was a welcome relief. “I have been a single mom. I've always loved supporting people, and then to have so many people support me, heaven," she told "Access Hollywood".
She added that the opportunity to dance came at a time when recovery had stalled. “I just couldn't get motivated to get stronger. Then this came and for the first time in my life I was like, 'Yeah, it makes sense…' I want to start learning how to build myself up again," she shared. Because of her work with Farber, the “Legally Blonde” actress is getting stronger each day, something that gives her immense pride.
Blair’s comeback is certainly inspiring—it takes immeasurable amounts of grace to move through all of life's challenges and still remain hopeful. Whether or not she makes it all the way through the competition, she has already won something much more profound by proving what’s possible.
Nike’s culture of innovation has done it again.
As one of the world’s largest sports brands, Nike is in a unique position to play a significant role in creating a more sustainable world. Nike has taken on this monumental responsibility by relentlessly pursuing its waste-reducing Move to Zero policy. The company's ultimate goal is zero carbon and zero waste, all in an effort to help protect the future of sport.
“Athletes around the world are telling us that climate change is impacting them and their ability to perform at their best,” Seana Hannah, VP Sustainable Innovation, NIKE, Inc., said in a statement shared with Upworthy. “As part of our commitment to serve the athletes by offering more sustainable options and meeting our bold, science-based impact targets, we’re introducing a material innovation that can be adapted to different lifestyle and performance purposes.”
Over five years of research went into the development of Nike Forward and the company believes the positive environmental effects will be well worth the wait.
The all-new Nike Forward platform is the brand’s latest advancement in over 30 years of sustainability-minded innovations, and the most significant Nike apparel innovation since Dri-Fit.The proprietary technology is based on engineering innovations that deliver big results.
In short, Nike hacked existing needle punching machinery to connect multiple thin layers by entangling them together to make a new, uncompromising performance-ready textile.
The total of Forward’s innovations reduces carbon output by an average of 75% compared to traditional Nike fleece. This is achieved using 70% recycled content by weight, solution-dyed fibers rather than traditional dye methods and the lower material basis weight of Forward. In plain language, the process is much simpler than traditional knit or woven processes, drastically reducing the number of resources needed to create the material.
But Forward isn’t just about reducing environmental impact during the manufacturing process. For the launch pieces, the brand also considered the end of its garments’ lives by removing metal zippers and aglets so they’re easier to recycle.
“Sustainability sits at the foundation of Nike’s business, and we believe circularity is the future of sustainability, “John Donahoe, CEO, NIKE, Inc. said in a statement.
The sustainability of the Forward platform has the potential to significantly reduce the company’s carbon footprint for years to come. In keeping with Nike’s goals, Forward looks to “make the world better for athletes” while also being a superior product that “makes athletes better.”
Forward’s multiple thin-layer construction makes for warm and lightweight garments, and the flexibility of the platform will allow Nike to create a custom experience for athletes where materials can be adjusted to meet their unique needs.
The first Forward garment that athletes across the world will be able to experience is an iconic grey hoodie, as Nike calls it, “the uniform of sport and style around the globe.” The Forward hoodie is manufactured using zero water in the dyeing and finishing processes. The company believes it’s a rare product where sustainability doesn’t come with sacrifices in comfort, style, or performance.
The hoodie is just the start of the Forward movement for Nike. "Today, it's a hoodie. Tomorrow, it could be anything,” Aaron Heiser, VP of global apparel product merchandising, said in a video produced by Nike.
The hoodie will help introduce the world to Nike’s latest revolution that it hopes will make an impact that will be felt for years to come.
For Nike, it’s just the latest advancement in the brand’s culture of innovation that underscores its commitment to taking action in creating a better world.
“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about material and apparel,” Aaron Heiser, Nike’s VP of global apparel product merchandising, said in a statement. “This is the biggest Nike apparel innovation since Dri-Fit 30 years ago and has huge potential to transform the industry in the way that Air and Flyknit did for Nike footwear.”
Nike Forward releases globally on September 22, 2022. Shop the collection at nike.com/nikeforward.
This article originally appeared on 03.29.21
One of the biggest problems with coffee production is that it generates an incredible amount of waste. Once coffee beans are separated from cherries, about 45% of the entire biomass is discarded.
So for every pound of roasted coffee we enjoy, an equivalent amount of coffee pulp is discarded into massive landfills across the globe. That means that approximately 10 million tons of coffee pulp is discarded into the environment every year.
When disposed of improperly, the waste can cause serious damage soil and water sources.
However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence has found that coffee pulp isn't just a nuisance to be discarded. It can have an incredibly positive impact on regrowing deforested areas of the planet.
In 2018, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii spread 30 dump trucks worth of coffee pulp over a roughly 100' x 130' area of degraded land in Costa Rica. The experiment took place on a former coffee farm that underwent rapid deforestation in the 1950s.
The coffee pulp was spread three-feet thick over the entire area.
Another plot of land near the coffee pulp dump was left alone to act as a control for the experiment.
"The results were dramatic." Dr. Rebecca Cole, lead author of the study, said. "The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses."
In just two years, the area treated with coffee pulp had an 80% canopy cover, compared to just 20% of the control area. So, the coffee-pulp-treated area grew four times more rapidly. Like a jolt of caffeine, it reinvigorated biological activity in the area.
The canopy was also four times taller than that of the control.
The coffee-treated area also eliminated an invasive species of grass that took over the land and prevented forest succession. Its elimination allowed for other native species to take over and recolonize the area.
"This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost to agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a 'win-win' scenario," Dr. Cole said.
If the results are repeatable it's a win-win for coffee drinkers and the environment.
Researchers believe that coffee treatments can be a cost-effective way to reforest degraded land. They may also work to reverse the effects of climate change by supporting the growth of forests across the globe.
The 2016 Paris Agreement made reforestation an important part of the fight against climate change. The agreement incentivizes developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
"We hope our study is a jumping off point for other researchers and industries to take a look at how they might make their production more efficient by creating links to the global restoration movement," Dr. Cole said.