The Big Data Health Science Conference is a signature annual event of the UofSC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC). The second annual Big Data Health Science Conference was held virtually February 5-6, 2021. The theme of the conference, “Unlocking the Power of Big Data in Health: Bringing Innovation into Improved Care and Prevention” was selected for its relevance to the pandemic our nation and the world is facing today.

The conference hosted over 40 speakers from government, industry, academia, and health care systems and offered a combined 12 plenary sessions, 9 breakout sessions and workshops, virtual poster presentations, and a variety of other virtual galleries.

Along with University of South Carolina President, Robert L. Caslen Jr., Arnold School of Public Health Dean, G. Thomas Chandler marked the beginning of the conference with their welcoming and opening remarks, during which, Dean Chandler congratulated the winning Student Case Competition teams. In his remarks, President Caslen stated,

“So much has happened since we last met, especially since we had to adapt virtually overnight to COVID-19…But through the challenge, we’ve learned time and again that science and data are vital elements in solving the largest questions of our time. Not only crisis in COVID but in many other of our state and our nation’s challenges and issues that arise.”

While announcing the Student Case Competition winners, Dean Chandler also noted,

“If there was ever a year where Big Data was needed to bring help and assistance to all of society this has certainly been it.”

Among the large selection of speakers were Dr. Susan Gregurick (NIH), Dr. Steve Bennett (SAS), Dr. Dolores Albarracin (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), Dr. Sean Young (UCLA), Hugh Welch (Columbia VA Health Care System), and Professor Sultan Haider (Innovation Think Tank Siemens Healthineers). Breakout sessions were hosted by several of the BDHSC Cores. Each two-hour breakout session hosted multiple experts in the areas of electronic health records, geospatial, genomic, and social media Big Data research. Workshops were also provided by the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.

The conference served as an opportunity for the BDHSC to inspire a Big Data health science approach for our world with the perspective that information, insights, and intelligence existing in health care data can be unlocked efficiently using Big Data Science. Despite the need to shift the normally in-person conference to a virtual format, turnout for this year’s conference remained high, with over two-hundred attendees logging into the event.

Commemorating the end of the conference was UofSC College of Pharmacy Dean, Stephen Cutler. In his closing remarks, Dean Cutler said,

“The two-day conference has helped accelerate the overarching goals of the center, including achieving its mission which is to be an innovative driven enterprise that can facilitate and accelerate a sustained high-caliber transformation of the University of South Carolina into a global leader in Big Data health science. And as we have seen over the past 2 days, we have leveraged the existing expertise and resources in Big Data Science and health research to promote the utilization of analytics in healthcare research and enhancing the academic training of students and faculty.”

A video recap of 2021 conference highlights can be viewed below. The BDHSC will hold its third annual conference in February of 2022. 

About BDHSC:
As part of the UofSC Excellence Initiative, the BDHSC serves as a campus-wide interdisciplinary enterprise that conducts cutting-edge research and discovery, offers professional development and academic training, and provides service to the community and industry. The BDHSC consists of five content cores (Electronic Health Records Core, Genomics Core, Bionanomaterials Core, Geospatial Core, and Social Media Core) and two functional hubs (Technology Hub and Business/Entrepreneurship Hub) that promote the utilization of Big Data analytics in health-related research, service, and academic training. The leadership structure of the BDHSC follows a team science approach with two MPIs (Dr. Xiaoming Li & Dr. Bankole Olatosi). The BDHSC has a strong campus-wide representation of more than 40 faculty/staff from different departments and colleges/units. The BDHSC is governed by a Steering Committee and is supported by Internal and External Advisory Committees.