NYU McSilver Creates Hub to Address Impact of AI on Poverty, Race and Public Health

Logo for the new AI Hub

The AI Hub at McSilver will focus on research, policies and thought leadership relating to how artificial intelligence systems can advance equity and address disparities.

Contact: Sheryl Huggins Salomon, mcsilver.comms@nyu.edu

The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research is announcing a $5 million gift from philanthropists Martin Silver and Dr. Constance McCatherin Silver (the Institute’s Founder) to establish a groundbreaking hub to investigate how artificial intelligence-driven systems can be used to equitably address poverty and challenges relating to race and public health, and to provide thought leadership on the implications.

The new initiative will be called The AI Hub at McSilver. It will leverage the institute’s national visibility and influence on issues such as youth suicide and mental health, poverty and racial disparities. The Hub will also help to advance NYU’s leadership in the use of AI to tackle complex social problems in alignment with the university’s Strategies to Reduce Inequality initiative, which is co-led by NYU McSilver.

“Artificial intelligence holds promise for innovations leading to the development of novel interventions that improve health, education and well-being for poverty-impacted and marginalized communities,” says Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, Executive Director for the NYU McSilver Institute. “This technology also has the potential to perpetuate long-standing inequities, if we are not careful. Therefore, the work of the AI Hub at McSilver will be to lead cross-disciplinary research, intervention development, policy advocacy and public conversations for use of AI to improve lives equitably.”

Martin Silver, Dr. Constance McCatherin Silver, and Dr. Michael A. Lindsey
Martin Silver, Dr. Constance McCatherin Silver, and Dr. Michael A. Lindsey

Among the hub’s initial areas of focus will be building on the institute’s work to answer whether AI can be used to better predict suicide rates and behaviors by race, geography, income and other demographic variables, with other innovative public health research and interventions to follow.

NYU McSilver’s research into Black youth suicide behavior has been widely cited and covered by academic press and news media. As well, Dr. Lindsey led the working group of experts that produced the seminal report for the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health: “Ring The Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.”

The AI Hub at McSilver will also examine how data is gathered and processed for use by artificial intelligence, and identify potential biases and inequities. Furthermore, it will advocate for methods and policies that do not perpetuate inequities for people in underserved and marginalized populations.

The funding is part of a combined gift that also includes the NYU Silver School of Social Work. “This gift positions NYU Silver and the McSilver Institute for leadership in leveraging data science and AI to design efficient, high-impact interventions that tackle urgent challenges and inequities and can be disseminated at wide scale,” said Martin Silver. Added Dr. Silver, “Social workers have a pivotal role to play in addressing society’s most intractable problems, and this gift aims to support innovative and visionary work within the profession for years to come.”

Learn more about The AI Hub at McSilver, and reach out to mcsilver@nyu.edu with any questions.

About the NYU McSilver Institute

The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices. Learn more at mcsilver.nyu.edu and sign up for updates.

Portrait of Constance McCatherine Silver
Constance McCatherin Silver, PHD, MSW
Photo of Dr. Michael A. Lindsey
Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH
Dean of the Silver School of Social Work