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Health Informatics students Zoe Menezes (BSHI ‘25), left, with co-presenter Avani Chhabra (MSHI ‘23), right.

Health Informatics students Zoe Menezes (BSHI ‘25), left, with co-presenter Avani Chhabra (MSHI ‘23), right.

University of Pittsburgh Health Informatics (HI) students Zoe Menezes (BSHI ‘25) and Avani Chhabra (MSHI ‘23) presented their paper “Learning Unbiased Image Segmentation: A Case Study on Plain Knee Radiographs” at the IEEE-EMBS (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers- Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society) International Conference on Biomedical and Health Informatics 2023 (BHI 2023) in Pittsburgh in October. The study focuses on the segmentation of knee joint radiograph images, a process that precisely outlines the structure of knee bones. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in segmentation has raised concerns about fairness across diverse populations. In response to this, their study proposes strategies to mitigate bias in AI models, aiming to promote equity in orthopedics.

The paper was co-authored by students Mehrnaz Abedian (MSHI ‘25), Ismaeel A. Siddiqui (MSHI ‘23) and Sakshi Mehul Thakar (MSHI ‘23) with Assistant Professor and Director of Pitt Health + Explainable AI (Pitt HexAI) Lab Ahmad Tafti as the faculty advisor. “I'm incredibly proud of my talented students at Pitt HexAI Research Laboratory for their remarkable achievement at IEEE BHI 2023,” said Tafti. “Their dedication, hard work and innovative thinking have led to a groundbreaking contribution to our community!”

The presentation was a great example of the collaborative nature of the Health Informatics program, with undergraduates, graduates and faculty bringing together their passions for innovative research in a nurturing, team-based environment that encourages students to excel. Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics (BSHI) Program Director Dilhari DeAlmeida said, “I am especially proud to see how Zoe has excelled as an undergraduate student in the HexAI Research Lab. She was a prospective student two years ago who took my Introduction to Health Informatics class as a sophomore to learn more about what Health Informatics is all about and loved the major and decided to join the program!” 

Health Informatics students Zoe Menezes and Avani Chhabra presenting at IEEE-EMBS 2023

Health Informatics students Zoe Menezes and Avani Chhabra presenting at IEEE-EMBS 2023

Presenting at an international conference is a rite of passage for any academic, and an especially thrilling opportunity for students. Menezes, a junior in the BSHI program, said, “I have learned so much from working with the incredible team at the Pitt Health and Explainable AI Research Laboratory. Collaborating with this team and presenting this paper have both been wonderful opportunities for me to explore the field of research in medical imaging and health informatics.” 

Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) student Chhabra said, “I'm thrilled and deeply honored to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Assistant Professor Tafti and the entire team at the Pitt Health and Explainable AI Research Laboratory for providing me with the incredible opportunity to present our paper. This journey has been nothing short of inspiring and enlightening. It's not just about the paper; it's about the collaborative spirit and the unwavering support I received from the amazing people at Pitt Hex AI. This experience has broadened my horizons, fueled my passion for research, and opened up new avenues for exploration in the field of medical imaging and health informatics. A special thank you goes out to my brilliant co-presenter, Zoe Menezes. This journey has been incredibly rewarding thanks to your dedication and teamwork. Together, we've achieved a milestone that I'm immensely proud of.”

She continues, “I would also like to express my gratitude to IEEE EMBS-BHI 2023 for organizing this outstanding conference and creating a platform for sharing innovative research in health care technology. I believe that when talented individuals and forward-thinking institutions come together, remarkable things happen. This is a testament to the power of teamwork and the pursuit of knowledge. Thank you again, Assistant Professor Tafti and Pitt Hex AI laboratory for making this possible. Your support means the world to me, and I can't wait to take this journey further.”


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Published November 15, 2023