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Anita Ho

Emerson Collective Fellowship

Studies the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence and digital surveillance in health care.

Anita Ho is a bioethicist, health-services researcher, and expert on clinical and organizational ethics. She currently directs the ethics program at Providence St. Joseph in Northern California, and serves on the faculty at the Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of British Columbia, and in the Bioethics Program at the University of California, San Francisco. Her current research is focused on the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence, data, and surveillance monitoring in health care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing, and other public-health surveillance techniques have become increasingly automated and digitized. Ho is particularly concerned about the potential for contact tracing to further perpetuate existing inequities, putting already-vulnerable people, like undocumented front-line workers and communities of color, even more at risk.

As an Emerson Collective Fellow, Ho is examining the ethical issues raised by the use of health care data and digital surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic. She will review systemic surveillance practices and artificial-intelligence technologies used to predict the spread of COVID-19, and will work to develop a set of ethical frameworks and tools to guide health technologists and public health officials in implementing ethical monitoring of the pandemic. Her work seeks to uncover biases in health monitoring and to show how surveillance technologies used during the pandemic have the potential to exacerbate racial injustice and systemic inequities.