Newswise — Maia Hightower, MD, MBA, MPH, an internist and accomplished healthcare IT executive, has been named the University of Chicago Medicine’s new Executive Vice President and Chief Digital & Technology Officer effective August 15, 2022.

Hightower is CEO and co-founder of Equality AI, a startup that helps clinical teams achieve health equity through responsible AI and machine-learning operations. Until January 2022, she served as chief medical information officer (CMIO) and associate chief medical officer at University of Utah Health. In that role, she led the enterprise’s data warehouse, business intelligence/research applications and virtual care teams while being responsible for digital transformation strategy, governance and operations.

She currently holds an additional position as U of U Health’s senior director for health equity, diversity and inclusion — a role she’s held since March 2020. Prior to her work in Utah, Hightower was CMIO and chief population health officer at University of Iowa Health Care and an associate medical director at Stanford Health Care in California.

“Dr. Hightower comes to our organization with impressive credentials and a long list of accomplishments leveraging digital technology to address health inequity,” said Tom Jackiewicz, President of the University of Chicago Medical Center and Chief Operating Officer of the UChicago Medicine health system.

“She’s worked tirelessly to identify and dismantle structural bias within artificial intelligence and other IT systems, and her leadership will be essential in our organization’s ongoing work to improve health equity and transform our digital infrastructure.”

In the inaugural role at UChicago Medicine, Hightower and her team will support the organization’s mission by using new digital tools and information technology to improve clinical care and outcomes, expand patient engagement and retention, and enhance scientific research. Her leadership will be an essential to propelling the academic health system into the forefront of healthcare digital innovation.

“I’m particularly excited about UChicago Medicine’s shared commitment toward building a transformed healthcare system that uses digital technology to address health and health equity while providing an exceptional healthcare experience — whether it’s one that’s digital or in-person,” said Hightower. “This is important work, particularly digital equity for the diverse communities the health system serves.”

Hightower earned a medical degree and a master’s in public health from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. She did residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. She has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.