Professor Arcot Sowmya is one of nine women to receive an Award for outstanding achievements and contributions in digital health in the 2023 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Awards.

The awards, presented by Telstra Health, profile the careers and stories of women aiming to inspire future leaders in the health and aged care sectors, and contribute to greater gender diversity in digital health.

Professor Sowmya was recognised for advancing medical research through technology.

“Robust digital health solutions require multiple skills and qualities. There is not one specific person or group that can achieve this on their own. I hope the diverse groups of people required can collectively work together to deploy these solutions, with respect for people’s privacy and confidentiality central to designs,” says Prof. Sowmya.

“I hope my legacy is to make a difference to health care using intelligent computing, and to show it is possible to pursue both successful personal and professional lives, which may inspire my students and family to create purposeful lives too.”

Telstra Health Managing Director, Elizabeth Koff AM, congratulated the award recipients, saying the awards highlight the breadth and depth of rewarding careers in digital health for women, who are traditionally under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforces.

“For gender equity to be achieved we require equity in all areas of endeavour, from our sporting fields to our frontline workers in healthcare, education and emergency services, all the way to our executive leadership teams and boardrooms.

“It brings us pleasure also that our awards alumni continues to grow, enabling connections within and throughout our industry, bringing a network together of like-minded individuals striving for brilliance to improve health outcomes, healthcare systems and clinician experiences,” Ms Koff said.

This awards initiative supports the purpose of the network – to connect, share, inspire and celebrate – by raising awareness about the opportunities in the digital health sector and inspiring others to follow the lead of our award recipients.

Professor Sowmya is a leading expert in developing machine learning solutions and has made significant contributions to digital health in biomedical imaging and health informatics. Her work has yielded measurable societal impact by developing powerful machine and deep learning techniques for the detection, analysis and identification of anomalies and other diagnoses in large medical imaging and related clinical datasets.

The applications include classification of diffuse lung disease patterns in HRCT lung images; 3D detection of calcified pleura in the diaphragmatic area and thickened pleura on the costal surfaces from MDCT images; improved feature extraction from multimodal prostate MRI for prostate cancer detection; Diabetic Retinopathy lesion detection in the peripheral retina in Ultra Wide Field images; classification of MCI subtypes in multimodal datasets; prostate segmentation in 4D perfusion MR sequences; and automatic fetal heart function assessment from 4D ultrasound.

The 2023 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Awards report profiles the 9 award recipients, by sharing their inspiring stories, achievements and contributions to digital health.

In Australia, women make up 75% of the Australian healthcare workforce, however, leadership positions are disproportionately held by men. The digital health sector can pave the way for greater gender diversity in the sector.