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WiDS Posts | September 13, 2023

7th Annual WiDS Datathon 2024 Challenges: Equity in Healthcare

Women in Data Science (WiDS) is thrilled to launch its 7th annual WiDS Datathon competition. The WiDS Datathon is an opportunity to discover and hone data science skills while solving an interesting and critical social impact challenge. WiDS provides a supportive environment for participants to connect, share interests, learn from, help each other, and have a lot of fun! Our plan for this next year is designed to provide flexibility and attract a broader community of (aspiring) data scientists, from those starting out to those with experience, including undergraduate and graduate college and university students.


WiDS Worldwide is on a mission to increase participation of women in data science to benefit societies worldwide. We need to support the advancement of women’s healthcare with urgency.

Addressing healthcare inequity is critical and has an extensive positive impact on health, society, and the economy. Women often encounter distinct health challenges and stand to gain significantly from efforts to ensure equity in access to healthcare. Achieving health equity involves addressing disparate treatments based on demographic and societal factors so that in the future women can achieve their highest level of health and well-being.

The Datathon 2024 Challenges:

Gilead Sciences is the sponsor for this year’s Datathon. They provided a rich, real-world dataset which contains information about demographics, diagnosis and treatment options, and insurance provided about patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 2015-2018. The dataset originated from Health Verity, one of the largest healthcare data ecosystems in the US. It was enriched with third party geo-demographic data to provide views into the socio economic aspects that may contribute to health equity. Using this dataset, the following versions of the Datathon were created:

WiDS Datathon++

This challenge is designed to be integrated into college and university classrooms and involves a machine learning task where students will predict time to treatment of women patients who are diagnosed with metastatic triple negative breast cancers (metastatic TNBC). Metastatic TNBC is considered the most aggressive TNBC, and women who are diagnosed with it are among those who are in the most urgent need for timely treatment. Students will develop a model to predict how many days it takes for a patient to receive the first treatment for their cancer diagnosis based on patients’ characteristics. Differences in the wait time to get treatment is a good proxy for disparities in healthcare access. Students are also encouraged to go beyond the predictive challenge and engage in discussions in order to generate additional insights and to understand the real-world implications of the results.

This challenge will run September 2023 – June 2024. This challenge, available only to colleges and universities, can be offered as a project in more advanced undergraduate or graduate courses. Learn more about how you can bring the WiDS Datathon++ to your classroom.

WiDS Datathon:

These challenges are designed for all data science enthusiasts who are discovering or building their data skills. Participants will develop a model to predict if the time for a patient to receive their first treatment for their diagnoses is within a certain length of time. For those who have never tried machine learning, we will be releasing a series of guides to help you get started with the algorithms and dataset. Many WiDS ambassadors will host datathon workshops, where participants will be able to receive mentorship, form teams, and hone their data science skills.

Global challenges will run from January – March 2024 and April – June 2024. Sign up.

Participate in the WiDS Datathon 2024:

Data science enthusiasts:
Ready to hone your data science skills?

Sign up

University instructors:
Want to bring the WiDS Datathon to your classroom?

Learn more

About Gilead Sciences, WiDS Datathon Sponsor: Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development, and commercialization of medicines, primarily in the fields of virology, infectious diseases, oncology, and other areas of unmet medical need. At Gilead, we are committed to creating a healthier world for everyone. And ​​​​​​​through bold and transformative science, we’re driving innovation that has the potential to become the next generation of life-changing medicines.

gilead sciences