UNCW Series to Explore the Role of Artificial Intelligence in Health Care

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

UNCW is launching a seminar series exploring the role of artificial intelligence in medicine in diagnosing, treating and preventing illness. The faculty-led “Artificial Intelligence and Health” series will run throughout 2019-20 as part of the Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.

Artificial intelligence is already being used in medicine and has the potential to revolutionize how health care is delivered. UNCW faculty and staff are collaborating across disciplines to embrace new technologies.

“We are particularly interested in health care innovation, and AI’s role in detecting diseases, treating conditions and even preventing health problems in the future,” said Justine Reel, associate dean of research and innovation in the College of Health and Human Services. 

The first speaker will be Chris Hillier, executive director of innovation at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. His topic will be “Medicine in 2020: What are the implications of artificial intelligence for healthcare as we know it?" 

The series is funded by a $10,000 UNCW Research grant, as well as sponsorships from outside agencies. The organizing committee includes faculty and staff from the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Arts and Sciences and Watson College of Education. Key community partners include the NC Center for Biotechnology and NHRMC. 

“We live in such a connected world,” said computer science professor Karl Ricanek, part of the organizing team. “There is tremendous potential to use AI to extract and interpret the massive amounts of data available to solve health care problems.” Ricanek has employed AI in developing face-aging software that is being used by law enforcement agencies. 

The first “AI and Health” seminar will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 in Lumina Theater. Admission is free, but those interested in attending are asked to register here. The presentation will be followed by an “Innovation Café,” a small-group gathering in which participants are encouraged to share ideas for using AI and other innovations in health care. 

The series is one of two Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series debuting this academic year. A seminar series on coastal resiliency begins Sept. 24 at the Center for Marine Science. The community is invited to attend both seminar series. 

Guided by its Strategic Plan, UNCW encourages collaboration between departments and colleges to further research and academic excellence. 

“I am delighted that the faculty identified locally and globally important themes that build on our existing research and scholarly strengths, and areas where UNCW’s growing research and innovation work can make a difference,” said Associate Provost for Research and Innovation Stuart Borrett. 

The next “AI and Health” seminar will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 4 in Lumina Theater. The invited speakers will be Ricanek and Mohd Anwar, associate professor of computer science at NC A&T University. 

-- Tricia Vance