Second UNCW “AI and Health” Seminar from CAS, CHHS Focuses on Possibilities for Patient Care and Population Health

Friday, October 25, 2019

Artificial intelligence is “the most disruptive technology in health care,” according to Mohd Anwar, associate professor of computer science at N.C. A&T State University. Anwar will join UNCW’s Karl Ricanek in the second installment in the “Artificial Intelligence and Health” Seminar Series on Nov. 4 to discuss how AI and “big data” are changing the health care landscape. 

Anwar’s topic will be “Applying AI to Health Care: From Patient-Level Care to Population Health.” He will discuss AI technologies that have the potential for significant patient care impact and population health in general, and he will address limitations and challenges involving AI-assisted health care. 

Ricanek, professor of computer science and director of the UNCW Institute for Interdisciplinary Identity Sciences (I3S), will follow with a short presentation that explores “Applying AI to Health Care: Examples of Health & Wellness from the Face.” He will explain how AI may be used to identify facial “signals” to predict or diagnose certain medical conditions, such as diabetes. 

“Machines can be trained to extract signals through images of the face and neck,” said Ricanek, whose research in biometrics, artificial intelligence, facial analytics and related topics has led to commercially marketed face-aging software and other applications. 

The AI and Health series is presented by the College of Health and Human Services; the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences; I3S; and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Funding for the AI series, part of the Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series, was provided through the Office of the Associate Provost for Research and Innovation and NC Biotech. A separate group of IRSS presentations focuses on coastal resiliency

Collaborative research that involves or serves the community is one of the foundations of UNCW’s Strategic Plan

“We are looking forward to continuing the momentum from our kickoff event with the second lecture in the ‘AI and Health’ series,” said Justine Reel, CHHS associate dean for research and innovation lead primary investigator on the project. “This presentation will help illuminate the power of data and how to use massive amounts of data to influence population health.” 

Reel and Ricanek collaborated with colleagues from across campus to organize the series. In addition to Reel and Ricanek, co-PI, the organizing committee includes faculty and staff from various colleges and offices: 

CAS: Jess Boersma, associate dean for student success, policy and undergraduate scholarship, director of applied learning and I3S associate director; Julian Keith, chair, Department of Psychology; Elham Ebrahimi, assistant professor of computer science; and Toni Pence, assistant professor of computer science. 

CHHS: Ashley Wells, assistant dean for community engagement and impact; Crystal Dodson, assistant professor, School of Nursing; Kris Hohn, assistant professor, School of Social Work; Eric Richardson, assistant professor and Master of Healthcare Administration program coordinator, School of Health and Applied Human Sciences; Althea Lewis, pre-award grant specialist; and Leslie Owens, events coordinator. 

Watson College of Education: Ray Pastore, associate professor of instructional technology, foundations and secondary education. 

Office of Innovation and Commercialization: Steven Fontana, interim director. 

Office of Distance Education and e-Learning: Amy Ostrom, interim director. 

Community collaborators include Mary Beth Bobek of New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Randall Johnson of the NC Biotechnology Center’s Southeastern Office. 

The seminar, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 4 in Lumina Theater. Please register here if you plan to attend. The next seminar in the series is scheduled for January. 

-- Tricia Vance