University of Alabama at Birmingham greenlights AI in Medicine Graduate Program

Alabama’s Higher Education Commission (ACHE) gave the green light on Friday to a novel graduate program in artificial intelligence (AI) focusing on medicine at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Expected to launch by January 2027, the new offering, a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, marks a pioneering effort within the state, honing in on AI application in the medical domain to cater to the healthcare landscape in Birmingham and across Alabama.

Deputy director for academic affairs at ACHE, Robin McGill, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “This program does really seem to be at the leading edge of what’s going on across the country and therefore it’s very exciting.”

The program’s core goal is to equip students for roles centered around AI in healthcare. The adoption of AI within the healthcare sector is on the rise, with the global market forecasted to reach $12.2 billion by 2030, as per the proposal. Students will gain proficiency in AI applications in medicine, encompassing skills such as deep learning, computer vision, and large language modeling for healthcare data.

Rubin Pillay, the chief innovation officer at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, outlined to the commission that by 2025, the university system is poised to offer one of the most comprehensive AI training programs in medicine and healthcare globally.

According to Pillay, “UAB will not only be the only institution in Alabama offering this comprehensive suite of AI training. They will be the only one nationally and globally as well.”

In an enlightening presentation preceding the UAB degree proposal, Stephanie C. Dolan, associate director of planning and policy, emphasized the imperative of training individuals in AI for future workforce readiness, particularly in light of an estimated 12 million individuals needing to switch roles due to AI.

Dolan stressed, “This means [employees] have to be upskilled and reskilled now, not later.”

The proposal forecasts a requirement of $4.5 million in new funding over the initial seven years for the program. This investment period is anticipated to yield $6,246,000 in tuition revenue, marking the program as self-sustainable from year one.

Prospective candidates must hold a four-year US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in computer science, data science, statistics, AI, biomedical, electrical engineering, or related fields, along with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Furthermore, a strong foundation in calculus, statistics, and linear algebra is essential.

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