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Health Care Spotlight: UF Health AI Initiative

Health Care Spotlight: UF Health AI Initiative

Health Care Spotlight: UF Health AI Initiative


UF Health is no stranger to the rapidly growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, UF Health announced the launch of a new AI initiative to further their research and development in this area. The initiative is focused on providing students, faculty and staff with access to AI resources and education.

Led by the UF Health AI Steering Committee, the UF Health colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions and Veterinary Medicine opened 30 faculty positions to develop and apply AI methods and tools in biomedical discovery, health care delivery and public and population health.

The initiative will focus on four main areas:

  • Research objective – Develop new AI tools and methods to solve real-world problems
  • Education objective – Provide students with an understanding of AI concepts and the ability to apply it to their medical fields
  • Technology objective – Develop new AI technologies and applications throughout the UF Health domain
  • Outreach objective – Translate and create awareness about AI and its potential applications
HiPerGator by Nvidia at the University of Florida

The initiative also includes UF spurring innovation with its Artificial Intelligence Research Catalyst Fund which provides opportunities, funding and mentorships for students who want to

explore AI research and development. It also offers a variety of AI workshops and seminars, as well as an AI certificate program.

A $100 million private-public partnership with the Nvidia Corporation resulted in UF’s HiPerGator — the most powerful AI supercomputer in higher education in the nation. In 2021, UF created GatorTron™, an artificial intelligence that accelerates research and medical decision-making by extracting insights from massive volumes of clinical data at lightning speed.


How AI is Advancing UF Research

UF Health’s problem-solving culture generates questions and data that further advance AI to improve health and health equity at individual, community, population and health system levels. UF Health research teams deploy AI techniques to harness big data and develop support systems and predictive analytics that help patients and clinicians make better health care decisions.

To optimize diagnostic and therapeutic development, UF’s researchers are leveraging AI in tandem with UF Health’s data resources, imaging facilities, screening capabilities and sequencing technologies.

UF Health faculty are also pioneering methods to link clinical, omics, geospatial, environmental and other data for use with AI. Such links can help researchers identify pathways for health and diseases and develop corresponding interventions to improve health.

Examples of Use of AI at UF Health

  • Utilizing AI to predict new coronavirus variants
  • AI helping to better predict hepatitis C treatment outcomes
  • Predicting who may develop certain rare diseases
  • Developing precision dosing for treatment in preventing dementia
  • Predicting patients at high-risk for developing opioid use disorder and overdose
  • AI techniques revealing the role of gut dysbiosis and depression and high blood pressure
  • Predicting post-operative complications


Dr. Joshua Wong, Assistant Professor at the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, is helping to transform clinical care through the use of AI.

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Wong’s laboratory is a part of the University of Florida Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative, where he focuses on utilizing AI to improve and transform clinical care and medical education for those with DBS for movement disorders. His lab focuses on applying cutting-edge machine learning techniques to neuroimaging, connectomics and electrophysiology.

According to Wong, there is a healthy amount of skepticism in regard to traditional science and statistics and how AI is different. There is a concern that AI could eventually replace doctors, but that is not the case. AI will help support doctors’ workflow by analyzing the thousands of points of data that inundate a doctor from each of their patients.

The Future of AI Initiatives at UF Health

To complement robust research services and resources available through UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research and domain-focused centers and institutes, UF and UF Health continuously utilize three building blocks that enhance AI initiatives in the health sciences:

  • There is a growing community of more than 120 data scientists, domain experts interested in health-related AI research and applications spanning 12 colleges in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Central Florida.
  • Complementary institutional and statewide data repositories can be leveraged for a broad spectrum of AI uses, such as the UF Health Integrated Data Repository and OneFlorida Data Trust.
  • Collaborating with researchers, community services and caregivers across a range of medical settings cultivates opportunities to engage with other industries, such as the UF-NVIDIA partnership.


The University of Florida’s AI Initiative is just one of many such initiatives being launched in universities around the world. AI is quickly becoming one of the most important fields of research, with the potential applications being thoroughly explored. By providing students with access to resources and education, UF is helping to ensure that the next generation of AI researchers and developers are well-prepared.

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