AI in Medicine Graduate Program Approved at University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education approved UAB’s new AI in medicine Master’s program as the state’s first AI-focused medical degree.

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The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) on Friday approved a new graduate program on artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The proposed degree, a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, would be implemented by January 2027. The program will be the first in the state to specialize in the use of AI for medical purposes and aims to meet the needs of the health care industry in Birmingham and throughout Alabama.

“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,” said Robin McGill, deputy director for academic affairs at ACHE.

The program aims to train students for AI-focused medical roles. The health care industry is increasingly using AI as the global AI health care market is projected to grow to $12.2 billion by 2030, according to the proposal. The program will train health care professionals in AI applications in medicine, including skills in deep learning, computer vision, and large language modeling for healthcare data.

Rubin Pillay, chief innovation officer at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, said to the commission that by 2025, when the program is expected to begin, the university system “would have the most comprehensive AI in medicine and healthcare training programs globally.”

“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,” Pillay said.

Stephanie C. Dolan, associate director of planning and policy, gave the commission an informational presentation on AI prior to UAB’s degree presentation. In it, she said that training people on AI will be fundamental for the future workplace, especially with an estimated 12 million people needing to change jobs due to AI.

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

The proposal estimates that $4.5 million in new funds will be needed for the program over the first seven years. During this period, the program is projected to generate $6,246,000 in tuition revenue and is expected to be self-sustaining from the first year.

Interested applicants need a four-year US bachelor’s degree equivalent in computer science, data science, statistics, AI, biomedical, electrical or related engineering fields, as well as a 3.0 minimum GPA and a strong background in calculus, statistics, and linear algebra.

Alabama Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Alabama Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Brian Lyman for questions: info@alabamareflector.com. Follow Alabama Reflector on Facebook and X.

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