PHHP names Mattia Prosperi associate dean for AI and innovation

Dr. Mattia Prosperi
Dr. Mattia Prosperi

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions has appointed Mattia Prosperi, Ph.D., to a new leadership role within the college, associate dean for artificial intelligence and innovation.

Prosperi is a professor in the department of epidemiology and director of the Data Intelligence Systems Lab. His expertise includes data science at large, artificial intelligence and causal machine learning, with a focus on the domains of bio-health informatics and epidemiology. His research leverages technology and data intelligence to develop “interventional AI” models for improving future health and lives. He is an advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in AI research, and the ethical use of AI in health studies so that findings are accurate, fair and do not cause unintended harm.

As associate dean for artificial intelligence and innovation, Prosperi will work collaboratively with the associate deans for research and education and the department chairs to expand PHHP’s AI efforts in the areas of research, teaching and commercialization.

“I am very excited to have Dr. Prosperi in this role! He has tremendous energy and commitment to growing the college’s AI footprint across UF, nationally and internationally,” said Beth A. Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions.

Prosperi, who has served as the college’s coordinator of AI activities, currently leads several projects that employ AI, including the development of algorithms to spot new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, forecast HIV transmission patterns and conduct real-time surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. Furthermore, Prosperi and colleagues are developing the first reporting guidelines on causal prediction models in order to improve the overall quality, transparency and reproducibility of results produced by studies using these models.

In 2020, UF launched its AI initiative, fueled by a $100 million public-private partnership with technology corporation NVIDIA that has enhanced the capabilities of UF’s HiPerGator, one of higher education’s most powerful supercomputers. The goal is to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, create access to AI training and tools for underrepresented communities, and build momentum for transforming the future of the workforce.

The College of Public Health and Health Professions has hired nine new faculty members under UF’s AI Initiative. The college’s new nine-credit AI undergraduate certificate — the first offered by a UF college — will help students apply knowledge in artificial intelligence to future careers in public health and health sciences. A graduate certificate in Artificial Intelligence Research Methodologies in Healthcare and Public Health is also in the works.