UF to use $23.5 million grant to build AI infrastructure to improve critical care

Dr. Yulia Levites Strekalova
Dr. Yulia Levites Strekalova

The University of Florida has been awarded $3.6 million of a $23.5 million multicenter grant for a four-year data-generation project that is unprecedented in its scope, aimed at building an infrastructure for artificial intelligence in critical care and advancing artificial intelligence in ways that improve patients’ ability to recover from life-threatening illnesses.

A team of eight principal investigators, including three from UF — Yulia Levites Strekalova, Ph.D., M.B.A., an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions department of health services research, management and policy; Azra Bihorac, M.D., M.S., FCCM, FASN of the UF College of Medicine; and Parisa Rashidi, Ph.D. of the UF Wertheim College of Engineering — will lead the network of connected intensive care units.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence, or Bridge2AI program, this project creates a network of university health systems that will support a comprehensive repository of data for AI research from more than 100,000 critically ill patients. UF Health will be a vital contributor to the data repository, along with other major health systems, including Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard; Emory University; Duke University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Columbia University and the Mayo Clinic.

Other Bridge2AI components — involving UF faculty from the colleges of medicine, communication, pharmacy, law and engineering — include expanding access to AI knowledge and resources by involving the Gainesville community in AI training through UF’s Citizen Scientist program and a fellowship initiative for local high school teachers.

The Citizen Scientist program, which enables researchers to receive feedback from the community about their work, will offer a publicly available educational module about medical AI ethics, and the UF Center for Precollegiate Training will offer summer fellowships for two local high school math teachers who will develop an AI and programming curriculum for high school students that can be shared with teachers across the country.

“By design, this project brings together experts from multiple disciplines,” Levites Strekalova said. “We’re creating skills and workforce development programs for medical professionals, K-12 teachers and citizen scientists. Our efforts will have a national impact, which is both humbling and exciting.”

Read the full story by Cody Hawley