New University of Maryland Institute for Health Informatics Promises Big Breakthroughs

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (MPower) announced the creation of an Institute for Health Informatics that will focus on artificial intelligence and advanced computing to further develop the field precision medicine and improve healthcare for patients across the state. .

The new institute will be located in North Bethesda under the joint leadership of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), in conjunction with the University of Maryland Medical System and Montgomery County, Maryland.

The Institute for Health Computing is the newest initiative of MPower, a collaboration that was established in 2012 to join the academic strengths of UMB and UMCP to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, promote interdisciplinary research and create more educational opportunities for students.

The institute is expected to open in leased space early next year, with completion of the new lab and office space scheduled for 2028. Initial funding includes $25 million from MPower. The Montgomery County government will inject an additional $40 million to develop the permanent site.

The new institute will formulate algorithms that will guide highly personalized patient care for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, opioid overdose risks and other health conditions. Anonymized data from around 1.8 million patients will be used to generate “clinical insights that could ultimately lead to faster diagnoses, improvements in how treatments are used and a range of other improved outcomes. for our patients, as well as for patients around the world.” says Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System.

Additionally, the institute will increase the availability of telehealth, especially in rural communities. Virtual reality technology is rapidly changing medical education by allowing medical students to perform clinical procedures in virtual environments. “By leveraging these emerging technologies, the institute will serve as a test bed for life-saving training modules before they are rolled out globally,” said Amitabh Varshney, Dean of the College of computer science, mathematics and natural sciences at UMCP.

“The scaling up of research to address grand challenges in the life sciences has shifted from collecting data to using cutting-edge technology to uncover meaningful patterns hidden in data,” according to Darryll J. Pines. , president of the UMCP. “This institute will bring in world-class researchers who explore artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality to collaborate with medical experts, which will have broad impacts on human health and well-being. .”

This theme was echoed by UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell who said, “We are witnessing an unprecedented revolution in healthcare that is being driven by biomedical innovation, digitization of medical records and advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. This new institute will include all of these elements in a synergistic effect that will transform our healthcare system.

The institute is the latest example of how ‘big data’ is revolutionizing the practice of medicine – enabling diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to each patient’s genetic makeup, lifestyle and unique biology. The new wave of personalized medicine is finding its way into leading research universities and academic medical centers across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control now has an Office of Genomics and Precision Public Health, the new name for what was once called the Office of Public Health and Genomics. And in January, the National Institutes of Health announced it would spend $170 million over the next five years on precision nutrition. This initiative, called Nutrition for Precision Health powered by the All of Us (NPH) Research Program, intended to recruit up to 10,000 participants to take part in a variety of research studies at multiple US universities and academic health centers.

Sherry J. Basler