UTSA, UT Health San Antonio medical students learning how to use artificial intelligence

‘It will undoubtedly save lives in the future,’ medical professor says

SAN ANTONIO – Artificial intelligence is all over our lives whether we realize it or not.

Whether it is Netflix recommending a movie, Amazon recommending items to buy, or even an autocorrect on your phone – you are probably using AI every day.

But what about artificial intelligence in medicine?

There is a first-of-its-kind program that partners students at UT Health San Antonio with UTSA in hopes of leading the way in the future of medicine.

It will undoubtedly save lives in the future, and it will also help prevent diseases that will allow us to have more efficient treatment and evaluations of patients,” said Dr. Ron Rodriguez, professor of medical education and urology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. We’re using methods of machine learning to help us understand relationships that might not be apparent to the human eye.”

Rodriguez and his team have been at the forefront of machine learning – artificial intelligence – in the medical field.

It is an extraordinarily powerful means of being able to understand the real world in health and medicine. And I think it’s going to revolutionize how we approach medicine in the future,” Rodriguez said. “It has been the focus for us to try to find a way to educate our medical students, educate our residents and prepare them for the future so that they’re not just being told how to do things, but they’re leading the way.”

The new program to teach medical students how to use artificial intelligence is a novel idea – and it has already begun.

“Our program began with two pilot students who completed the UTSA program last year and are now back in their medical school year four. And then we have a current student who is at UTSA at the moment on leave from the School of Medicine and will come back next year,” said Stephanie Gutierrez, manager of dual degree programs at the Long School of Medicine.

Students learn on both UT Health San Antonio and UTSA campuses.

It takes an extra year of training, and we’re doing this in conjunction with UTSA,” Rodriguez said.

Artificial intelligence is specifically aimed at the applied health care and health sciences space.

I think it’s also much more important that the health care providers be the ones that lead these efforts in, as opposed to the technology experts who don’t have any real background in medicine, in health,” Rodriguez said.

Our students are leading the way in terms of creating the future roles, the future careers of what a physician can do when they have these extra skills,” Gutierrez said.


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About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.