UC Berkeley, UCSF launch joint program in computational precision health

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UC Berkeley and UCSF have launched a joint program in computational precision health with the hopes of addressing inequity within healthcare. The program hopes to matriculate students beginning fall 2023.

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UC Berkeley and UCSF have launched a joint program in computational precision health, or CPH.

The launch comes after an anonymous $50 million dollar gift that will endow faculty positions, support students and provide startup funds for program operations, according to co-directors of the program, Ida Sim, professor of medicine at UCSF, and Maya Petersen, campus associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics.

Announced Oct. 20, the program is aimed at improving equity within the healthcare system, and a doctorate program is expected to begin by 2023, according to a Berkeley News article.

Additionally, Sim and Petersen hope the program will build a new field, one that will bring together advances in computer science, public health, statistics and medicine.

“(We hope) to establish UC Berkeley and UCSF as the unequivocal world leaders in this new discipline, and to create an intellectual home for the best minds working in this field,” Sim and Petersen said in an email.

As co-directors, Sim and Petersen direct both the vision and strategic growth of the program. They also oversee newly hired faculty, and ensure that the joint faculty work as a cohesive team with shared goals. 

The program was developed jointly between committees at UCSF and UC Berkeley, who spent 2019-2021 engaged in collaborative conversations about their visions for the programs, according to Sim and Petersen.

The program currently has 39 faculty members from both UCSF and UC Berkeley in various departments including neurology, industrial engineering and the division of computing, data science and society. By July 2022, Sim and Petersen hope to hire four more joint faculty members, and hope to see students matriculate into the doctorate program in fall 2023.

“CPH is a transformational opportunity to leverage the strengths of two incredible universities to advance the full spectrum of computational health research, ” said Julia Adler-Milstein, professor of medicine at UCSF and faculty at CPH, in an email. “Building a doctoral program will also allow us to attract the best and brightest students at a formative time in their research careers.”

Contact Anna Armstrong at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @annavarmstrongg.