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Dept. of Veteran Affairs Launches Artificial Intelligence Institute

December 5, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a National Artificial  Intelligence Institute in an effort to further advance the health and well-being of veterans.

In a statement, the department said the new Institute will incorporate input from veterans and partners across federal agencies, industry, nonprofits and academia, to prioritize artificial intelligence research and development that is meaningful to veterans and the public.  

“VA has a unique opportunity to be a leader in artificial intelligence,” said Secretary Robert Wilkie.

“The Artificial Intelligence Institute will usher in new capabilities and opportunities that will improve health outcomes for our nation’s heroes,” he said.

Department officials said the VA is an ideal environment for advancing AI technology because it is both the largest integrated health care system in the country and home to the Million Veteran Program, the world’s largest genomic knowledge base linked to health care information.

The VA currently uses AI to reduce Veterans’ wait times, identify those at high risk for suicide, help doctors interpret the results of cancer lab tests and choose effective therapies.

The department’s AI uses computers to simulate human thinking, especially in applications involving large amounts of data. It is also being leveraged in the commercial technology sector and is seeing early uses in health care.

The new Institute is a joint initiative between the VA’s Office of Research and Development and the VA secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships.

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