The UCSF/UC Berkeley Joint Program in Computational Precision Health (CPH) is a new program that will change health care practice and policy locally and globally. CPH is working both to train the next generation of computational health leaders, and to realize a vision of computational health in practice – moving beyond discovery to implementation, and beyond designing technology for only the healthy and wealthy to scalable delivery to all patients and communities.
Key CPH Principles
The wide scope of CPH research rests on some key principles:
Augmented Intelligence: At CPH, the computer is not meant to be the “smartest doctor in the room.” CPH solutions prioritize approaches that help clinicians, patients, and public health practitioners work with machines, leveraging rather than replacing the strengths of each.
Whole person care: Four in ten adults in the United States have more than one chronic disease. CPH moves beyond single-disease approaches to address prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of whole individuals no matter their unique constellation of conditions and life situations. We are committed to computational health delivering fair and equitable outcomes in all settings for all persons – including the most vulnerable–and being demonstrably safe and effective over time.
Bridging Clinical to Community Health: Computation can improve and integrate quality and effectiveness across care settings ranging from academic medical centers to community health programs where there is no doctor. CPH prioritizes application of computation within and beyond the hospital walls, and the bridging of information silos to enable data-driven, precision care to improve clinical and public health.
Why UCSF & UC Berkeley?
No other place in the world matches the combined strengths of UC Berkeley and UCSF in computer science, engineering and statistics coupled with world-class health care, unparalleled access to health care data, and a long and storied history of scientific breakthroughs that have repeatedly changed the world.
The CPH program unites these two research and education powerhouses to transform health beyond what either can achieve alone.
CPH Faculty and Environment
CPH blends top computational and health faculty from both institutions into a singular unparalleled intellectual community, and recruits world-class faculty dedicated to CPH. Graduate programs that bridge the two campuses are training a new class of talent to live and think at the intersection of health, computation, and equity, providing an engine for innovation and a powerful draw for the best faculty in the world.
The core of CPH’s intellectual community is a joint Augmented Graduate Group (AGG) of more than 50 faculty from both campuses and multiple disciplines. These faculty include those specifically endowed in Computational Precision Health; participating clinical and research faculty from UCSF Health, the Veterans Administration, and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital; and participating faculty from UC Berkeley’s Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Statistics, School of Public Health and many others. The AGG offers a PhD program as well as a Designated Emphasis program for students in other PhD programs wishing to incorporate CPH fundamentals and advising into their dissertation work.
Supporting CPH’s activities is an exceptional high-performance computing and data infrastructure that provides investigators ready access to the latest AI tools and platforms, as well as de-identified health information including data and notes from millions of clinical encounters, more than 7.5 million clinical images, results from thousands of cancer genetic tests and curated knowledge resources (in both traditional and graph theoretical format) spanning molecules (e.g., genomics, proteomics) to community (e.g., geo-coded lcoal environmental data). Deep partnership with UCSF Health provides a real-world laboratory for testing and deploying AI and machine learning tools in clinical practice.
The program is also developing partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders to enable translation of CPH advances to health policy and to implementation in healthcare, government, and other sectors for maximum impact.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
The promises of computation for health should be available to everyone regardless of personal or group characteristics such as (but not limited to) race, sex, and gender. CPH is committed to equity in design, testing, and deployment of computational approaches, as well as to promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in research, teaching, and service. We recognize the intrinsic relationship among diversity, equity, inclusion, and excellence in both academic and real-world settings, and commit to offering open, inclusive, and equitable access to opportunities for learning and development.
Governance & Leadership
CPH is led by faculty Co-Directors Dr. Maya Petersen (UCB) and Dr. Ida Sim (UCSF), under the direct auspices of the Chancellors of each university. The Augmented Graduate Group administers graduate training under the Graduate Divisions. Faculty with primary appointments in the CPH Joint Program are within the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society at UC Berkeley and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UCSF.
Advances in computation have transformed industries such as finance, journalism, and transportation, but the promise of artificial intelligence, machine learning and generative AI have yet to be realized in the daily delivery of medicine and public health. Existing data sets are often limited in size, scope, representativeness, and accessibility. Algorithms built on these data sets keep their code secret, making validation or improvement difficult, and preventing the setting of benchmarks to compare performance levels. Cancer and other risk prediction algorithms that perform well in testing nonetheless remain unavailable in clinical practice, or are not designed with sufficient attention to workflow and implementation in the clinical setting or variability across settings.
The CPH program grew out of a series of collaborative discussions between UCSF and UC Berkeley between 2019 and 2020 that identified the intersection of health and computation as a singular opportunity for a cross-campus initiative to bring transformative change. CPH was launched in Fall 2021 with a significant gift to recruit 4 endowed faculty and to establish a PhD and a Designated Emphasis program.
The program is now fully established with 4 endowed faculty hires, a Graduate Group of more than 50 faculty across UCB and UCSF, two cohorts of Designated Emphasis students, and our inaugural PhD cohort in the 2023-2024 academic year.