College of Pharmacy is Symbiotic Partner in UGA Interdisciplinary Faculty Hiring Initiative

The College of Pharmacy is a prominent participant in an ambitious faculty hiring initiative at the University of Georgia aimed at attracting world-class scholars in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence.

The Presidential Interdisciplinary Faculty Hiring Initiative in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence initially got underway in 2021 with a target of hiring 50 new leading faculty members in 10 specific clusters of scholarship. This past fall, a second phase of the initiative added two new clusters of study and 20 additional positions. Rather than being housed exclusively in a single department or college, the majority of the recruited faculty will focus on the fusion of disciplines in such areas as infectious diseases, drug discoveries, ethics, virtual reality in teaching and learning, resilient communities, and the environment.

The College of Pharmacy will be the beneficiary of seven of the hires, sharing joint appointments with other UGA colleges for five of the positions. Of the 12 interdisciplinary clusters, the College is engaged with “Precision One Health” and “Translational Education Research in the Health Professions.”

Michael Bartlett

“There are two factors that make UGA and our college perfectly positioned for this innovative hiring initiative,” explained Dr. Michael Bartlett, University Professor and CoP Associate Dean for Science Education, Research and Technology. “One, UGA offers a unique environment because of the blend of schools, colleges, centers, and programs. Rarely will you find an educational institution with a combination of units in such disciplines as Human and Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Public Health, Education, and others. For a renowned scholar considering a faculty position at UGA, this interdisciplinary environment can be quite appealing.”

He continued, “Second, a real symbiotic atmosphere continues to evolve at this University and within our college. More and more, we are breaking down silos and setting up interdisciplinary centers so that UGA can be considered a research mecca on an upward trajectory.”

Dr. Bartlett represents the College of Pharmacy on the Precision One Health Custer.  This initiative, aimed at hiring a total of 16 faculty members at UGA, will utilize artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, and more traditional research methods to understand how genetics, the environment, and lifestyle can offer data to support the development of prevention and treatment therapeutics for diseases in humans and animals. Positions currently being advertised by the Precision One Health Cluster (linked to the position description and application) are:

Pharmaceutical Health Services, Outcomes, and Policy

Drug Discovery/Antimicrobial Resistance

Pharmaceutical Health Services, Outcomes, and Policy

Said Bartlett, “The goal is to design optimal preventive or therapeutic care that provides the individual patient (human or animal) with the right medical approach at the right time. The initiative follows a bench to bedside to community paradigm, using basic and applied research to lay the foundation for knowledge that will eventually improve health.”

Michael Fulford

Dr. Michael Fulford, CoP’s Assistant Dean for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives, is leading the Translational Education Research in the Health Professions Cluster. This initiative includes four joint faculty positions that emphasize cutting-edge research focused on advancing best practices in the use of immersive technologies, such as virtual, augmented, and extended reality to enhance learning experiences for health care professionals and health care educators. Simulated learning experiences using VR, AR, and XR will allow students to safely engage in high-risk encounters involving complex patients and intensive care settings and create more advanced opportunities to train future health care professionals in digital therapies, social determinants of health, and digital health.

“These simulation technologies can develop practitioners who are prepared to use mobile technology in the delivery of health care, especially in rural and underserved areas; reduce medication errors using artificial intelligence and data science; and improve patient safety,” explained Dr. Fulford. “The goal is to create an interdisciplinary, collaborative team of researchers and teachers who will study application of best practice in learning design and technology, along with workforce education principles that improve educational and health-related outcomes.”

Current positions being advertised in this Cluster (linked to the position description and application) are:

Learning Design and Technology in the Health Professions

Translational Education in the Health Professions

The Presidential Hiring Initiative was spearheaded by Provost S. Jack Hu.  He remarked, “This hiring initiative builds on the expertise of our existing faculty and leverages our strength as a comprehensive research institution with a land- and sea-grant mission of service. It will give students new learning opportunities while sparking transformative discoveries.”

More details are forthcoming as faculty members are hired.

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