VA establishes new National Artificial Intelligence Institute

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the National Artificial Intelligence Institute, with the aim of boosting the health and wellness of veterans through advanced AI and machine learning technologies.

The institute will incorporate feedback from veterans and other partners across federal agencies, industry, nonprofits and academia, said VA officials. The goal is to “prioritize and realize” AI research and development that can help veterans and others.

NAII is a joint initiative between VA’s Office of Research and Development and Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. Professionals there will design, execute and collaborate on strategies that build on the American AI Initiative and the National AI R&D Strategic Plan.

VA officials note that the agency offers an environment well-suited for advancing AI, given the extensive integration of the VA health system and projects such as the Million Veteran Program, the largest genomic knowledge base in the world

Among its many current use cases, VA harnesses AI to help reduce veterans’ wait times, identify those at high risk for suicide, help doctors interpret the results of cancer lab tests and guide treatment decisions.

“VA has a unique opportunity to be a leader in artificial intelligence,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA’s artificial intelligence institute will usher in new capabilities and opportunities that will improve health outcomes for our nation’s heroes.”

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