GE Healthcare supports talent pipeline at UWM

Tom Gentile, president & CEO of Healthcare Systems, shows Chancellor Michael Lovell new hand-held imaging technology. GE Healthcare has committed $3 million in support for training and research in computational imaging. (Photo by Troye Fox.)

A more than $3 million commitment from GE Healthcare (GEHC) will support a “first of its kind” talent pipeline for Wisconsin-based medical imaging software developers and researchers, driving the next generation of healthcare technology globally.

Chancellor Michael R. Lovell unveiled the new partnership on Sept. 12, including a $1 million donation to establish the GE Healthcare Center for Advanced Computational Imaging at UWM.

The five-year joint effort will enable UWM to develop technology-specific, advanced-level coursework in specialized software development and provide seed funding for research and collaborative projects related to image and signal processing for medical technology. The collaboration will also provide continuing education opportunities for GEHC technologists.

“UWM will expand existing research and academic strengths with GE Healthcare – a world-class partner with offices that are literally right down the street from our new Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa,” said Lovell. “Our students, faculty and staff will all benefit from participating in initiatives to create software that improves the quality and reduces the cost of medical imaging.”

“The future of medical imaging promises more advanced tools for clinicians and better care for patients,” said Tom Gentile, president & CEO of GEHC’s Healthcare Systems, based in Wisconsin.

UWM’s first academic offering will be a graduate-level certificate in the area of computational imaging that will begin in fall 2013, offered alongside professional development curricula for GE Healthcare employees, according to Ethan Munson, chair of the UWM Department of Computer Science and leader of the new center.

Computational imaging enables image data of organs to be reconstructed via software without additional medical scans. Computational imaging is used in a variety of industries, but expertise in medical applications remains largely based in Silicon Valley.

The GEHC-UWM partnership will help expand the talent pipeline in Wisconsin. More than 85 percent of UWM graduates have historically remained in the state following graduation.

Seed funding for research projects will be coordinated through the UWM Research Foundation using its proven Catalyst Grant model. Research projects awarded funding will be expected to attract subsequent funding from other sources and become self-sustaining. Grant proposals can originate from The College of Engineering & Applied Science as well as a number of other units on campus, including the College of Health Sciences, and math and physics in the College of Letters & Science.

GE Healthcare provides medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GEHC is a unit of General Electric Company.