The candidate, Dr. Adrian Casillas, is a general internist with board certification in clinical immunology and is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at UCLA. He has previous laboratory-based research experience in immunology and biochemistry. He has also performed some preliminary studies the project sponsor which have not yet been published. The sponsor, Dr. Ron Stevens, is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and of Education. He has been using computer-based tools for medical education since the late 1980's, and lists several publications that describe neural network techniques he has developed. The candidate's career development plan includes a combination of didactic training and research that apply computer-based patient simulations and neural network strategies to the domain of childhood asthma. Didactic work will include basic programming, data basis, networks, and statistics. The proposed research plan has three specific aims. In the first aim, the candidate proposes to build on an existing set of computer-based clinical problem solving cases to construct a comprehensive set of cases that can be used to determine the comprehension of childhood asthma across a broad set of audiences.
The second aim i s to employ artificial neural networks to evaluate performance on the computerized cases.
The third aim i nvolves implementing the computer-based cases and the neural network performance model in three settings: physicians in training, nursing and nurse practitioner students, and asthma patients in the community. To a lesser extent physician experts will be evaluated with the system. To achieve these aims the candidate has garnered the help of faculty in the School of Nursing, the Department of Medicine, and prominent members of the educational community in Los Angeles. The candidate will have access to equipment, supplies, and technical support from the sponsor's laboratory.