This summer, medical students Sigurd Norderval (24) and Daniel Ribe (24) have spent four enriching weeks at SPKI. It wasn't many days after they finished their exams in early June before they were settled in at the office in the research park, alongside the rest of the machine learning group at UiT. Neither of them had any experience with computer technology before, and their only experience with statistics was the statistics course and research project in their second year of medical studies, which they have just completed.
The project was based on data from the National Quality Registry for Spinal Surgery, and the goal was to identify patients who would have unacceptably low improvement from spine surgery for herniated discs. With the help of mentors in the Machine Learning group, master's students, and digital resources, they have acquired basic practical skills and knowledge in coding in R, sorting and mapping of data, and a selection of specific methods within machine learning.
There has been a steep learning curve, and we have learned a lot. The team working here is very friendly, and we have been well-received. The project suited us perfectly, and we are grateful for the opportunity to explore concepts that we had not been introduced to in our own study path. We are motivated to learn and are convinced that it's important for us to "speak the same language" so that we can communicate and collaborate effectively across disciplines. Machine learning is currently in the spotlight, and it will likely find its natural place in the healthcare sector as well. As future doctors, it's important that we actively participate in its development. We are provided with the tools to do so through projects like this.
A thousand thanks for a fulfilling summer, and a special thanks to Karl Øyvind Mikalsen and Henrik Lykke Joakimsen for facilitating and guiding the project.
Daniel and Sigurd.