College of Physicians of Philadelphia

The Bernard Behrend Lecture: Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Deus or Machina?


Digital image of "AI" in center with a robotic arm and human arm pointing at words
Digital image of "AI" in center with a robotic arm and human arm pointing at words

Event Details

Event Date




6:00pm - 7:30pm

Event Cost


Past Event

The Bernard Behrend Lecture: Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Deus or Machina?


Artificial Intelligence in medicine has seemingly been 'just over the horizon' for a half century. Well, AI has definitely arrived. With fanfare. And with a complicated mix of peril and promise, knowns and unknowns, advocates and abolitionists. In this talk, we will explore what AI actually is today, where is AI is mostly likely to be impactful in the near term, both for better patient care and to alleviate clinician burnout. We will discuss what we (on the front lines) are grappling with as AI washes over research, clinical care, medical education and training, and business operations in healthcare. Will AI in medicine be a higher, godlike power diminishing the role of clinicians or something more akin to the stethoscope or radiographic scan - a transformative (virtual) machine deployed in the service of healthcare? A deus or a machina?


This event is in conjunction with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Bernard Behrend family.


Event Timeline:

6 pm: Lecture with Dr. Hanson

7 pm: Q and A

7:30 pm: Light Reception


About the Speaker:

C. William Hanson, III, MD, FCPP, Chief Medical Information Officer and Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, is an internist, anesthesiologist, and intensivist.  Dr. Hanson has extensive experience in medical informatics and was Visiting Professor in the Princeton University Department of Computer Science between 2002 and 2005. Dr. Hanson’s anesthetic specialty is cardiac anesthesia (cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, lung and heart transplantation).

His research using “electronic nose” technology to detect diseases such as pneumonia and sinusitis by breath analysis has been featured in Scientific American. He published The Edge of Medicine: The Technology That Will Change Our Lives, a non-fiction book profiling innovations in biotechnology that are changing the delivery of medical care and the ways in which they’re altering the human experience.  He also published, Smart MedicineHow the Changing Role of Doctors Will Revolutionize Health Care, revealing the revolutionary changes sweeping through the medical community.  Dr. Hanson’s research has been featured in publications including Popular Science, U.S. News and World Report, and he has been a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air and documentaries seen on the Discovery Channel.


About Bernard Behrend, MD, FCPP (1908-2004)

Dr. Behrend was an internist with a subspecialty in Occupational and Industrial Medicine. A graduate of Germantown High School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Behrend was one of the first physicians to receive board certification in occupational medicine in 1958. His interest in this discipline evolved while serving as a surgical examiner for the Army Induction Board during the 1940s. Following his recuperation from tuberculosis, he pursued his career in the emerging field of industrial and occupational medicine. He was the Medical Director at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Director of Occupational Health at Smith, Kline and French (Glaxo SmithKline), Albert Einstein Medical Center and the Louis Goldsmith Clothier. Dr. Behrend also provided care at the Sidney Hillman Medical Center to members of the Male Apparel Industry Union. He was a frequent contributing author in Hygeia Magazine, which was the official publication of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Behrend was Emeritus Associate Professor of Occupational Medicine at The Medical College of Philadelphia.

The children of Dr. Behrend - David, Daniel, and Catherine - are honored to have established this lectureship.

Please Note:
  • Access to the Mütter Museum is not included with this event