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UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics introduces Applied Master’s Program

Published: March 12, 2011 by Lauren Carrier, MS, UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) began offering a Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics in spring 2011.

The Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics creates an educated workforce with the knowledge and skills to assess, implement, maintain and evaluate Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and computerized health information systems.

“We are very pleased to participate with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in the President’s goal to have every American citizen have an EHR by 2014,” said Jack Smith, MD, PhD, dean of UTHealth SBMI. “In order to achieve this goal, it is estimated that an additional 50,000 people will need to be trained in clinical informatics; currently only 1,000 individuals are trained per year. This program is a central part of achieving workforce requirements.”

The 12-course program will be offered entirely online and will require 36 semester credit hours.

“This is convenient for students with busy work schedules. The faculty will be available to communicate to students through the use of Web 2.0 technologies,” said Juliana J. Brixey, PhD, MPH, RN, an SBMI faculty member who will be teaching courses for the new program. Courses will investigate a broad selection of areas such as the modern American healthcare system, healthcare legislation, primary care facilities, health information security protocols and project management.

The ONC will fund up to 29 full-time students for the one-year Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics program. For selected full-time (9 hours/semester) students, the ONC grant will subsidize 60 percent of tuition and fees, and provide a $15,000 stipend and free student health insurance for the duration of the program.

SBMI was recently awarded more than $30 million in grant awards. The first was a $15 million stimulus grant to establish the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare (NCCD) at UTHealth. The school was one of only four in the nation, including Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, awarded funding through the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) Program. The second award for $15.3 million was to establish a Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC). The Gulf Coast Regional Extension Center (GCREC) is one of 60 RECs nationwide and serves the southern part of Texas.

SBMI also offers a certificate, a Master of Science in Health Informatics Degree, a Doctor of Philosophy Degree and dual-degree programs.

For information, visit: or contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 713-500-3591.