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McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics

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Interdisciplinary Informatics: 4 Backgrounds That Prepare You for a Health Informatics Career

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Health informatics is a broad field with many different opportunities. It only makes sense that those individuals entering biomedical informatics are arriving from a wide variety of backgrounds. An undergraduate career or practical work experience in everything from computer science to social work can go a long way towards preparing for a career in informatics.

Here are four backgrounds that you might run into among the students and faculty at SBMI:

Clinical Practices

From nursing to pharmacy, the hands-on experience that comes with a clinical background not only provides an intimate familiarity with the field of health care, but also its potential for the future. Many of SBMI’s students, faculty, and staff have spent quality time on the hospital floor or within private practices. They’re cognizant of the current challenges in health care and the incredible opportunities that biomedical informatics provides.

Computer Science

The two most integral forces in biomedical informatics are health care and technology. It’s no surprise, then, that individuals with a computer science background have found a home at SBMI. As health informatics becomes more ubiquitous, the field is relying on those who can apply the skills learned in the computer programming, engineering, and IT arenas.


Health informatics isn’t just about data. It’s about what is done with the data. As new databases and programs are implemented, there needs to be a plan. This is where the business-savvy professional can help. For instance, EHR implementation requires project management skills, adaptability, and a unique perspective on the industry. In a field growing as quickly as informatics, individuals with a business background are positioned to thrive.


While it may seem like an odd match, a background in the humanities is well-suited to success at SBMI. A career in social work, for example, can translate into a deep understanding of the health care needs of specific populations. These needs can then, in turn, be tackled through informatics. Those with a humanities background will find that biomedical informatics provides a platform through which concrete, positive changes can be made.

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