Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Houston is a city full of treasures. We are the most diverse city in the nation, home to some of the best and brightest minds in a variety of fields. Houston is Space City USA and is home to a phenomenal Museum District and a thriving cultural scene.
The UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics is one of Houston’s treasures, and it has the immense potential to shape the future of health care within the city, state, nation and the whole world.
While health informatics programs continue to be established around the country as the field enjoys near exponential growth, there are four reasons why SBMI stands above the competition.
Established in 1997 by Dr. Doris Ross, UTHealth SBMI was established as a dedicated school of biomedical informatics—something that continues to separate it from other programs.
“The range of projects are much deeper at SBMI because it’s a long-standing school,” says Associate Professor Sahiti Myneni, PhD, MSE.
SBMI has been offering graduate-level degrees for over two decades, and currently provides the following programs: certificates in health informatics, a Master of Health Informatics with a traditional research track and with an applied health informatics track, a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Informatics and dual-degree programs with the UTHealth School of Public Health.
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) is the largest medical complex in the world. It is home to 21 hospitals, employs 106,000 health care workers and staff and receives 7.2 million visitors a year.
Located within the TMC, which is so rich with brilliant minds, UTHealth SBMI is uniquely positioned for collaborative and research opportunities that abound in such an environment.
“Nowhere else in the world,” says Professor Elmer Bernstam, MD, MSE, “is there an informatics program in the middle of a hundred-thousand person medical center.”
Beyond this, Houston is an energy and technology powerhouse, attracting engineers, computer scientists and innovative thinkers.
Students and faculty have come to UTHealth SBMI from a wide array of backgrounds, including clinical care, nursing, engineering, health care management, mental health care, IT, software development and design, business, mathematics, physics, chemistry, library science and more.
The path forward from UTHealth SBMI is just as rich and varied. Students have gone on to become chief information officers, health data managers, nurse informaticists, systems analysis, educators and more.
“The informaticians in this school don’t have just a very basic science approach,” says PhD Candidate Franck Diaz. “They have an openness to new ideas and collaborations. Because it’s abstract, it’s applicable to everything.”
The quality of education at UTHealth SBMI is extremely high—and the value cannot be beat. Rates for students have historically been 58 to 85 percent more affordable than tuition costs for comparable programs in the US for Texas residents, and 15 to 45 percent more affordable for non-Texas residents.
These great reasons to love UTHealth SBMI only scratch the surface of the amazing opportunities the School provides its students, and we project nothing but continued growth. If you are considering pursuing a certificate or graduate degree program in health informatics, look no further than Houston’s UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics.
written by Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA
Dr. Susan Fenton is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston, formerly UTHealth Houston School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI). She is a member of the American Health Information Management Association’s Council on Excellence in Education, and her research interests include workforce development, data management, ICD-10 implementation and health care associated infections.