Doctor of Health Informatics (DHI) Program
2018-2020 Student Handbook

Program Description
and Goals
Doctorate in Health Informatics Admission Process Application Deadlines Transfer Credit
Degree Requirements for
the Master of Science in Health Informatics
Course of Study Translational Project  

Program Description and Goals

The program is the nation’s first advanced practice degree in health informatics. The DHI includes unique curriculum built for professionals seeking a terminal degree in the field of health informatics.

The degree is geared towards professionals with documented executive or management-level healthcare experience. This practice doctorate program provides informatics leaders with the advanced education required to translate evidence from original research, evaluate current practices, and utilize critical thinking to accelerate the adoption of best practices in clinical and healthcare organizations.

Instruction for the program is in a hybrid environment with more than 50% of the coursework taught online. After completing necessary didactic courses, DHI students must complete a large-scale translational project at a healthcare organization. Students work under advisor guidance while completing the project, so students have the opportunity to translate evidence from original research and accelerate the adoption of best health informatics practices.

The program goals are to help students:

  • Assume leadership positions throughout the healthcare industry having integrated health informatics with organizational leadership and ethics.
  • Design, implement and evaluate health information technology quality improvement projects in health care systems.
  • Implement evidence-based practice to improve human health.
  • Employ effective communication and collaboration skills to identify and implement best practices in health care delivery.

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Doctorate in Health Informatics Admission Process

The applicant should present a completed application and official documentation of the following:

  1. A completed online application & $60 application fee
  2. Official transcripts from every post-secondary school attended
  3. A baccalaureate or higher degree (master’s degree preferred)
  4. No minimum requirement. Majority of successful applicants have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  5. A resume or curriculum vitae
  6. A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score. GRE waivers will not be considered for the DHI program application. Official GRE test scores must be no more than five (5) years old.
  7. For international applicants, a minimum TOEFL score of 87 is acceptable on the internet-based test. A minimum IELTS score is 7. F-1 sponsorship is not available for students in the DHI program.
  8. Submit a three-page single spaced personal statement that addresses the following items:
    1. A brief summary of your background in all relevant fields including management or executive level healthcare experience.
    2. A statement of the applicant’s short and long-term career objectives, including specific information regarding short-term objectives. Be sure to include how those objectives fit the opportunities provided by the SBMI educational environments.
  9. Proposed area of interest for translational practice project
  10. A Letter of Support from the healthcare organization willing to facilitate the translational practice project. The Letter of Support must be on the healthcare organization's official letterhead. The Letter of Support should not be from the same person as a Letter of Recommendation. The Letter of Support should include background on the healthcare organization (including the indication of size and the type of activities), the area the institution expects the student to perform the project in, and whether or not the organization will provide any type of support (monetary or technical) for the applicant’s project.
  11. Three letters of reference from supervisors or colleagues. At least two letters should be from supervisors
  12. Interview with the SBMI Admissions, Progression and Graduation (APG) Committee by invitation only

Doctorate in Health Informatics application deadline:

Fall admission   -   March 1

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Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for equivalent graduate courses taken elsewhere may be awarded and used to meet degree requirements if their equivalency to a SBMI degree program course is approved through a Petition for Equivalency Credit (PEC). The maximum number of transferable semester credit hours is 21 for the DHI program. Contact the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs for information.

Courses that are accepted at SBMI through a dual or joint degree program can only be transferred in if the grade earned in the course is a “B” or higher. Courses for which grades of less than “B” were earned will not be accepted for transfer.

Students who are presenting course work from universities or colleges outside the United States to meet admission or graduation requirements are referred to the section on International Applicants in this catalog for a listing of additional requirements.

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Degree Requirements for the Doctorate of Health Informatics

Academic Requirements

Students without a master’s degree in health informatics, or a related field, must complete 33 semester credit hours of didactic coursework before starting the DHI curriculum. Students who hold a master’s degree in informatics can immediately start the 63 semester credit hour program.

A part-time student has up to ten years (30 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. Continuous enrollment is required unless approval is obtained. A maximum of one year of an approved leave of absence will be allowed for continuance in the program. If more than one year of leave occurs, the student must apply for readmission to the program.

Each course with a BMI prefix in the Biomedical Informatics degree plan is a graduate level, professional course and must be passed with a grade of “B” or better. Students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in all dual degree program courses, unless the course is graded on a Pass or Fail basis in which a grade of “Pass” must be earned. If a dual degree student earns less than a “B” in any required course, it must be retaken to continue in the program. A grade of “B” or higher must be earned on the second attempt to prevent dismissal from the program. The minimum grade point average (GPA) required for graduation is 3.0 on all BMI courses.

Computer Requirement

Every student is required to have reliable access to a computer that meets the minimum requirements. Students are encouraged to purchase a laptop that meets the minimum UTHealth requirements. Computer requirements are listed on the website and are subject to change.

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Course of Study for the Doctorate in Health Informatics

The DHI program requires a minimum of 63 semester credit hours to earn the degree, for applicants with a master’s degree in the field of health informatics. This includes 30 semester credit hours of required courses and 33 semester credit hours of coursework focused on translational project advisement and evaluation and fellowship.

For those entering the program with only a bachelor’s degree, the program requires the completion of 96 semester credit hours of SBMI coursework. This includes 63 semester credit hours of required courses and 33 semester credit hours of coursework focused on translational project advisement and evaluation and fellowship.

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Translational Project

The DHI culminates with a translational project and a project evaluation report. Students in the program will work on didactic courses and translational project work simultaneously. Students identify a project and primary advisor during the first semester of study and invite two additional committee members during the second semester.

The Project Advisement course is taken as the student works with an advisor and committee to prepare the project plan. At the end of the student’s first year, a tentative timeline for the completion of the DHI program and translational project must be submitted.

The translational project requires:

  • Background and review of relevant literature/evidence
  • Project overview
  • Theoretical framework/logic model
  • Purpose statement/significance of project
  • Evaluation design, including return on investment
  • Implementation/gather evidence
  • Recommendations
  • Future implications

After completing the translational project, the student must present the findings. The presentation must be presented at an oral session that is open to the public. Translational project documents authored by degree candidates are available to interested members of the general public upon request. After the presentation, the translational project committee votes to pass or fail the student. If the student passes and all other degree requirements are met, the translational project committee makes its recommendation for the degree to be awarded.

For further curriculum information, please contact:

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics Office of Academic Affairs
7000 Fannin Street Suite 650
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: (713) 500-3591
Email: SBMIAcademics@uth.tmc.edu

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