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Academic Update

Volume 10, Issue 12
August 28, 2020 

Fall 2020 Late Payment Fee Deadline Update

The fall 2020 semester begins August 31. With the disruption of Hurricane Laura & ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the Registrar’s Office has delayed assessing late payment fees and late registration fees until the end of business on Friday, September 4.

If you have any questions about fall 2020 course enrollment or fall tuition and fee payment deadlines, feel free to contact our Office of Academic Affairs ([email protected]).

SBMI Fall 2020 Scholarship Winners

SBMI would like to thank all students who submitted applications for the fall 2020 semester. We also want to congratulate the following scholarship awards.

SBMI Fall Semester Scholarship Winner

Claire Loe, PhD Memorial Scholarship
Roni Matin – PhD

Doris Ross Scholarship
Suguna Chinapuvvula – MS
Victoria Kolawole – MS
Gustavo Villarreal – MS

Lex Frieden Scholarship
Garrett Hall – MS

James Turley Endowed Scholarship for Global Health
Farah Mukheef – DHI

SBMI Dean's Excellence Scholarship
James Harris – DHI
Akshat Kumar – MD/MS
Alicia Segovia – MS

SBMI Dean’s Excellence Fund – Jingchun Sun, PhD Scholarship
Patrick Carnevale – MS

SBMI Scholarship Excellence Fund
Surabhi Datta – PhD

SGO Scholarship
Manuel Mendoza – Certificate
Jeritt Thayer – MS
Yi-Ching Tang – PhD

Willerson Endowed Scholarship
Laila Gindy Bekhet – PhD

Distance Education Announcements & Reminders for Fall 2020

The fall 2020 semester will start on Aug. 31, 2020. Add/Drop of classes via MyUTH will run from August 31 to September 16. Please refer to the academic calendar for other important dates as well as events. Courses offered this semester, as well as classroom information, can be found on the semester schedule page. Textbook information is posted at

To complete required coursework at SBMI, students should check and make sure their computer meets the technical requirements. .

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  • Canvas Login

    Students are enrolled in a Canvas course automatically after registering on MyUTH. However, it may take up to 24 hours for a course to appear in your “Courses” list in Canvas.

    If you have any question about Canvas or other educational technology at SBMI, please contact [email protected]

  • Classroom Safety Protocols and Student Badge Access

    In order to practice and adhere to appropriate social distancing standards within the classrooms, we will open the fall 2020 registration cycle with reduced classroom capacity for in-person courses. Classes that have been offered via web delivery will continue to be offered online with full capacity. In-person class sizes will be reduced to less than half of their normal capacity and classrooms will be sanitized before and after each session.

    Students should follow all protocols and policies detailed on the COVID-19 Student Update webpage as it relates to in-person attendance days for on-campus courses. Students should also refer to Canvas, additional instructions in future communications from the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs, and their course instructors for more information.

    Students needing badge access to the SBMI expansion of the UCT building should send pictures of both the front and back of their student badge to [email protected].

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  • TMC Library Liaison Librarians for SBMI

    Emma Silva and Travis Holder will continue to serve the SBMI community as the TMC Library liaison librarian for SBMI. Students and faculty can reach Emma at
    (713) 799 -7114 or [email protected], and Travis at 713.799.7166 or [email protected].

Professor Xu develops COVID-19 Data Index

image of Laila BekhetProfessor Hua Xu, PhD and his team of researchers recently developed the COVID-19 Data Index. This tool gives scientists studying COVID-19 open access to diverse datasets to help accelerate the research process. The index houses thousands of cross-disciplinary, publicly available COVID-19 datasets for topics from clinical, sociodemographic, environmental, economic and mobility data to case statistics and genomic sequences.

“This index is a very valuable research resource in the current pandemic,” added Xu. “We simply want to share this tool with our fellow researchers as so many work towards improving our knowledge, and ultimately eradication of COVID-19.”

Visit the SBMI website to learn more.

Associate Dean Fenton Earns UT System Professorship

image of Xinyuan ZhangEarlier this month, Associate Dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs and Professor, Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA earned an appointment as a Distinguished Teaching Professor from the University of Texas (UT) System.

“I thank both the UT System and UTHealth leadership for this title. I am so proud of the work I do and the contributions I make to the informatics students we educate,” stated Fenton.

To read the entire news story, click here.

Dean Zhang Earns Informatics Honor image of Laila Bekhet

Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD was named an International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI) 2020 fellow earlier this month. The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) notes that “Academy Membership is one of the highest honors in the international field of biomedical and health informatics.”

Dean Zhang is SBMI’s second IAHSI fellow. Professor Dean Sittig, PhD is a member of the inaugural class of fellows from 2017.

Click here to read the full story.

SBMI Bragging Points

Several members of the SBMI Community have recently earned special recognition or contributed to the informatics community. We want to congratulate those individuals on these accomplishments.

  • Assistant Professor Licong Cui, PhD was awarded a $662,645 grant from the National Library of Medicine. The main goal of the project is to develop a general automatic change-suggestion framework to systematically address quality issues in biomedical terminologies and automatically propose change suggestions.
  • Three members of the SBMI Community have recently published research involving COVID-19 and dentistry. Congratulations to Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Student, Faculty, and Community Affairs Amy Franklin, PhD, new DHI Student Gregory Olsen, DDS & alumnus Muhammad F. Walji, PhD on their co-authored article.
  • Professor Zhongming Zhao, PhD, MS was awarded a $369,708 grant from the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research. Dr. Zhao and his fellow researcher, Junichi Iwata, DDS, PhD, will assess an elevated cholesterol precursor that could play a key role in the development of cleft palates.
  • Several members of the SBMI Community are on the HIMSS Houston Chapter Board of Directors & Committee Leaders for 2020-2021. Congratulations to MS student Luis Oliveira, Alumnae Regina Wysocki, MS & Nasim Rezanejad, MD, MS and Applied Advisory Council Member Joseph Kunisch, PhD. A full list of the Houston Chapter Board of Directors & Committee Leaders for 2020-2021 is available online.

COVID-19 Scholarship Deadline is September 3

The UTHealth Student InterCouncil (SIC) has developed a student scholarship for UTHealth students experiencing financial challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). These funds are provided by UTHealth's student government for the sole means of helping students impacted by COVID-19.

Seeking Student Aid?

All SBMI students enrolled for fall 2020 may apply for a scholarship as there is no financial basis for applying. The scholarship selection is based on:

  • Completion of the COVID-19 scholarship application.
  • A personal narrative on how COVID-19 has affected you.
  • Details on how the scholarship funds will help you.

Click here to submit an application: All application materials must be submitted within Qualtrics and no emailed submissions or materials will be considered. The application deadline is at midnight on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified during the week of September 21st.


  • Lex Frieden, MA, SBMI professor, was interviewed by TMC News in late July. Frieden is a disability rights activist and was the chief architect for the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the article, he discussed the 30th anniversary of the ADA, which was celebrated on July 26th.


Important Dates

Aug. 28 Regular registration for fall 2020 closes
Aug. 31 First class day for fall 2020 semester
Aug. 31-Sept. 4 Late registration in MyUTH
Aug. 31-Sept. 16 Add/drop via MyUTH for students already registered
Sept. 4 Tuition & fee payment due
Sept. 7 Labor Day - University is closed

SBMI LogoOffice of Academic Affairs
7000 Fannin, Ste. 650 Houston, TX
Phone: 713.500.3591
Email: [email protected]

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