SBMI Academic Update - November 2020 - School of Biomedical Informatics
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Academic Update

Volume 11, Issue 3
November 24, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving from SBMI

The Office of Academic Affairs would like to wish everyone in the SBMI Community a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. We know in person celebrations with loved ones are not an option for many of us this year. No matter what, remember to reflect on the many reasons you can be thankful, even in 2020.

Happy Thanksgiving

SBMI offices will be closed on Nov. 26 and 27 for the holiday. Regular, virtual business hours will resume at 8 AM on Monday, Nov. 30.

SBMI Bragging Points

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

    Image of PhD Students, Ivan Coronado
  • Two SBMI PhD Students, Ivan Coronado and Sarah May, recently earned prestigious fellowships with the Gulf Coast Consortia NLM Training Program in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science. Ivan earned a new fellowship and Sarah earned a renewal of her fellowship, which she was originally awarded in 2019.
  • Several individuals from SBMI co-authored two different papers that were named Distinguished Paper Award winners by AMIA. Professor Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD co-authored one of the winning papers with two non-UTHealth colleagues. Image of PhD Students, Sarah MayThat paper is titled “Privacy-preserving Methods for Vertically Partitioned Incomplete Data.” The second winning paper was co-authored by SBMI PhD Student Maryam Garza, Associate Professor and Alumna Sahiti Myneni, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs Susan Fenton, PhD, Alumna Anita Walden, MS, and Alumna Meredith Zozus, PhD. The paper, titled “Evaluating the Coverage of the HL7® FHIR® Standard to Support eSource Data Exchange Implementations for use in Multi-Site Clinical Research Studies,” was co-authored with ten other colleagues.
  • Image of PhD Students, Sarah May
  • Maryam Garza will also earn her degree next month after successfully defending her dissertation on Nov. 6. Her defense marked SBMI’s first completely virtual dissertation defense.
  • The UTHealth COVID-19 Center of Excellence is a new, collaborative effort with experts from across the university. SBMI Associate Dean for Applied Informatics and Associate Professor Robert Murphy, MD, was instrumental in the creation of the initiative. With clinical trials and data gathered from the core research arm, the Center of Excellence has become a COVID-19 information source for local and state officials. Visit the SBMI website to learn more.

Virtual Poster Session for Fall 2020

SBMI’s Fall 2020 Poster Session will take place on Monday, Dec. 14 at 4:00 PM (CST). The Office of Academic Affairs is hosting this live event in a virtual format for the health and safety of all faculty, students, and staff at SBMI.

Virtual Poster Session 2020

Students will present during one of three time slots that are organized by research focus. This will allow faculty, students, staff, and UTHealth guests enough time to see as many posters as feasible. Faculty judges will also have an assigned time to visit the student's Webex personal room during a live presentation period. The judges will listen to the student presentation, ask questions, and review the work. A list of posters and links to the individual presentation rooms will be sent to all SBMI students, faculty, and staff in the coming weeks.

Students wishing to participate, must complete this survey by 5 PM (CST) on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Please contact the Office of Academic Affairs if you have questions.

SBMI Accepting Competitive Scholarship Applications

SBMI has scholarship funds currently available. The Office of Academic Affairs is currently accepting applications for spring 2021 semester scholarships.

Seeking Student Aid?

All SBMI students, both new and returning, are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be in good academic standing and enrolled for spring 2021 courses in SBMI’s certificate, masters, PhD or DHI program.

Consideration for earning a scholarship includes:

  • Pattern of academic achievement
  • Teaching and mentoring experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Community service
  • Success in overcoming adversity
  • Previous and recent publications in the discipline (if any)

Click here to submit the SBMI Scholarship Application. Please note that all submissions must be submitted in Qualtrics. No email submissions will be accepted.

The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 at close of business (5 p.m. CST). If you have questions, please send an email to [email protected] or call 713.500.3591.

JAMIA Accepting Applications for Student Editorial Board

JAMIA is currently accepting applications from biomedical informatics trainees to serve on the Student Editorial Board (SEB). Note that applicants must be current members of AMIA.

A Scholarly Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine

The JAMIA SEB was created in 2003, and has provided outstanding informatics trainees with opportunities to receive in-depth exposure to the peer-review process and the operation of a scientific journal. Additional details about this program may be found in a published editorial in JAMIA. Application materials must be submitted via email to [email protected] by Monday, Dec. 21.

If you have questions about the application process, please send those to Suzanne Bakken, JAMIA Editor-in-Chief at [email protected].

Selection Criteria

  • up to six SEB members will be selected from the group of applicants
  • will serve a two-year term
  • members should be enrolled in an informatics degree program throughout the duration of their term on the SEB
  • must be current member of AMIA

Desired applicant qualifications

  • critical thinkers with a mastery of written English
  • experience in scientific writing
  • background in health care, informatics, data science, and/or computer science; and solid knowledge of research design and basic biostatistics


  • assigned up to six manuscripts per year to review
  • assist with moderating/managing the monthly JAMIA Journal Club
  • invitation to attend annual Editorial Board meeting
  • SEB members will be expected to treat manuscripts with the same strict confidentiality employed by full reviewers and Editorial Board members
  • names of SEB members will be listed on the official Editorial Board page of the journal

Student Counseling Services Launches a Blog

UTHealth Student Counseling Services has launched a new blog called #UTHealthWellnessConnection. The blog offers mental health and wellness resources, news, and information that are tailored to the unique needs of the UTHealth student body. The blog can be accessed at:


Upcoming Events: All are virtual

Dec. 2 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Students Roni Matin & Sarvesh Soni
12 PM CST on GoToMeeting
Dec. 9 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Students Surabhi Datta & Jingqi Wang
12 PM CST on GoToMeeting
Dec. 14 SBMI’s Virtual Fall 2020 Poster Session

Important Dates

Nov. 26-27 Thanksgiving holiday – University is closed
Nov. 30 M.S. - Capstone Report drafts due to Advisors for review
Dec. 11 Last class day for fall 2020
Dec. 11 PhD - Last day to defend proposal
Dec. 14 Virtual SBMI Poster Session
Dec. 14-18 Final exams/evaluations
Dec. 24-25 Holiday Break – University is closed
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day – University is closed
Jan. 8 Last day of spring 2021 regular registration in myUTH
Jan. 8 Tuition and fee payment is due for spring 2021
Jan. 11 First Class Day for spring 2021

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

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