McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Monthly Message - April 2024 - Monthly Message Newsletter - News - $
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Monthly Message

Volume 14, Issue 9
May 24, 2024

Honoring the Class of 2024 at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics

McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics celebrated our Class of 2024 graduates during the annual Commencement Ceremony on May 7. Over 50 graduates from summer 2023, fall 2023, and spring 2024 walked the stage. Here is a list of the graduates that walked the stage.

photo of McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics students at graduation

PhD Graduates

Yan Chu, PhD
Bingrui Li, PhD
Astrid Manuel, PhD
Sarah May, PhD
Tavleen Singh, PhD
Yuntao Yang, PhD
Xu Zuo, PhD

DHI Graduates

Nikki Blaze, DHI
Kelly Brown, DHI
Amy Clodfelter, DHI
Edward Yao, DHI

Master’s Graduates

Hana Abbas
Abayomi Adegunlehin
Leonardo Aguilar
Meer Ali
Zakariya Ali
Morufat Aminu
Clara Andrews
Tracy Asibu
Brandon Buxton
Nellie Campbell
Audrey Cohen
Nagi Demian, DDS, MD
Abigail Diaz
Omer Donmez
Heidi Dowst
Godson Eze
Max Grice
Garrett Hall
S. Lih Lan Hu
Francis Ifiora
Rebecca Isac
Jawahar Jagarapu, MD

Katia Jimenez
Erin Schwartz
Lisa Morris
Mary Newton
Felix Nguyen
Khanh Nguyen
Mia Nham
Jabria Pittman
Ashmita Poudel
Dhayni Rana
Gilhen Rodriguez, MD
Antrelle Rollins
Rene Segovia
Haarica Singireddy
Sarita Soebianto
Kimberly Strauss
Loren Trowbridge
Christina Van Hal
Austin Vecchio
Emily Vidal
Pakavi Williams
Inam Zubairie

Assistant Professor Kimberly Smith, PhD ‘10, was named the 2023-2024 John P. McGovern Teaching Award winner. This is her third time winning the award in the past decade as she was selected by the students for her excellence in education.

The 2024 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner was Rachel Richesson, PhD ’03, MS ’00. She is a Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences within the School of Medicine at University of Michigan. She conducts original research on the quality and usability of data from electronic health records for research and has fostered numerous interdisciplinary research collaborations. Richesson was one of two graduates that earned the first health informatics degrees awarded by McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics in 2000. Alphabetically, she came first, making her the first person to earn the Master of Science in Health Informatics from our school. In August of 2003, she then earned her Doctor of Philosophy from the school with her dissertation “A Process for Achieving Comparable Data from Heterogeneous Databases.” This made Dr. Richesson the first person to earn a doctoral degree from our school.

Please help us congratulate our awardees and the new group of McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics alumni. Our school is very proud of their achievements, and it was an honor to recognize each graduate. Please visit the McWilliams Commencement website to find photos and the recording of the 2024 ceremony.

McWilliams Bragging Points

photo of McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Bragging Points

Members of the McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Community have recently achieved noteworthy accomplishments. We want to recognize and applaud these individuals.

  • The spring 2024 Paul C. Boyle Award for Excellence in Student Research winner is PhD Student Zehan “Leo” Li. His poster was titled "Machine Intelligence Towards Neuropsychiatric Data for Unified Learning (MINDFUL)” and it earned the highest score at the McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics poster session last month.

Zehan Leo Li Award Winner
  • Photos from the poster session are available online.
  • Three of our faculty members recently co-authored a Computers Informatics Nursing (CIN) feature article. The co-authors include the Chair of the Department of Bioinformatics and Systems Medicine, Degui Zhi, PhD, DHI Program Director and Assistant Professor Angela Ross, DNP, and Alumna and Assistant Professor Laila Bekhet PhD, ’21, MS ’17.
  • Several faculty members and researchers from McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics co-authored a JAMIA article earlier this month. Some of the authors from our school include Professor Hongfang Liu, PhD, Assistant Professor Sunyang Fu, PhD, MHI, Data Scientist Andrew Wen, and Associate Professor Liwei Wang, PhD.
  • Professor Dean Sittig, PhD and Alumna Danielle Kato, PharmD, MS ’23 co-authored a new JAMIA article titled “Implementation of a health information technology safety classification system in the Veterans Health Administration’s Informatics Patient Safety Office.”

Microsoft Entra Seamless SSO

McWilliams School of Biomedical informatics recently rolled out a new feature within Microsoft Entra for Windows users. This seamless single sign-on automatically signs users into Microsoft M365 applications on their school-provided Windows machines. With Microsoft Entra seamless SSO, users can easily access Microsoft M365 applications without needing an additional password prompt. For example, browsing on a McWilliams PC (using Chrome or Edge, only) or starting Outlook will automatically log you in.

This is a convenient feature that provides easier access to Microsoft M365 applications. If you have any questions about Entra, feel free to contact the McWilliams IT Team at [email protected].

Mental Health Services Offered at UTHealth Houston

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month. As such, UTHealth Houston wants to emphasize the availability of robust, safe, and confidential mental wellness services for all students, trainees, faculty, and staff.

photo of Mental Health Awareness Month 2024

For more information, read this UTHealth Houston feature.

New Grant for Global Health Educational Innovations & Research

The Office of Global Health Initiatives at UTHealth Houston is pleased to announce Global Health Educational Innovations & Research Grants to support scholarly activities in global health, such as the development of educational curriculums, technologies, interventions, or basic science research applicable to the field.

“Our office is committed to supporting global health advocacy, educational innovation, and research among UTHealth Houston faculty,” said Kristina Tebo, MD, assistant vice president of Global Health Initiatives. “This grant is not just for researchers but is open to all faculty members passionate about furthering global health activities at UTHealth Houston.”

The full Call for Proposals can be found on the office’s website and all questions can be directed to Dr. Tebo.

The submission deadline is June 26, 2024 and the awards will be announced in August 2024.

Important Dates

May 27 Memorial Day – University is closed
June 19 Juneteenth Day – University is closed
June 28 Last day to drop with a withdrawal grade of "W" with Withdrawal Form

Visit our website for a full list of research seminar dates and access to recordings for past seminars.