McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Monthly Message - August 2023 - Monthly Message Newsletter - News - $
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Monthly Message

Volume 13, Issue 12
August 25, 2023

McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Appoints Two Inaugural Chairs

After an extensive national search, McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston has appointed two respected, international leaders as new department chairs. Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD will chair the Department of Health Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and Muhammad Walji, PhD ‘06 will chair the Department of Clinical and Health Informatics. Both appointees will begin their respective roles on September 1, 2023.

Photo of McWilliams logos, Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD and Muhammad Walji, PhD ‘06

Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD joined McWilliams School in May of 2018 as an associate professor and director of the Center for Secure Artificial intelligence For hEalthcare (SAFE). Currently, Jiang is a professor and also holds the Christopher Sarofim Family Professorship in Biomedical Informatics and Bioengineering.

Muhammad Walji, PhD ’06, MS ’02 earned both of his graduate degrees from McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics. Currently, he serves as associate dean for Technology Services & Informatics and professor at UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry where he holds the Endowed Chair in Dental Informatics. At McWilliams, he serves as an adjunct professor.

Click here to read the full news story.

Fall 2023 Reminders

As a reminder, regular registration for fall 2023 ends on Friday, Aug. 25 at 5 PM (CDT). Late registration runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1. Late fees will be assessed during that time so we encourage students to register before that deadline to avoid paying any additional fees.

For important deadlines and due dates, please visit the Academic Calendar. If you have questions regarding academic matters, email the Office of Academic Affairs at [email protected].

McWilliams Bragging Points

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

  • Two McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics students recently earned sizeable awards from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation. PhD Candidate Morgan Foreman (right) was selected to receive a $10,000 doctoral grant and MS student Morufat Aminu earned a $7,000 scholarship.
photo of PhD Candidate Morgan Foreman
photo of MS student Morufat Aminu
  • Assistant Professor and Alumna Laila Rasmy Gindy Bekhet, PhD ’21, MS ‘17. She was awarded a new grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to create enhanced training methods for clinical foundation models.
  • Alumnus Ram Dixit, MS '18 recently co-authored a recent JAMIA article. Ram works at MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.
Distance Education Reminders for Fall 2023

The fall 2023 semester will start on August 28, 2023. Course Add/Drop via myUTH will run from August 28 to September 13, 2023. Please refer to the academic calendar for other important dates as well as events. Course offerings and classroom information can be found on the semester schedule page page. Textbook information is posted at: Textbook List.

Courses students register for in myUTH may take up to 24 hours to appear in Canvas. To complete required coursework, students must make sure their computer meets the technical requirements.

Students enrolled in in-person/on-campus classes should attend each weekly class session at our McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics building space (6th floor of 7000 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030). Please refer to SBMI's attendance policy for more details.

Our liaison librarian at the TMC Library is Kelsey Koym. The best way for students and faculty to reach Kelsey is to use the consultation form:

Transition from WebEx to Zoom will take place during Fall 2023. Zoom will be replacing WebEx as the UTHealth's new platform for teleconferencing. All course-related meetings will be held in Zoom starting this Fall 2023 semester.

To Access Your Zoom Account:

  1. Zoom login link:
  2. Upon logging in, you will be instantly issued a license.
  3. UTHealth faculty and staff will receive upgraded licenses with no time limit for meetings.
  4. Students will receive a basic license with a 40-minute time limit for meetings.
  5. Recordings of Zoom meetings will be stored in the cloud but only be available for 15 days.
  6. For Zoom questions and technical support, contact UTHealth IT Solution Center at [email protected], or 713-486-4848. For additional information and support, please visit
New McWilliams Application Portal Now Open

McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston recently launched a new application system. Here is the new application link: Gradcas Spring 2024 Application

For any current students interested in applying to the Master’s program, the admission application for Spring 2024 is now officially open. We are also currently accepting Certificate and Non-degree applications for Spring 2024. Fall 2024 applications for the PhD and DHI, as well as Summer 2024 applications for Certificate/Non-degree/Master’s degree will open in mid-September. Stay tuned to our website for more information.

DocuSign Reminder for Processing Documents

The Office of Academic Affairs would like to remind all McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics students to utilize DocuSign to acquire signatures for forms and degree plans. That system is the most efficient tool for processing documents when signatures are necessary.

If you have questions about using DocuSign, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at [email protected].

UTHealth Houston Hosts NLM’s Patricia Brennan, PhD

The entire UTHealth Houston Community is invited to attend a virtual Health Policy Forum event. Join us at 12 PM (CDT) on September 7th for this special presentation featuring Dr. Patricia Brennan of the NLM.

Register online at:

Photo of virtual Health Policy Forum event flyer
McWilliams In The News
  • Professor James Langabeer, PhD, EdD, MBA, spoke to the Houston Chronicle about the opioid crisis in Houston.
  • Susan Fenton, PhD, associate professor and associate dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs at McWilliams, was recently quoted in the Odessa American. She discussed the Gaining Equity in Training for Public Health Informatics and Technology (GET PHIT) Workforce Development Program.
Important Dates

Aug. 28 First class day for fall 2023 semester
Aug. 28 - Sep. 1 Late Registration open in myUTH
Aug. 28 - Sept. 13 Add/drop via myUTH for students already registered
Sept. 4 Labor Day Holiday – University is closed
Sept. 13 12th Class Day & Drop for non-payment date