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

Volume 14, Issue 7
March 22, 2024

McWilliams Bragging Points

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

photo of McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics Bragging Points

  • McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics appointed Professor Degui Zhi, PhD as the third and final department chair on March 1. Dr. Zhi now chairs the Department of Bioinformatics and Systems Medicine.
  • Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD was awarded a 2023 President’s Award for Leadership earlier this month. He was named the Outstanding Faculty awardee. While Dean Zhang was not able to attend the ceremony in person, he did pre-record his acceptance speech that was played at the event.
  • Jaime Hargrave was named the first Assistant Dean for Education at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics, effective March 1.
  • Amanda Oliphant is a Dual MD/MS student earning both degrees from McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics and McGovern Medical School this May. On March 14, Amanda was awarded 2nd place in the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical Student Research Awards Competition. The next day was Match Day 2024 and she matched into Internal Medicine-Pediatrics (med-peds) at Baylor College of Medicine for residency.
  • photo of Amanda Oliphant

Several PhD and DHI students have successfully defended their dissertations or translational projects this month. We want to congratulate these students who will each earn their degrees in May.

  • Kelly Brown defended her DHI Translational Project on March 4.
  • Yuntao Yang defended his dissertation on March 5.
  • Yan Chu defended his dissertation on March 18.

  • DHI Students Photo: Kelly Brown, Yuntao Yang, and Yan Chu

  • Six McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics faculty members and alumni co-authored a new JAMIA article that is now available. Those co-authors include Alumna and Associate Professor Sahiti Myneni, PhD '13, two-time Alumnae Alexandra Zingg, PhD ’23, MS '18 and Tavleen Singh, PhD '23, MS '18, Assistant Professor Angela Ross, DNP, MPH, PMP, DASM, PHCNS-BC, Alumnus and Assistant Professor Deevakar Rogith, MBBS, PhD ’15, and Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Student, Faculty, and Community Affairs Amy Franklin, PhD.

QuestionPro Replacing Qualtrics Effective August 2024

QuestionPro will replace Qualtrics as the new survey/data analysis software vendor at UTHealth Houston as of the end of August 2024. This means all existing surveys and survey data need to be migrated out of Qualtrics by that time. The survey and corresponding data export/migration are not automatic and can't be done by admins en masse for the organization. Individual owners of the Qualtrics surveys must export their own surveys and data between now and August 2024.

McWilliams users should download their data and migrate their surveys in Qualtrics to QuestionPro, before the August deadline.

QuestionPro is a web-based software that allows the user to create online surveys that are visually appealing and 100% customizable and generate reports without having any previous programming knowledge. It is similar to Qualtrics and enables users to design and send surveys and collect and analyze responses.

To activate your QuestionPro account, please navigate to and log in using UTHealth credentials.

For questions or more information, please get in touch with the IT Solution Center at [email protected] or 713-486-4848.

GET PHIT Internship Application Currently Open

THE GET PHIT program is currently accepting applications for a 160-hour part-time paid internship program. Students who are eligible for financial compensation will receive a stipend ranging from $2,440 - $3,000, based on education and skill. The Summer 2024 internship begins in early June and ends in mid-August and the application is now open. The deadline to apply is April 1, so please visit this link to review necessary application materials and submit an application.

photo of GET PHIT

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a student at a GET PHIT institution (UTHealth Houston is included)
  • Must participate in a GET PHIT boot camp, approved program and/or course
  • Have a strong interest in public health informatics and data science
  • Students from underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply

For practicum-eligible students, this internship can be used for practicum credit. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Additional information on the GET PHIT program is available online. For more information, email [email protected].

Deadline to Withdraw - March 22nd

The last day to withdraw from a McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics course for spring 2024 is Friday, March 22nd. Note that after that date, students can no longer be issued a W grade for this semester. All Withdrawal forms must be completed and submitted by 5 PM CT on March 22nd. The required form is available online: Drop/Withdrawal Form (pdf) (DocuSign).

As a reminder, utilizing DocuSign for your degree plan and/or Withdrawal form is the fastest way to get the document signed. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

TxHIMA Scholarship Application Now Open

Each year the Texas Health Information Management Association (TxHIMA) awards several education scholarships to students who demonstrate academic achievement and commitment to the field of health information management in Texas. TxHIMA promotes education and recruitment of new students as critical success factors for the HIM profession.

TxHIMA currently has two scholarship opportunities available for eligible McWilliams students. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 26.

Upcoming UTHealth Houston Events

There are several events taking place at UTHealth Houston in the coming weeks. .

UTHealth Houston disAbility Networking Event: Wed. March 27th from 5 to 7 PM

Learn about providing and supporting equal access for all students with disabilities at a social, informational evening event that includes a panel discussion and a supportive resources fair. The event will take place at the Cooley Center (7440 Cambridge St). Registration includes parking validation & dinner.

UTHealth Houston Giving Day: 24 Hours on Tues. April 2nd

Save the date for the 6th annual UTHealth Houston Giving Day on Tuesday, April 2! We encourage the McWilliams Community to participate during this special 24-hour event, where friends of the university unite to support initiatives that help UTHealth Houston’s future health professionals achieve their dreams and improve health in our communities. For more information, visit

13th Annual Student InterCouncil Crawfish Boil: Fri. April 5th from 4:30 to 7 PM

This annual event (hosted at the Cooley Center Courtyard, 7440 Cambridge St.) will include crawfish, shrimp, hot dogs, vegetarian options, and beverages at no cost. In addition, students will receive giveaways upon entry and throughout the event. Enjoy music, playing games, and meeting fellow students and SIC representatives! UTHealth Houston students may each invite one guest.

  • Professor Dean Sittig, PhD spoke to the Association of Health Care Journalists in February as he discussed the real-world health implications of AI in elder scams.
  • Alumnus Peter Kizza, DHI ’23 was featured in an article in the Gainesville Sun last month.

Save the Date
March 27 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Student Ivan Coronado
12 PM CT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor
(UCT E-618)
April 3 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Students Tongtong Huang & Apollo McOwiti
12 PM CT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor
(UCT E-618)
April 10 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Students Rongbin Li & Yan Chu
12 PM CT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor
(UCT E-618)
April 17 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Students Morgan Foreman & Alan Pan
12 PM CT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor
(UCT E-618)
April 24 State of the School by Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD
12 PM CT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor
(UCT E-618)

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

Important Dates
April 5 MS - Capstone Report drafts due to Practicum Advisor for review
April 10 Summer 2024 registration opens in myUTH
April 26 Last class day for spring 2024
April 26 PhD - Last Day to Defend Proposal
April 26 Deadline for Removal of Incomplete Grades for fall 2023
April 29 Spring Poster Session
April 29 -
May 3
Final Exams/Evaluations
May 3 Faculty - Grade change forms due to Registrar’s Office
May 7 Grades due in myUTH
May 7 Commencement Ceremony