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Texas Health Informatics Alliance launches, opens registration for first conference

Photo of red wall at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics.
UTHealth joined forces with The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to form the Texas Health Informatics Alliance (THIA), which aims to enhance health informatics across the state. (Photo by UTHealth)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has joined forces with two other University of Texas System institutions to form the Texas Health Informatics Alliance (THIA), which aims to enhance health informatics across the state through partnerships in research, data, policy, education, standards, and workforce development.

The other founding members are The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. THIA will hold its first virtual conference on Sept. 9.

“The effective use of data and information to support health has never been more important,” said Susan H. Fenton, PhD, associate professor and associate dean at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics and a member of the conference planning committee. “This new informatics alliance promotes collaboration, innovation, and improved health across the state of Texas and beyond.”

The alliance is aimed at researchers, developers, health professionals, information management professionals, data and information scientists, students, and anyone interested in health informatics.

“Over the past few years, health care informatics has developed from a siloed disciplinary interest to a multi-interdisciplinary focus, embracing all health-related disciplines from consumer to provider to payer to the health care industry,” said Marion Ball, EdD, professor and executive director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics at UT Arlington. “We now need to focus on developing and disseminating knowledge in this new era of interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The conference will provide an opportunity to share, collaborate, and showcase work in health informatics and will feature presentations and speakers from across Texas.

The keynote speakers are Peter J. Hotez, MD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine; and Nora Belcher, executive director of the Texas e-Health Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the use of information technology to improve the health care system.

Other speakers include Dean Sittig, PhD, professor of bioinformatics at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics, who is an expert in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of clinical information.

“THIA will give informaticians in Texas the opportunity to collaborate, communicate, and network. Data, knowledge, and informatics will allow us to become more productive and successful in improving health care outcomes of Texans,” said Christoph U. Lehmann, MD, director of the Clinical Informatics Center at UT Southwestern, professor of Population and Data Sciences and member of the conference planning committee.

Gabriela Mustata Wilson, PhD, professor and co-director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics at UTA, is also a founding member of the alliance.

Chelsea Overstreet

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