Monday, May 1, 2017

Navigating OHSU Informatics Education Programs and Content

Not infrequently, I receive emails asking about or even expressing confusion about the various informatics educational programs and products of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). With a couple of grant-funded curriculum development projects about to end, this is probably a good time for a posting here to help sort things out. Before I do that, I must give a plug to US News & World Report, which recently plugged informatics as a graduate health degree that expanded both knowledge and career opportunities.

OHSU has a number of educational programs in biomedical informatics. The core of all these programs is the Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program, which provides masters and PhD degrees in two tracks, health and clinical informatics (HCI) and bioinformatics and computational biomedicine (BCB). The HCI track also offers a Graduate Certificate that is a subset of the masters program, and these two programs available in a distance learning format.

OHSU also offers two fellowship programs. One is a long-standing research-oriented fellowship program for PhD and postdoctoral students funded by the National Library of Medicine. The postdoctoral option also includes a masters degree. More recently, a clinically oriented fellowship for physicians has been launched. This fellowship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and allows sitting for the clinical informatics subspecialty board exam. The clinical informatics fellowship also provides the Graduate Certificate with an option to pursue the masters degree.

OHSU also was the original participant in the AMIA 10x10 (“ten by ten”) program. The OHSU 10x10 course is a repackaging of the introductory course from the HCI track of the graduate program, and those completing the OHSU 10x10 course can take the optional final exam to receive academic credit from OHSU.

The OHSU biomedical informatics program has also participated in the development of a number of public repositories of educational materials that have been funded by US federal grants. OHSU was funded in the original and subsequent update of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) curriculum. Development of the original curriculum was stopped when funding ended in 2013, with the archive freely available on the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Web site. The update has been expanded to 24 components, each of which is about a college course in size. It has been under development since 2015 and will be made publicly available on the ONC Web site ( this summer.

All of the grantees of the ONC update project have also been required to offer short-term training to 1000 incumbent healthcare professionals. The OHSU offering has focused on healthcare data analytics, and has also provided continuing medical education (CME) for all physicians and Maintenance of Certification (MOC)-II credit for physicians certified in the clinical informatics subspecialty. The free courses offered as part of the ONC grant will be wrapping up at the end of May. We will likely start offering the course again in the future for a fee.

OHSU has also been funded to develop open educational resources (OERs) and data skills courses funded by two grants under the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). About 20 modules have been developed for various topics in biomedical science. The materials from this project are currently housed on a Web site that will transition to a permanent archive on GitHub when funding ends for the project later this year.

The long-term maintenance of repository materials is uncertain at this time. We are hopeful that resources to keep them up to date will be found, and OHSU will certainly continue to use them in its own educational programs.

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