Biomedical Informatics Educational Programs
The overall goal of the OHSU Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program is to train future professionals, researchers, and leaders in the broad area of biomedical and health informatics. The program is offered at the graduate level, so students must have a baccalaureate degree to be admitted. The Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program features two tracks:
Each of these tracks represent a focus of study within biomedical informatics, and the tracks partially overlap, representing our view that our overall program is focused on the larger field of biomedical and health informatics, although students and professionals work within specific areas of the field.
The following matrix lists degree offerings for each track, and whether they are available on-campus and/or online. Click the links for more information on the specific degrees.
Our Program’s Value
OHSU’s Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program has tuition and fees comparable to similar programs, but offers a greater return-on-investment. The high value of our program can be found in:
The oldest and largest track in the program is in Clinical Informatics (CI), which focuses on informatics at the level of healthcare systems as well as individual health. Clinical informatics includes all aspects of healthcare and areas beyond the healthcare system, such as consumer health informatics. Our clinical informatics track not only prepares physicians for the new clinical informatics sub-specialty in medicine, but also educates a variety of professionals from other backgrounds, including healthcare, information technology, and more.
The Bioinformatics Computational Biology (BCB) track has a focus on informatics at the cellular and molecular level. The term bioinformatics refers to a focus on genomics and related areas, while the computation biology term indicates a strong emphases on computation methods. As the work of BCB begins to impact people and healthcare, its focus adds to the area of translational bioinformatics that applies BCB techniques to problems of human health and disease.
Degrees and Certificates
The tracks in our programs offer various degrees and certificates. One degree offered by all of the tracks is the Master of Science (MS). This was the original degree offered by the program and is a traditional research master’s degree, which culminates in a thesis. The clinical informatics also offer a non-thesis master’s degree, sometimes referred to as a professional master’s degree, the Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI). The MBI has the same curriculum as the MS but replaces the master’s thesis with a less-intensive capstone project. We also allow the capstone project to be an internship experience where the student gains real-world experience in an operational setting, such as a healthcare organization or a company.
The Clinical Informatics track also offer the Graduate Certificate, which provides a graduate-level educational experience that is not quite as much as a master’s degree. The Graduate Certificate is a subset of our master’s degree, as students take the same courses as those in the master’s degree programs.
Our graduate program also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in the clinical informatics and BCB tracks. Just as the Graduate Certificate is a subset of the master’s degree program (for the clinical informatics track), the master’s degree programs are in turn a subset of the PhD program. We call the master’s curriculum within the PhD the knowledge base, to which students add advanced research courses and a dissertation.
Because the higher-level programs are super-sets of the more basic programs, we call this the building-block model of our program, indicating that students can start at the entry level for a given track and potentially progress all the way to the PhD (if their career goals warrant).
We also offer fellowship programs at both the predoctoral (PhD student) and postdoctoral (those with a doctoral degree already, who usually pursue a master’s degree as a fellow) levels. Those who are fellows are mostly funded by training grants and other scholarships. Our main training grant is funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a institute within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other financial aid is available for PhD and postdoctoral MS students through our National Library of Medicine Fellowship Program.
Another program is the 10×10 (“ten by ten”) course, which was started in partnership with our professional association, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), in 2005. Its name was based on an estimated need to train 10,000 physicians and nurses (one each in all of the 5000+ US hospitals) in informatics by the year 2010. Of course we encouraged others, even non-healthcare professionals, to enroll in the course. The reason for mentioning the course here is that its curriculum is identical to the introductory course in the OHSU clinical informatics and HIM track, BMI 510 – Introduction to Biomedical Health Informatics. In fact, those who complete the 10×10 course (which is a continuing education course) can optionally take the BMI 510 final exam and, if they obtain a grade of B or better, receive credit for BMI 510 in our graduate program. About 30% of the 1300+ people who have completed the 10×10 course have done so, and many have gone to further courses in the program. In fact, because of the building-block model, some of have progressed up from the Graduate Certificate to the master’s degree programs and in two cases all the way to the PhD program.