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Academic Update

Volume 3, Issue 12          July 18, 2013  

AMIA Student Volunteer Program

AMIA is sponsoring a student volunteer program whereby a limited number of student members will receive waived registration to the AMIA 2013 Annual Symposium (this does not include travel, hotel or meals) in exchange for serving as a room monitor at tutorials, plenary sessions, workshops and scientific sessions. In addition to the student registration fee being waived, students will get the chance to network with VIPs in biomedical informatics, gain access to free tutorials (while monitoring them), network with other students, assist with AMIA’s largest meeting and learn how the meeting is put together from behind the scenes.

The 2013 Annual Symposium will be held in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton, November 16 -20. Tutorial sessions will be held Saturday and Sunday. Students must be a current AMIA student member to qualify for participation in this program. The deadline for submitting applications is 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, August 30.

SBMI Alumnus' New Role at the School of Dentistry
Walji to become the associate dean for technology services & informatics

Muhammad Walji, PhDPresident of the SBMI Alumni Association Muhammad F. Walji, PhD, will follow Peter Triolo, DDS, MS, as associate dean for technology services & informatics effective August 1.

Walji is the director of informatics and an associate professor at the UTHealth School of Dentistry. He also serves as a researcher and adjunct professor at SBMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2001, followed by a master’s degree (2002) and doctoral degree (2006) in health informatics from UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics. From 2003-2006, he was a National Library of Medicine (NLM) pre-doctoral fellow. He joined the School of Dentistry faculty in 2007 in the department of diagnostic and biomedical sciences. Since then, he has been actively involved in biomedical informatics research, both locally and nationally.

Health Informatics Jobs Growing
New report reveals 36 percent job growth over four years

Burning Glass, a Boston-based labor market analytics firm, mined data from online health informatics job postings with help from the Education Advisory Board, a membership-based research company, to produce the first comprehensive report of health informatics job growth. As it relates to this study, jobs in health care informatics include a range of positions that involve the collection, handling and processing of clinical information for a variety of purposes, from billing to medical quality assurance.

Health care jobs overall saw a 9 percent increase in job growth during the period of 2007 to 2011 while health care informatics jobs increased four times more than health care positions in general, making health care informatics jobs the eighth largest share of health care occupation positions.

The Burning Glass report takes into account positions tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—medical records and health information technicians—which constitutes 60% of health informatics positions as well as the remaining 40% of health informatics positions, including, but not limited to, health information supervisors and managers, auditors and compliance review staff and clinical documentation and improvement specialists. The report also highlighted the trend to hire clinical analysts with a nursing background, the need for clinical expertise in higher level positions and the decline of medical record clerks for more specialized medical coder positions.

The report states, “Health informatics is one of those emerging opportunities, both for individuals hoping to improve their career prospects and for educational institutions seeking to offer them the training and credentials they need to succeed.”

Meet our Alumni

SBMI alumnus John Frenzel, MD, MS, CMIO at MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses his educational and professional background, his appreciation for and contributions to SBMI and the need for professionals trained in health informatics.

Frenzel was awarded the first SBMI distinguished alumni award in May 2013.

If the video does not appear, please click here

Best Wishes to SBMI Assistant Professor
McCoy accepts position with Tulane University

Allison McCoyAllison McCoy, PhD, joined the department of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine as an assistant professor on July 1. She left her position as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics effective June 28.

McCoy will stay on as an adjunct assistant professor at SBMI to continue collaborating with SBMI researchers. At Tulane University, she will be primarily working on her NLM K22 award, “InSPECt: Interactive Surveillance Portal for Evaluating Clinical Decision Support” and assisting in the development of a new Master of Public Health Informatics program.

This move came after the exciting news of her husband landing a urology residency with Louisiana State University and Ochsner Health System, where McCoy will also be serving as a member of the Center for Health Research.

McCoy had this to say about her experience at SBMI, “I enjoyed my time at SBMI and appreciate all that the school faculty, staff and students offered!”

We wish all the best to McCoy and her husband as they take on these new roles in New Orleans. We also want to congratulate them on the anticipated arrival of a baby girl who will be the newest addition to their growing family in November!

New SBMI Faculty and Staff

Jingchun Sun, PhDJingchun Sun, PhD, joined the SBMI faculty on July 1, 2013 as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics. She came to SBMI from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Informatics where she worked as a research assistant professor. Sun’s research interests include bioinformatics, systems biology, network pharmacology, biological data integration and mining and biological network reconstruction and mining.

Sun is currently working on research projects related to network pharmacology, which includes drugs used to treat cancer, psychiatric disorder and addiction. Her future research will continue along those lines with an integration of clinical data mining for identifying critical molecules for drug treatment. Sun is working specifically on the grant “Repurposing Existing Drugs for Cancer Treatment using Electronic Health Records” under principle investigator and SBMI associate professor Hua Xu, PhD.

“I believe that the integration of bioinformatics and biomedical informatics will facilitate the investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying the complex diseases and their treatment, which provides valuable information for further understanding of molecular mechanisms of complex diseases and development of effective drugs for complex disease treatment,” said Sun. “Additionally, I believe that my research will facilitate in the discovery of novel genetic factors and provide genetic evidence for hypothesis generation, experimental design and verification, which in turn can reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying complex diseases and their treatment.”

Staff Changes

There’s a new face in SBMI’s Office of Academic Affairs! Angela Shiu Wong joined SBMI on July 15. She will be assisting the Office of Academic Affairs temporarily with admissions and student affairs. Stop by suite 650 to welcome her to SBMI!

Upcoming Events

Save the Date

AHIMA Career Assist Virtual Career Fair

Noon to 3 p.m. - Tuesday, August 27

SBMI Poster Session

4 - 6 p.m. - Monday, August 12
UCT 1414 - 7000 Fannin, Houston, TX
Food and refreshments will be provided by the SGO
RSVP to the Office of Academic Affairs

HIMSS Lunch & Learn

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Friday, July 26
MD Anderson Cancer Center - 1400 Pressler, Houston, TX 77030
Pickens Tower Video Conference Room - FCT 3.5001
Duke Rohe: The Art of Thinking Together

Important Dates

July 15 - August 23 Fall registration for classes
July 15 - August 31 Orientation online through Moodle for fall 2013
July 30 Final installment payment due
August 2 Student's completed work to faculty for incomplete grades from previous spring semester
August 9 Last day to drop courses and receive a grade of 'WP' or 'WF' – 12 week and second six week sessions
August 12

State of the science and dissertation papers due to the Office of Academic Affairs

August 12 Poster session
August 12 Last class day for second six week session
August 12-13 Final exams for the 12 week session
August 13 Final exams for second six week session
August 13 Faculty grade changes to registrar for spring 2013 incompletes

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7000 Fannin, Ste. 650