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Academic Update

Volume 3, Issue 5          December 20, 2012

SBMI Student Scholarships

ScholarshipFor the remainder of the 2012-2013 academic year, four competitive $1,200 merit-based scholarships are available to SBMI students from the Doris Ross Merit Based Scholarship and President James T. and Nancy Beamer Willerson Endowed Scholarship. Students must be currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at SBMI and in good standing. The submission deadline is Jan. 7, 2013.

If you have questions or need additional information, contact Academic Affairs at 713.500.3591 or

Application procedure for scholarships

Instructional Technology Support Position Available

JobsSBMI is looking for a part-time seasonal worker to support the school’s online learning programs. Students looking for employment with experience in Adobe Creative Suite would be a great fit.

Job duties and application info

Technology Updates

Mahara is an e-portfolio system that has been integrated with SBMI Moodle and will be available for use starting in the spring 2013 semester.

Learn more about Mahara

SBMI will begin integrating AvayaLive Engage (formerly Avaya web.alive) into the introductory applied health informatics courses in the spring 2013 semester. The expected time of complete transition from Second Life to AvayaLive is September 2013. Switching to AvayaLive is expected to improve usability, communication and interaction while constraining access to outside users.

Learn more about AvayaLive Engage

SBMI is building a media lab offering a platform that allows our faculty and students to explore, experience, develop and evaluate cutting-edge methods and technology in online education in the field of health and biomedical informatics. The lab is scheduled to open in early 2013.

Lab Specifications

Starting in the spring semester, the research seminar will be captured in HD with our new web capture station (Cattura). The research seminar will also be hosted on a new server. As a result the seminar will no longer be webcast live, but recorded and published immediately following the completion of the seminar.

YouTube Series: SBMI at AMIA 2012

If the video does not appear, please click here.

The AMIA 2012 wrap-up video highlighting the school's presence, awards, presentations and events at the annual symposium.

The AMIA Annual Symposium is the world's premier scientific meeting for biomedical and health informatics, which is the field devoted to the science of using information to improve individual health, health care, public health, and biomedical research.

Poster Session & Cookie Social

SBMI held the fall 2012 Poster Session and Holiday Cookie Social on Monday, Dec. 11. Twenty two student posters were presented and judged by students, alumni and faculty. The Paul C. Boyle  Award for Excellence in Research is given to the highest scoring poster. This year Margaret Xiao Duan, Chen Liang and Jonathan Wolfarth came out on top for their poster titled “The Impact of Aging on Emotional Prosody Recognition.” Students in the applied health informatics program presented posters the following day in Second Life to close out the fall semester.

Poster Session

Success of the Applied Master's Program

The fourth graduating class of the applied master’s program in Health Informatics walked the virtual stage Thursday Dec. 13, 2012. Eight students graduated with an applied master’s degree this semester, bringing the total for the applied master’s program to 24 students. The students celebrated their accomplishments in a completion ceremony, which is held in a virtual world called Second Life—where the students attend class, present posters and meet for group projects. Second Life

The guest speaker for the event was Sharon McLane, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, who received her doctoral degree from SBMI in 2009. McLane is the Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida. She presented about applying health informatics—specifically adoption, optimization and governance in health informatics.

Speaking on her experience at SBMI McLane said, “SBMI prepared me to perceive information systems from a concept perspective: why and what is the purpose of the application and how will it benefit patient care. Equipped with that information, I felt well prepared to take those next steps and to effectively guide my customers.”

Watch the completion ceremony

Newest SBMI Doctoral Candidate

SahitiCongratulations to Sahiti Myneni who recently passed her candidacy exam. Myneni’s research centers around the development of mobile and digital health technologies, using methods from cognitive science, natural language processing and social network analysis to understand user needs and behavior. The title of Myneni’s proposal is “Attributing Meaning to Online Social Network Analysis for Tailored Socio-behavioral Support Systems.” Trevor Cohen, MBChB, PhD, is the chair of her advising committee; the research will be funded through the UTHealth Innovation for Cancer Prevention Research Pre-doctoral Fellowship.

Read more about Myneni’s proposal

Global Health Conference

Global HealthThe Houston Global Health Collaborative will be hosting its first global health conference on March 22-23, 2013 at UTHealth’s Cooley Center. HGHC invites all persons wishing to report global health research, innovative projects or novel programs to submit abstracts for consideration to be presented at the conference. HGHC is a student-driven organization that seeks to reflect the mutual global health interests across the medical, educational and service-oriented institutions in the greater Houston area. Its mission is to unite the member institutions of the Texas Medical Center to further global health education, research and service.

Read the full release
Submission guidelines
HGHC “Advance” conference flyer

New Grants Awarded to SBMI Faculty

Drug Repurposing using EHR data

CPRITHua Xu, PhD, associate professor and director of the Center for Computational Biomedicine, is a recipient of a $2.8 million Rising Star recruitment award from The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas. The grant will be used to extract drug treatment information from EHRs (data mining) and use the data to explore the possibility of drug repurposing to treat cancer. The potential for drug repurposing to help in cancer treatment has already been recognized. For example, cancer patients taking metformin, a drug for Type 2 diabetes, were found to have a better cancer prognosis survival than those not taking the drug.

Read more about UTHealth’s CPRIT awards

InSPECting Alerts to Improve Patient Care

CCTSAllison McCoy, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics received KL2 funding for Young Clinical and Translational Investigators from the UTHealth Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences to evaluate and improve alerts in hospital and ambulatory settings. Her project seeks to improve patient outcomes by effectively evaluating the appropriateness of clinical decision support alerts and responses and ultimately creating an alert evaluation dashboard called InSPECt: Interactive Surveillance Portal for Evaluating Clinical Decision Support.

Read the full article

Important Dates

Dec 24-26          Holiday break - university closed
Dec 27-31          Reduced staff at university - "skeleton crew" holiday
Jan 1                  New Year's Day holiday - university closed
Jan 11                Tuition & fee payment due to avoid late fee
Jan 12                Assessment of late tuition payment fee begins
Jan 12-18           Late registration - late registration fee assessed
Jan 14                Spring classes begin

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