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Academic Update

Volume 2, Issue 8          March 16, 2012

Changes in Leadership

Dr. SmithDr. Jack Smith will be stepping down from his administrative position as Dean of SBMI effective April 1, 2012.  He will continue in his role as a tenured professor at the school.

Dr. Smith’s significant achievements have formed and defined SBMI during his nearly seven years as Dean. He was recruited from Ohio State University to become the first Chairman of the Department of Health Informatics at the then-UT School of Allied Health Sciences in 1992.  He was instrumental in recruiting many of the school’s founding faculty. In 2003, the school changed its name to the School of Health Information Sciences, and Dr. Smith became the Interim Dean.  In December 2005, he was appointed Dean of what is now known as SBMI.

Dr. Smith has helped grow enrollment to nearly 150 students this semester. Sponsored research will total $4 million this fiscal year. But perhaps more important than what those numbers show, Dr. Smith has put our school very much on the map as a pioneer in biomedical information sciences, helping secure the large and prestigious SHARP and REC grants and becoming a recognized thought leader in our field.

Dr. ZhangDr. Jiajie Zhang will serve as Interim Dean of SBMI effective April 2, 2012. Dr. Zhang is an accomplished educator, administrator, and investigator. He holds the Dr. Doris L. Ross Professorship and has been the Associate Dean for Research at SBMI since 2002. As a scientist, he has spent the past two decades doing research in biomedical informatics, cognitive science, human-centered computing, decision-making, and information visualization. He is the Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making (NCCD)  and the recipient of the prestigious John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award.

Please join us in wishing Dr. Smith well and welcoming Dr. Zhang to his new position.

myUTH Enrollment & Financial Services Demo for Students

SBMI Students,

If you are interested in seeing what you will be able to do in myUTH beginning on April 23, 2012, please plan on attending the following demonstration:

    • 9:00 am - 11:00 am, March 29, 2012 (Thurs.)
    • Location: MD Anderson Cancer Center Onstead Auditorium (BSRB - S3.8012) (6767 Bertner, Houston, TX)

Summer 2012 Course Offerings & Textbook List

The Summer 2012 Schedule of Classes is currently available. You can check the SBMI website for the course offerings and textbook information.

YouTube Series: Meet the Faculty

If the video does not appear, please click here.

Want to know more about our faculty and their respective areas of research? Now you have the opportunity! Check out our “Meet the Faculty” YouTube video series. This month we are featuring Hongbin Wang, PhD.

SBMI Students Appointed to GCC/Keck Center Training Grants

The Keck Center for Quantitative Biomedical Training is the training arm of the Gulf Coast Consortia. It brings together computational, physical, mathematical, engineering, biological, and biomedical scientists in a stimulating and nurturing environment for the development and training of a new type of scientist – one who can incorporate theory, simulation, and experimentation to expand our understanding of modern biological problems.

Please join us in congratulating the following SBMI graduate students and postdocs who have been recently appointed to GCC/Keck Center training grants.




Project Title

Elizabeth Markowitz


Jiajie Zhang

Systematic Yet Flexible System Analysis

Erel Joffe


Elmer Bernstam

High-Throughput Phenotyping Combining Machine Learning and Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition

Peter Killoran


Jiajie Zhang

Designing a Human-Centered Visualization Platform for Anesthesia Preoperative-Assessment

YouTube Video: What is SHARPC

If the video does not appear, please click here.

The National Center for Cognitive Informatics & Decision Making (NCCD) is an awardee of the Office of the National Coordinator's Strategic Health IT Advanced Research program (SHARP). It is charged with the mission to provide leadership in patient-centered cognitive support research and applications in healthcare.

Dr. Jiajie Zhang, Associate Dean of the School of Biomedical Informatics, UTHealth, is the director of NCCD and the principle leader of the SHARPC initiative.

SBMI Signed Up for Bookshare Membership

Bookshare is free for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities. It offers over 134,000 digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals, and assistive technology tools. SBMI is dedicated to providing equal educational opportunity for all qualified individuals with a disability. We joined Bookshare and can download books on behalf of our qualified students. Qualified students can also obtain their own individual memberships, giving them the independence of selecting their own books and periodicals for classes as well as reading for research and pleasure.

For more information, please contact SBMI Office of Academic Affairs.

ONC & Health 2.0 Launch Prize-based Challenge on EHR

EHR Accessibility Module ChallengeHealth 2.0 and ONC have launched a new Investing in Innovation (i2) Initiative competition that challenges developer communities with creating innovative health information technology (HIT) solutions. The program is now accepting submissions for a new challenge, including the “EHR Accessibility Module Challenge.” Submissions are due on Monday, July 23, 2012.  Prizes will total $85,000. 

For more details, visit the EHR Accessibility Module Challenge.

Important Dates

April 13                    Titles of the state of science paper & dissertation due (for SP12 graduates)
April 23-May 20        Registration for all Summer '12 sessions
April 27                    Last class day of Spring '12 semester
April 27                    Electronic copy of the state of the science paper &
                                dissertation due (for SP12 graduates)
April 30-May 4          Final Exams/Evaluations

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