Friday, May 6, 2011

First Year of the OHSU University-Based Training (UBT) Program

It has been a little over a year since Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) was awarded two grants from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) Workforce Development Program. Activity on these projects has been a major part of the work in our department, and certainly of my time, over this period. In this posting, I will report on our University-Based Training (UBT) Program. In a later posting, I will report on our work on the other funded project, the Curriculum Development Centers/National Training & Dissemination Center Program.

OHSU was one of nine universities (or consortia thereof) awarded a UBT grant. We have met all of our goals and timelines so far for the project. The gist of our funded proposal was to enroll students into our Graduate Certificate and Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI) programs, with additional course requirements based on the specific ONC workforce roles. As OHSU is on an academic quarter system, Graduate Certificate (classified by ONC as Type 1) students are expected to complete the program in an accelerated part-time status in four quarters (one year) while MBI (classified by OC as Type 2) students are expected to complete the Master's program in six quarters (one and a half years) as full-time students. We were awarded $3.08 million to fund 135 Type 1 and 13 Type 2 students over three years through 2013. The "ad" on this page links to the Web page describing the program.

We accepted 12 Type 1 students to start in the summer quarter of 2010, with 11 of those students expected to graduate in June, 2011, along with two additional students who completed the program in an accelerated manner. We will also have one Type 2 student graduating in June, 2011. These 14 graduates will be eligible (and encouraged!) to attend the OHSU June 6, 2011 Commencement.

We have an additional 74 Type 1 students in the pipeline who started the program in the fall (34), winter (26), and spring (14) quarters. These students, along with eight Master's students, are for the most part on track to graduate on time.

The students we have accepted have a great deal of geographic and occupational diversity. Similar to our distance learning program in general, our UBT students reside all across the United States. (We actually have distance learning students living in 40 states as well as six countries.) Our UBT students reside in 20 different states, with some over-representation in our region, probably reflecting proportions of applicants. Those states with more than one student in our UBT program include:
  • Oregon - 39 (49%)
  • Washington - 7 (9%)
  • California - 4 (5%)
  • New York - 4 (5%)
  • Texas - 3 (4%)
  • Maryland - 3 (4%)
  • Tennessee - 2 (3%)
  • Utah - 2 (3%)
  • Virginia - 2 (3%)
  • Minnesota - 2 (3%)
  • Wisconsin - 2 (3%)
Our students also come from many diverse career backgrounds. While the majority come from healthcare fields, a decent-sized minority do not, and some have highly technical backgrounds who are coming to learn how information technology is applied in healthcare settings. The backgrounds with more than one representative include:
  • Medicine (Physician) - 16 (20%)
  • Nursing - 13 (16%)
  • Business/Management - 10 (13%)
  • Liberal Arts/Humanities - 6 (8%)
  • Computer Science - 6 (8%)
  • Public Health - 4 (5%)
  • Biochemistry/Biology/Chemistry - 4 (5%)
  • Finance/Accounting - 2 (3%)
  • Health Information Mgmt - 2 (3%)
  • Healthcare Management/Administration - 2 (3%)
Our students also have a variety of highest degrees, with over half having a graduate-level degree already. The distribution of highest degrees is as follows:
  • Bachelors - 34 (44.1%)
  • Masters - 24 (31.1%)
  • MD - 16 (20.8%)
  • PhD - 3 (3.9%)
  • Other healthcare doctorate - 1 (1.3%)
One of the challenges we have faced is the competitive admissions process. We have had many more qualified applicants than we have funded positions for, so we have not been to fund some highly qualified applicants. The rate of acceptance has been 34 out of 162 (21.0%) for the fall, 26 out of 102 (25.5%) for the winter, and 14 out of 73 (19.2%) for the spring.

Moving forward, we are on track to have an additional 34 Type 1 graduates at the end of the summer quarter in early September, 2011. On September 9-10, OHSU plans to hold an informatics program reunion event, celebrating the 15 year anniversary of our first informatics degree program and the first graduates of our UBT program. Additional students will graduate later this year and into 2012, including our initial cohort of MBI students.

All told, we have committed 78 of our 135 (57.8%) Type 1 slots and eight of our 13 (61.5%) Type 2 slots. We are taking the summer quarter off for new admissions and will be admitting Type 1 and Type 2 students starting again in the fall quarter. We will award the rest of our funded slots during the 2011-2012 academic year, aiming to have everyone complete the program by the end of grant in April, 2013. During this time, our existing program is still operational, and those not awarded UBT funding can still enroll as self-funded students.

We have also implemented practicum (for Graduate Certificate students) and internship (for Master's students) programs . These programs are being administered by an Internship Coordinator whom we have hired. Students are required to find their own practicum or internship, although we help them however we can. The hosting organizations so far include health care organizations, regional extension centers, and vendors.

Another hire is our career counselor, who will help students identify and apply for jobs. We also hope this individual will collaborate with the internship coordinator as well as lay the foundation for continued relationships with employers beyond the end of the UBT funding.

All told, we are pleased with what we have accomplished in the ONC UBT program. We hope this will lead to a sustainable increased interest in biomedical informatics education and careers beyond the end of the grant itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment