Sunday, May 1, 2011

Overview of the OHSU Biomedical Informatics Program

People sometimes ask me for a big picture overview of all the programs available in the Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program in the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). I provide that in this posting.

Biomedical informatics is the field that uses information and related technologies to advance individual health, healthcare, public health, and biomedical research. Students enter with a variety of backgrounds and upon graduation take jobs in a diverse array of settings, including healthcare organizations, industry, research labs, and public health agencies. The OHSU program has offerings along many dimensions.

One dimension is the degree/certificate type:
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biomedical Informatics
  • Master of Science (MS) in Biomedical Informatics
  • Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI)
  • Graduate Certificate (GC) in Biomedical Informatics
A second dimension is the program track:
  • Clinical Informatics (CI) - focus on health care, individual health, and public health
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) - focus on computational aspects of genomics and molecular biology, especially their relation to human health
  • Health Information Management (HIM) - focus on Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification
A third dimension is whether the program is on-campus (oc) or on-line (ol), although the two can be co-mingled, especially by local students in the Portland area. The GC program can be done completely on-line, while the MBI program done on-line requires the student to take two on-campus "short" (one week) courses.

The following table shows the degree/certificate and track dimensions, with each cell indicating whether or not the program is offered on-campus or on-line.

PhD oc oc
MS oc oc oc
MBI oc/ol oc oc/ol
GC oc/ol

Where does the 10x10 ("ten by ten") program fit into this? The 10x10 curriculum is essentially equivalent to the introductory course (BMI 510) in the CI and HIM tracks.

More information is available on our program Web site:


  1. Have you considered adding a track for health information exchange? It seems that this requires a completely different set of expertise, though, of course, each of your current tracks would address, in particular, the importance of standards and interoperability.

  2. Tom, I view health information exchange (HIE) as part of the larger clinical informatics area. I would advise against making informatics degrees too narrowly specialized. Our clinical informatics track covers most of the essential aspects of HIE, such as electronic health records, standards and interoperability, and computer networks. I would instead advise a student interested in HIE to complete the clinical informatics track and then focus their elective and project work in HIE-related areas.