IEEE Computer Society Team
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% job growth in healthcare occupations over the next decade, universities are working to keep pace with demand. Biomedical informatics is a relatively new career path, and formal education has developed new learning paths, programs, degrees, and certifications to ensure students are adequately trained before they enter the professional workforce. However, due to the highly complex nature of the field, intense planning and foresight are needed to create fully immersive university programs.
Not only is formal, standardized training important, but also, due to the ever-increasing complexity of the field, intense hands-on research and collaboration are required to achieve research success and industrial experience. It’s not enough to develop coursework, exams, and labs in a siloed environment. Students also need a variety of strong technical interdisciplinary skills in bioinformatics research, statistics, programming, biology, genomics and genetics, database management, machine learning, and more. While some universities have perhaps struggled to create an all-encompassing learning environment, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) stands out as a gold-standard example of what a strategic plan could look like.
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IUPUI’s Department of BioHealth Informatics
IUPUI was named one of the Most Innovative Schools, ranking #57 in 2019. With the only BioHealth Informatics department in the nation, the university created a unique program and environment for both biomedical informatics students and researchers by partnering with the local community. From research institutes to healthcare organizations to pharmaceutical companies, these direct partnerships exposed students and faculty to the real-life applications of biomedical informatics. In addition to this hands-on learning, the Department of BioHealth Informatics at IUPUI orchestrated a community-based advisory board full of contributors with diverse backgrounds to meet educational needs, encourage interactions with local communities, and increase student internship and employment opportunities.
The entire education experience is dynamic, and the integrated bachelor’s and master’s program helps advanced students graduate with both degrees in only five years, saving both time and money. Students enter the job market sooner, equipped with complementary informatics skills like programming along with adjunct knowledge in fields like biology or biomedicine.
This program has two goals: first, to equip students with the knowledge to pursue their desired careers, and second, the skills to achieve their goals. IUPUI accomplishes this by building its curriculum around rigorous learning, cutting-edge research opportunities, extensive industrial experiences, and even scholarships to help with tuition. As a result, it’s highly successful in preparing the high-demand BMI job market; more than 99% of students start a job within three months after graduation.
While so much work and effort have already been completed in building this program, IUPUI knows the ever-changing field will require strategic foresight. Therefore, a five-year strategic plan integrates even more faculty involvement, research opportunities, student clubs, guest speakers, and a commitment to staying on the cutting edge of technologies.
Download “Community Partnerships for Enhanced Research Experience in Biomedical Informatics”
To read the full article, download “Community Partnerships for Enhanced Research Experience in Biomedical Informatics.” Explore an in-depth breakdown of IUPUI’s intensively strategic commitment to further biomedical informatics research, and see how some initiatives might be incorporated into your own university’s program.