This proposal will establish a partnership between several departments at the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and the University of Utah (U of U) Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) in the School of Medicine. The partnership would be a perfect fit under the "Bridges to the Doctorate for Underrepresented Students" because UTB is an institution granting terminal Master's degrees that has a high percentage of minority students. The U of U Department of BMI is underrepresentative of U.S. minority students and grants PhD degrees in the field of Biomedical Informatics. This partnership will help to establish a path for UTB students to move toward a doctoral degree in one of the most competitive and best known doctoral programs in Biomedical Informatics. Biomedical Informatics is a relatively new field of study, but it is growing very rapidly. It is now viewed as essential, not only to the delivery of high quality healthcare but also to the advancement of all the biomedical sciences. Although most students and many faculty members at institutions of higher learning are still unfamiliar with the field of Biomedical Informatics, it offers many challenges for research, creativity and career opportunities for individuals at the doctoral level. Biomedical Informatics is interdisciplinary, thus requiring that successful students come to the discipline with a broad base of basic courses. Such coursework includes statistics, computer science, molecular biology and genetics, as well as social and behavioral sciences. The education program proposed here will establish the groundwork to prepare students from an institution with a large percentage of underrepresented minorities for admission to and successful completion of a doctoral program in a vital, fast-paced and still-emerging discipline. The proposed bridging partnership will: 1) Provide an interactive Masters Program between UTB and the U of U which would adequately prepare minority students having an interest in the field of biomedical informatics for acceptance to the U of U BMI PhD program;2) Provide mechanisms for acceptance and funding by the U of U BMI Department for bridging students who satisfy the PhD entrance requirements;3) Closely monitor student progress and provide remedial activities as needed to promote their success in the program;4) Provide an effective and measurable means of evaluating the success of the program. This proposal will establish an educational partnership between the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics as part of the Bridge to the Doctorate program. This proposal will educate U.S. underrepresented minorities in the field of Biomedical Informatics. One of the tracks of the doctoral program is in Public Health Informatics, in conjunction with the CDC-funded Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics. The potential is to educate individuals who can assist in research and administration related to many aspects of Public Health.
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