Columbia University proposes to continue its NLM-supported training program in biomedical informatics, initiated in 1992. Our goal is to help shape this evolving discipline by providing a research-oriented program that offers rigorous training in the information and computational sciences integrated with exposures to real-world systems in the clinical and research settings at Columbia University Medical Center and in local and global communities, and with exposures to translational activities from bench to bedside. We have developed and evolved a curriculum that assures that our graduates will be familiar with the breadth of the field and will be versed in its methods. Each trainee selects an area of specialization: clinical informatics, public health informatics, clinical research informatics, translational bioinformatics, or, potentially, a combination. Our degrees generally require two to three years for the M.A. and four or more years for the Ph.D. We are proposing to enroll 10 NLM-supported pre-doctoral trainees and 5 NLM-supported post-doctoral trainees (including degree and non-degree) per year. We expect 24 PhD students and 7 post-doctoral trainees in our entire (NLM and non-NLM) program in September 2011. Since approval of our degree program, we have graduated 46 PhD students, and 50 NLM- supported post-doctoral trainees, 36 of which received master's degrees. We have a large, internationally recognized faculty with consistent involvement in national biomedical informatics projects. In addition, our clinical information systems service responsibilities offer trainees opportunities to get first-hand exposure to, and training on, state- of-the-art clinical, educational, administrative, and research information systems. Education for our trainees involves one-on-one experience with faculty members, working on research projects that in many cases are conceived by the students themselves. Most trainees are formal degree candidates and take coursework from within the Department and from the excellent resources available at Columbia University. Our new initiative in lifelong learning skills is encouraging team-based and portfolio-based learning. The faculty, research staff, and students form a critical mass for providing a provocative environment for the seminars, journal clubs, and discussions.
Columbia University's training program will help shape the evolving discipline of biomedical informatics by providing a research-oriented program that offers rigorous training in the information and computational sciences integrated with exposures to real-world systems. Its graduates will contribute to the national research agenda of a learning health system.
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