The San Diego Biomedical informatics Education and Research (SABER) training program was awarded an NLM training grant in the summer of 2012. In this renewal proposal, we describe our accomplishments for the past 3.75 years and our vision for the next five years. The SABER training program includes core faculty from the Health System Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), as well as multiple faculty across UCSD and from San Diego State University, a Hispanic-serving research university that has a joint doctoral program in Public Health with UCSD. Our pre-doctoral trainees enroll in competitive doctoral programs in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Computer Science, Cognitive Science, or Biomedical Sciences. Trainees complete a foundational curriculum in biomedical informatics (BMI), taught by our core faculty, in addition to core curricula from their respective degree programs. All of our trainees have been meeting their academic milestones and our first PhD cohort will soon graduate. Our post-doctoral trainees enroll in a master?s program (Computer Science or Advanced Sciences), in addition to completing our foundational BMI curriculum. These trainees are embedded in projects at the medical center that help them contextualize the research methods they learn through coursework. All of our short-term trainees are under-represented minorities in science and participate in various research projects leading to presentations and publications. Some highlights of our training have been the high productivity of our trainees, who are pursuing innovative research in a wide spectrum of informatics areas of specialization, from translational bioinformatics to clinical research informatics to healthcare informatics. Additionally, the proportion of women (52%) and under-represented minorities (37%) is high in our overall trainee pool. We have filled all of our 15 slots (9 pre- and 6 postdoctoral) with highly qualified candidates from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, who have already produced first- author publications in highly selective journals and conferences. We are introducing a specialization in Environmental Exposures Informatics, for which we engaged an outstanding group of faculty from UCSD and San Diego State University. This addition will complement our strengths in translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, and healthcare informatics.
Science is no longer the pursuit by a single investigator, but rather that of a large network of investigators, with informatics playing a critical role in healthcare, clinical and translational research, and public health. We have been training the next generation of Biomedical Informatics researchers in a diverse and inclusive environment where they acquire the essential skills to approach informatics challenges in a thorough, yet innovative, manner.
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