BHIS and UIC Department of Pathology team up to offer clinical informatics fellowship

The Department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences and the Department of Pathology in the College of Medicine have teamed up to offer one of the nation’s first clinical informatics fellowships accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“The goal is to help train the next group of physician leaders to drive health IT and informatics change,” said Andrew Boyd, core faculty member in the fellowship program and associate professor of biomedical and health information sciences.

The accreditation council defines clinical informatics as “the subspecialty of all medical specialties that transforms health care by analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating information and communication systems to improve patient care, enhance access to care, advance individual and population health outcomes, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.”

The UIC fellowship was founded in 2015 under the direction of Annette Valenta, now BHIS professor emerita, and former pathology professor Bruce Levy. The program has produced 16 graduates, some of them chief health information officers at hospitals, academic health centers and the Air Force, as well as faculty members at UIC and other universities.

Fellows in the two-year program take BHIS certificate, master’s and doctoral courses together with BHIS students, collaborating with faculty in both departments on grants and research.

“The academic and intellectual content of the fellowship is housed in Applied Health Sciences,” said Boyd, associate vice chancellor for research and chief research information officer in the Office of Research Data Initiatives and Information, part of the UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

The fellows work on operational projects across the health care system and conduct research under faculty mentorship, while also practicing medicine.

“The clinical informatics fellowship is designed for operational health informatics leaders,” Boyd said. “It’s not just medical knowledge. It’s not just technical knowledge. It’s learning to deal with the organizational and behavioral challenges involved in the multifaceted nature of informatics. We train physician leaders to help drive that change and improve the overall outcome.”