Winter 2012 Update

Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology

Rob PosteraroA Conversation with Robert Posteraro, MD, MBI '05, FACR.

Dr. Posteraro is an
Assistant Professor in Clinical Practice Management at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.

Q: How did you first get involved with Informatics?

A: I was a practicing radiologist with a long-time interest in computers and eager to keep up with the computer-aided advances that were being made both within my field, and in medicine in general. I did a Google search on "computers and medicine" and came across an intriguing Web site announcing an online, introductory course in Biomedical Informatics, hosted by OHSU. Curious, I applied for the course and was accepted. The first course led to a second, which, after a total of six courses, led to my Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Informatics. I earned my Masters in 2005.

Q: How have you used your Informatics education?

A: When the hospital I staffed began to implement a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), my Informatics degree gave me the knowledge and credibility to serve as the liaison between the Radiology Department and the hospital administration. A short time later, I was giving lectures in Informatics in the online Clinical Services Management Program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), while continuing to practice full-time. Four years later, the opportunity arose to apply for a full-time teaching position at TTUHSC, where I have been ever since. When I started that first course in Informatics in 2000, changing careers was not even a consideration. Having the right credentials, accompanied by a bit of serendipity, led me to a second, and very satisfying, career!

Q: What was special about your experience with OHSU?

A: What had struck me most as a student was the remarkable culture of OHSU's Informatics Program, led by Dr. Bill Hersh. Bill and his staff have not only created a program that is at the forefront of the industry, but is also "human." Bill told me, "most of my students work full time. I recognize they're doing this coursework in addition to their work and their family. We need to make an allowance for people's lives." When the time came for my graduation, I was in the middle of my final course, just short of completing my degree, but the department invited me to march in graduation anyway, and I completed my course requirements a few weeks later.

Q: Why should someone support Informatics at OHSU?

A: As we look at the future of healthcare, we know that the explosive growth in data and communications will be both a boon and a challenge. How can the future of healthcare possibly advance without Informatics? Every healthcare practitioner is going to need Informatics training. That's why it's so important for us to make sure that programs like OHSU's continue to flourish. As a former student, I am grateful to Bill and his team for the opportunity they gave me. As an alumnus, I am proud of OHSU's nationally recognized leadership. As a professional, I know that it is critical that this program continue to grow. It is for all of these reasons I continue to give support to the program each year, and that is why I ask you to join me with your gift of support today.