OHSU and PSU Team Up to Offer the First Accelerated Biomedical Informatics Graduate Degree Program

04/13/04    Portland, Ore.

Graduates prepare for careers in science, technology and health fields in fewer years

Applications to the nation's first-ever accelerated biomedical informatics graduate degree program are now being accepted. The program is offered through a collaboration between Portland State University (PSU) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Classes begin in fall 2004.

Graduates of this five-year program earn both a bachelor's in computer science from PSU and a master's in biomedical informatics from OHSU. Students enrolled in the program will earn their degrees at least one year earlier than if they had pursued the two degrees separately.

The PSU/OHSU collaboration was developed to meet the region's needs in this growing scientific field. Its curriculum blends computer science and biomedical science to prepare students for careers in applying information technology to health and biomedicine.

"The program provides ideal training for the information technology work force that will lead not only the biomedical computer industry, but will contribute to the development of a bioscience industry in Oregon," said William Hersh, M.D., professor and chairman of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology (DMICE) in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Bioscience companies will require employees who understand the biomedical information issues to which computer technology is applied. Graduates of this program will have that understanding."

Biomedical informatics is an interdisciplinary science that combines knowledge of biology, medicine, computer science, informatics and information engineering to manage health and biomedical information. Graduates of the new PSU/OHSU program may go on to careers in research, teaching, health care, information technology and biomedical information applications programming.

The program is a focused discipline ideal for high-achieving PSU freshmen and transfer students with strong math and science backgrounds. "The employment demand for these graduates is very strong. Portland State is a logical partner with OHSU. Its diversity and talent has made it the leading university from which OHSU selects its professional students. Expanding the universities' collaborations is highly beneficial to both our students and the two institutions," said Douglas Samuels, Ed.D., PSU vice provost for student affairs.

Students accepted into the program will enroll in a three-year interdisciplinary curriculum at PSU with a computer science and biology focus. Students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the course work and score above the OHSU School of Medicine required minimum on the Graduate Record Examination will then go on to take medical informatics courses at OHSU.

Interested students should contact PSU's Office of Admissions at 503 725-3511 or 800 547-8887.

The OHSU DMICE has an international reputation in biomedical informatics with more students than any similar program in the world. It is a leader in biomedical informatics research, developing new approaches to electronic medical records, computerized physician order entry, and access to online knowledge resources.

OHSU has awarded more than 40 master's in the field since 1998 and has 60 students currently enrolled. A doctoral program began in the fall of 2004, and a postdoctoral fellowship has existed since 1992. Graduates of OHSU's medical informatics programs find work with hospitals and clinics, health product vendors and manufacturers, and other universities. Contact the OHSU program administrator at informat@ohsu.edu or 503 494-4563. Visit www.ohsu.edu/dmice to access the OHSU medical informatics Web site.

Portland State University, Oregon's only urban university, is the largest and most diverse in the state system. The university's position in Oregon's economic and cultural center allows for deep community engagement and the creation of partnerships with hundreds of organizations throughout the region -- partnerships that give PSU students valuable learning opportunities as they solve real-world problems of business and community. Portland State offers more than 100 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, as well as graduate certificates and continuing education programs. PSU serves more students and confers more master's degrees annually than any other Oregon university.

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