Health and Clinical Informatics Major

Program and faculty

Health and clinical informatics 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. Professionals in clinical informatics occupy a wide variety of positions in health care, research, government, and other institutions, where they use data and information to improve individual health, health care delivery, public health, and biomedical research.

The OHSU Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program offers degrees in clinical informatics at the graduate certificate, master's and PhD level (see details below). The programs are primarily designed to meet the educational needs of two types of students – the health care professional seeking additional training in information management and technology and the non-health care professional seeking training in understanding health care and its use of information and technology.

Student outcomes

For the period August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022

Number of applicants: 15
Applicants accepted: 11
Applicants matriculated: 9

Time to completion:
Full-time students:  25 months;

Part-time students: 45 months

Graduate status (Percent employed) post-completion of biomedical informatics degree:

  • 33% of graduates began new positions in Biomedical Informatics
  • 66% of graduates continued on with their current positions in healthcare or biomedical informatics
  • No graduates pursuing higher education
  • All graduates who responded reported employment information

Dr. Steven Bedrick
Natural Language Processing, Speech and Language Disorders, Data Visualization, and Social & Ethical Implications of Machine Learning in Biomedicine

Dr. Aaron Cohen
Text Mining, Machine Learning, Text Classification and Extraction

Dr. David Dorr
Research Informatics Governance, Innovation, Prediction, and Clinical Decision Support

Dr. Karen Eden
Medical Decision Making, Patient Decision Tools

Dr. William Hersh
Information Retrieval, Informatics Education, EHR Data Re-use for Cohort Discovery and Rare Disease Detection

Dr. Chris Hoekstra
Technology adoption, Sociotechnical interactions, and Mixed Methods Research

Dr. Michelle Hribar
Data Analytics, User Centered Design

Dr. Vishnu Mohan
Design, Evaluation, and Business Aspects of Healthcare Informatics, Clinical Information Systems, High Fidelity EHR Simulations and Patient Safety, EHR User Training, and Informatics Workforce Development

Dr. Ben Orwoll
Health Data Standards Implementation, Clinical Decision Support, Clinical Data Visualization

Kathryn Pyle, AMLS, MA
Scientific Writing and Communication

Dr. Joanne Valerius
Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Biomedical Informatics

Dr. Lorne Walker
Machine Learning, Clinical Decision Support

Dr. Nicole Weiskopf
EHR Data Quality and Data Bias


On-line and on-campus

The objectives of this program are to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the role of information in health care. In addition, students will gain a sound basis for implementing, developing, maintaining and managing health information resources and systems in health care, as well as skills in the management of health information, technology and decision making. The course of study is most useful for those interested in gaining skills in biomedical informatics to complement their existing career as a physician, nurse, other health care professional, IT professional, administrator or librarian.


The curriculum consists of seven, 3-credit classes for a total of 21 credits. Students are required to complete the following three courses: 

BMI 510 – Introduction to Biomedical Informatics
BMI 512 – Clinical Information Systems
BMI 517 – Organizational Behavior and Management

Four electives (12 credits) will be chosen from offerings in the current course catalog.

On-line and on-campus

The primary goal of both master's degree programs, the Master of Science (MS) and the Master of Science Non-Thesis (MS-Non-Thesis), is to educate future developers and managers of health care information systems. Individuals with a variety of backgrounds are provided a strong technical grounding in biomedical informatics, health and medicine, computer science, and research methods so that they may assume positions that require a thorough understanding of both information technology and the health care environment.


Coursework in the master's program consists of the following core curriculum:

  • Health and Clinical Informatics
  • Evaluative Sciences
  • Health Care
  • Organizational Behavior and Project Management
  • Computer Science.

Graduation requirements for Master of Science: The MS Thesis curriculum consists of 55 credits (43 credits of coursework and 12 credits of thesis). The MS Non-Thesis curriculum consists of 49 credits (43 credits of coursework and 6 credits of capstone).

Accreditation: The Health and Clinical Informatics major of the master's program was accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) in 2012.

Student outcomes

For the period August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021

Number of applicants: 20
Applicants accepted: 9
Applicants matriculated: 9

Time to completion: Full-time students 24 months; Part-time students 39 months

Percent employed post-completion:

  • 11% of graduates began new positions in Biomedical Informatics
  • 32% of graduates continued on with their current positions in Healthcare or Biomedical Informatics
  • No graduates pursuing higher education
  • 1% of graduates who responded did not report employment


The PhD in Biomedical Informatics supplies students with a core knowledge base of biomedical informatics and the skills to carry out advanced independent research or take on leadership roles that require a thorough understanding of information technology, health and biomedicine.


Coursework makes up an important part of the PhD curriculum. In addition to work on the dissertation and research, students obtain a deep understanding of the field through high-level coursework in biomedical informatics, advanced research methods and design, and a specialized cognate area. One of the most unique aspects of the program is this requirement for in-depth training in a cognate area such as Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science Engineering, Public Health, Nursing, System Science, and Management. Courses for the cognate area can be taken from the OHSU Program in Computer Science & Engineering or from nearby Portland State University.

The PhD program consists of the following core curriculum:

  • Core Knowledge of Biomedical Informatics
  • Doctoral Symposium
  • Clinical Research Design
  • Mentored Teaching
  • Advance Research Methods
  • Cognate Area of Study
  • Research/Dissertation

A minimum of 135 credits are required for graduation. The table below details the distribution of credits. There will be a residency requirement of 9 -15 credits per term.

Distribution of credit

Demonstration of Biomedical Informatics Knowledge: 55 credits minimum of subject courses required. Students with a background in certain areas (e.g., medicine) may substitute other courses but still must complete minimum 55 credits.

Reading and Conference: 10 credits minimum

Advanced Research Methods: 12 credits minimum; coherent set of courses beyond research methods minimum of master's program.

Cognate Area: 12 credits minimum; cohesive set of courses to demonstrate depth in a cognate area in biomedical informatics.

Symposium: 3 credits minimum

Mentored Teaching Prep and Mentored Teaching: 8 credits minimum (2 x 4 credits per sequence)

Research and Dissertation: 43 credits