The first graduate certificates in Health Informatics are being awarded this month to three students in the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) and the School of Public Health.
Shelle Hyde, who will be receiving her Master of Science in Information (MSI) with a specialization in human-computer interaction, is the co-president and founding member of the Health Informatics Society at the University of Michigan. Her undergraduate degree is from Brigham Young University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology in 2009.
Her interest in health informatics pre-dates her decision to come to UMSI. Working as a medical informatics intern sparked her interest in understanding how information technology influences healthcare and how patients and clinicians can be empowered to reach better health outcomes.
“As an HCI student, my particular interest is in improving the usability and user experience of health technologies,” Shelle says. “The health informatics core classes have given me an insight into the industry background, relevant government policies, and information about current trends in development. This has facilitated my personal and internship-based research into clinical and consumer-facing health technologies that help improve patients’ abilities to adhere to care regimens and better maintain their own health.” While at UMSI, Shelle interned at the Altarum Institute and Health 2.0.
Katy Mahraj will also receive her MSI this month. She tailored her studies to prepare for a career as a health informationist and will be joining the Altarum Institute as a health information analyst and client development manager for health and human services agencies. She earned her undergraduate degree in women, gender and sexuality studies at Harvard University and decided to pursue a master’s degree at Michigan as she became more interested in the broader issues of information.
“The future of health librarianship is really evolving," she says. “For both clinicians and consumers, there’s a growing need for professionals who can help people manage, navigate, and understand the vast amounts of health information now available. It’s a booming field with many opportunities, which is one reason why I was attracted to it. At the same time, I’m excited about the widespread impact that practitioners in this field will have to empower patients and improve consumer healthcare.”
With a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) degree and the Certificate in Health Informatics, Tim Wang is heading off to New York Presbyterian Hospital where he has accepted a financial analyst position. Wang enters the field of public health informatics at an exciting time. Public health “informaticians” are at the forefront of developing new methods for early detection and tracking of disease outbreaks, and they are contributing to the maintenance of registries and vital statistics, important information that is informing decision making and resource allocation.
“I see health informatics as a promising trend for the future, which is why I decided to pair my MHSA degree with the certificate,” says Wang. “Health informatics has the potential to improve quality of care and also to cut down on healthcare costs,” says Wang, who also holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan.
“I believe that by combining the health informatics certificate with my other academic programs, I can utilize my skills to improve the healthcare industry.”
About the program
The graduate certificate in Health Informatics is an interdisciplinary program that requires 18 credits to be earned at the School of Information and the School of Public Health. Students must already be enrolled as graduate students at the University of Michigan, but the program is open to all graduate students at the university, regardless of where they matriculate.