Scholarly Concentration in Biomedical Informatics

Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS, FACMI

Interim President & CEO, Rhode Island Quality Institute
Director, Center for Biomedical Informatics
Associate Professor of Medical Science
Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Brown University
[email protected]

Tel: (401) 863-2428
Mailing Address: Box G-R, Providence, RI  02912
Web: https://vivo.brown.edu/display/isarkar

 

Elizabeth S. Chen, PhD, FACMI
Associate Director, Center for Biomedical Informatics
Associate Professor of Medical Science
Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Brown University
[email protected]

Tel: (401) 863-2395
Mailing Address: Box G-R, Providence, RI  02912
Web: https://vivo.brown.edu/display/echen13

Overview

Biomedical informatics is defined as “the interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health.” This discipline involves the development and evaluation of approaches for generating, organizing, managing, analyzing, and sharing data to support clinical care, patient engagement, biomedical research, quality and safety, education, and public health. These approaches are often adapted from disciplines such as applied mathematics, biostatistics, computer science, library and information science, management science, and cognitive science.

Common areas of emphasis include (adapted from: https://www.amia.org/about-amia/science-informatics):

●       Translational Bioinformatics– Development of techniques for transforming voluminous biomedical (especially genomic) data to support proactive, predictive, preventive, and participatory health

●       Clinical Research Informatics– Development of approaches for enabling the discovery, management, and evaluation of new health knowledge

●       Clinical Informatics– Development and application of techniques to improve health care delivery services; clinical informatics is a subspecialty of the American Board of Medical Specialties

●       Consumer Health Informatics– Development of information structures and approaches for supporting patient-centric health care needs

●       Public Health Informatics– Development of methodologies for supporting public health needs, including surveillance, prevention, preparedness, and health promotion

The goals of the Scholarly Concentration in Biomedical Informatics are to: (1) familiarize the scholar with core biomedical informatics principles through a guided review of foundational literature and topical discussions; and (2) develop a biomedical informatics solution that addresses a specific biomedical or health care challenge in collaboration with experts. As appropriate, scholars will be guided through the general process of preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication and delivering presentations at national conferences.

Learning Objectives

By graduation, students completing the Scholarly Concentration in Biomedical Informatics will:

●       Acquire an understanding of the scope and process of the discipline of biomedical informatics, including appreciation for applications across the full spectrum from molecules to populations

●       Become familiar with the seminal contributions of leading institutions and investigators in biomedical informatics

●       Develop technical competency for approaching biomedical and healthcare challenges using biomedical informatics techniques

●       Be involved with the preparation of at least one peer-reviewed manuscript and presentation at a national meeting

●       Provide leadership and teamwork skills necessary for participating in multi-disciplinary biomedical and health studies involving biomedical informatics

Timeline of Activities

Formal activities related to the concentration will begin after students enter into the concentration.

Prior to Application

●       Identify research mentor (or team of mentors) from the AMS and regional partners including affiliated hospitals and healthcare quality organizations for advancing a specific biomedical informatics solution (ideally building on the completed pilot project) that addresses a biomedical or health challenge

Year I Spring (March to June)

●       Meet and participate in regular meetings with mentors and other scholars to get acculturated to the field of biomedical informatics and gain essential research skills

●       Begin a systematic review of a biomedical informatics topic of interest, which will form the basis for the research project that the scholar aims to pursue

●       Work on assembling and submitting IRB protocol (if applicable)

Year I Summer

●       Participate in a summer long Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Skills pre-clerkship elective (BIOL 6535), which consists of a 3-week bootcamp session providing background and skills followed by regular updates to monitor progress on completing a research project by the end of the summer.

●       Participate in weekly Summer Research & Scientific Skills Workshops covering advanced literature search, data management and sharing, basic statistics, qualitative methods, presentations and publications, and entrepreneurship.

Year II

●       Take Introduction to the Electronic Health Record pre-clerkship elective (BIOL 6683; required if not completed in Year I)

●       Present pilot research project results at annual Summer Research Showcase

●       Meet and participate in regular journal club meetings with mentors and other scholars to study the essential primary literature that describes the history of biomedical informatics and its current applications

●       Work with research mentor(s) to design, develop, implement, and evaluate chosen biomedical informatics scholarly concentration project

●       Prepare and submit full-length paper to a national biomedical informatics conference (e.g., AMIA Annual Symposium or AMIA Informatics Summit)

Years III & IV

●       Continue to work with research mentor(s) to design, develop, implement, and evaluate chosen biomedical informatics scholarly concentration project, with goal to prepare final results as a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal

●       Attend a national biomedical informatics conference (e.g., AMIA Annual Symposium or AMIA Informatics Summit)

●       Prepare and submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal

●       Lead selected sessions of monthly journal club meetings for Year I scholars

Evaluation

●       Annual evaluations will be conducted as part of Individual Development Plan (IDP) meetings with the scholarly concentration co-directors, with input from mentor(s) as appropriate, to ensure that progress is being made with the respect to the seven competency areas: (1) Biomedicine and Health; (2) Data Science; (3) Social and Behavioral Science; (4) Health Information Technology; (5) Professionalism; (6) Leadership; and (7) Team Science.

●       Year I: Participation in  meetings; completion of systematic review;  Year I Summer: Successful completion of Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Skills course; completion of first stage of research project; presentation of research project progress t annual Summer Research Showcase

●       Year II: Substantive contributions to journal club meetings, including participation in discussions and identification of articles; Preparation and submission of full-length paper to national conference based on chosen project; Written weekly updates of project progress; Successful completion of Introduction to the Electronic Health Record course

●       Year III & IV: Written bi-monthly (one page) updates of project progress and oral presentation of progress annually at scholarly concentration directors’ meeting; Oral, blog, or standard written debrief report of conference attendance; Preparation and submission of manuscript to peer-reviewed journal.

Project Examples

●       Leverage molecular sequence analytic techniques to study complex disease phenotypes that can provide clinicians with actionable knowledge for managing patient populations

●       Performing in-depth investigations of clinical documentation in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to guide strategies for improving data quality (e.g., accuracy, consistency, and completeness)

●       Applying healthcare data standards to support integration and interoperability within and across disparate health information systems

●       Enabling use of information captured within clinical notes and biomedical literature through development and application of natural language processing techniques

●       Supporting existing and potentially discovering new disease knowledge (e.g., disease-disease, disease-drug, disease-gene associations) through development and application of data mining techniques

●       Studying and developing resources to address the information needs of healthcare professionals, patients and their families, and biomedical researchers

●       Exploring and enhancing functionality in the EHR for clinical decision support (e.g., alerts and reminders) and clinical trial management (e.g., cohort identification and tracking)

●       Using available electronic health data to study the impact of policies on health care delivery and costs of care

Prior Summer Research Showcase poster presentations for Scholarly Concentration in Biomedical Informatics can be seen here.

Maximum Number of Students

With current resources and available mentors across AMS and partner institutions, a maximum of 10 students could be accommodated per year.

Faculty Mentors

In addition to the Biomedical Informatics Scholarly Concentration directors, other AMS faculty and personnel at regional partners (e.g., affiliated hospitals and healthcare quality organizations) with a background, expertise, and interest in biomedical informatics can be approached to participate as faculty mentors and participants in an evaluation committee for all biomedical informatics scholarly projects (subject to approval by the Biomedical Informatics Scholarly Concentration Directors).

Funding Opportunities
(alternatives to Summer Assistantships)

At the present time there are no specific resources other than the generally available Summer Assistantships (SA’s) that can be used by students in the Biomedical Informatics Scholarly Concentration. However, specific project mentors may have extramural funds available for supporting some Scholarly Concentration activities (e.g., travel to conferences). Additional supplemental funding may be available for qualified students on a competitive basis from extramural funding sources (e.g., the National Library of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).