University-Based Training: A Look at Duke

W. Ed Hammond | August 8, 2011

The Program of Assistance for University-Based Training (UBT), which is part of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Workforce Development Program, is designed to rapidly and sustainably increase the availability of individuals qualified to serve in specific health IT professional roles requiring university-level training.

The nine colleges and universities that received a grant under this program are charged with promptly establishing new and/or expanded training programs, many of which can be completed in a year or less.

This blog post will focus on Duke’s unique approach and experience with training the health IT professionals of tomorrow through its UBT program.

About Our Programs

Duke University has a rich history in health informatics. Our long standing strengths in computer-based medical records, integrated advanced information management systems, and medical instrumentation have Duke uniquely poised to address the challenges faced by the changing health care landscape.  The informatics programs being offered through the Duke School of Nursing and the Fuqua School of business draw on these strengths.

Management in Clinical Informatics

The one-year Management in Clinical Informatics program being offered through the Fuqua School of Business is the only interdisciplinary management program of its kind in the United States—leveraging Duke’s world-renowned track record in medicine, business, and health informatics. Through access to the finest faculty and resources across health care, IT, and management education, students will acquire the knowledge and skills to merge technology and patient care and help improve human health. In the fall of 2011, the Master of Management in Clinical Informatics Exit Disclaimer (MMCi) program will be offered in a weekend format to accommodate working professionals.  Classes will meet every other Friday and Saturday for a 12 month period, with four academic terms approximately three months each.  Classes will run full days on Friday and three-quarters of a day on Saturdays.  This program is on target to enroll 45 to 50 students this fall. To learn more about this program visit: http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/programs/other_programs/mmci/ Exit Disclaimer

Nursing and Health Informatics Programs

The Duke School of Nursing Exit Disclaimer offers both a one-year graduate certificate in Health Informatics and a two-year Master of Science in Nursing with an informatics specialty.  These are distance-based programs that use distance teaching methods for nurses and other health-related professionals who wish to specialize in informatics. Blackboard and webinars are used to discuss and present class content. Both programs are built on the philosophy that individuals with a clinical background and training in informatics are best able to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate information systems to improve clinical practice and patient care.  To learn more about these programs visit: http://nursing.duke.edu/modules/son_academic/index.php?id=101 Exit Disclaimer

University of North Carolina Certificate Programs

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill partners with Duke University in the ONC funded training program to provide training in health informatics.  UNC offers a Certificate in Clinical Information Science and Nursing informatics.

The Graduate Certificate in Clinical Information Science Exit Disclaimer (CIS) is a specialized educational track which prepares graduates for a variety of clinical informatician roles. Building on the existing strength of the health-related curricular options at  UNC’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS), this program offers focused training with an emphasis on clinical information systems analysis, data management and manipulation, as well as support of clinical decision making.

The CIS certificate is available as either a compliment to a graduate degree from a number of UNC programs, or as a post-baccalaureate advanced specialization program for professionals in health care and related fields of work.

Certificate in Nursing Informatics and Post Masters Certificate in Health Care Systems

The Certificate in Nursing Informatics is a Post Master’s Certificate in Health Care Systems Informatics and is designed for nurses who already have a Master’s degree. This certificate program is aimed at increasing the number of nurses with health IT training.  It expands the career opportunities for nurses by providing specialized education that prepares them for clinical leadership roles in the design, selection, implementation, and utilization of information technology (IT) systems to support the improvement in quality, safety, and outcomes of care. To learn more about these programs visit: http://chip.unc.edu/programs.aspx Exit Disclaimer

Workforce Roles

At the conclusion of their studies, graduates of the Duke and UNC Informatics Training Programs will possess a firm grasp of concepts and skills needed to succeed in the following workforce roles: Clinician/Public Health Leader, Health Information (HI) Exchange Specialist, Research and Development Scientist, Programmer and Software Engineer, and Health IT Sub-specialist.

Workforce Roles
Degrees and
Clinician/ Public
Health Leader
Exchange Specialist
Research &
Development Scientist
Program &
Software Engineer
Health IT Sub-specialist
Duke University
Master of Management in Clinical Informatics X X
Master of Science in Nursing—Informatics Specialty X X
Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics X X X X X
UNC – Chapel Hill
Certificate in Clinical Health Informatics X X
Certificate in Nursing Informatics X X

About Our Students

The background of the students enrolled in the Duke and UNC informatics programs is varied and reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the informatics field.  Our student population includes men, women, minorities, medical and IT professionals, students with bachelor, masters, and PhD degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and public health.

Students are recruited via the Duke and UNC websites, various recruitment events held at Duke, and other college and university campuses, at local medical facilities, and through attendance at various professional conferences.

Student Testimonials

Two students currently enrolled in the Duke’s MMCi Exit Disclaimer program had this to say.

Brad Kolls, M.D., Ph.D.

“As an M.D., I am an intensivist in the Neurocritical Care Unit at Duke University Medical Center, caring for patients with acute brain injuries. In this roll I have identified significant needs in the area of brain monitoring and developed an active clinical research program to find new ways to monitor brain-injured patients. As a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology, I try to translate basic science principles and concepts to the care of patients. In the lab I am actively looking for ways to minimize brain swelling and secondary brain injury resulting from the initial trauma as well as seeking new tools to carefully analyze the patient monitoring data we collect in the ICU. I am now the Director of Critical Care Monitoring and Teleneurology at Duke, and the MMCi program has provided me with the opportunity to learn valuable business skills to help me as an administrator, as well as provided me with a background in informatics that will allow me to continue to create innovative monitoring solutions and deliver improved outcomes for our patients.”

Man (Maude) Yang, B.S. (Genetics)

“I enjoy problem solving – in puzzles, in case studies, and in the real world. Finding an answer that clicks is immensely satisfying. The field of health care, at this juncture in time, is full of possibilities. Through the MMCi program, I have had the chance to see health care from different perspectives. In the future I hope to use this knowledge to integrate the needs of participants at all levels of the health care system when implementing solutions.”

Recruiting Students

Visit http://www.recruitdukemmcigrads.com/ Exit Disclaimer to view profiles and contact information of MMCi students/graduates.

For More Information

Interested in learning more about the informatics programs being offered by Duke and UNC?

Email healthinformatics@duke.edu Exit Disclaimer or visit:

ONC Wants to Hear From You

Be sure to check out the next blog post in the series about the Program of Assistance for University-Based Training. ONC also encourages you to post comments below.