SMBS : Department

Program Course Descriptions

Medical/Health InformaticsThe Advanced Graduate Certificate requires 24 hours of graduate coursework, which can be completed in two semesters of full-time enrollment. Students who combine this program with full or part-time employment may enroll part-time over a longer period, usually no more than two full academic years, including summer sessions.


Required Course Descriptions, Fall Semester (7 credits hours):

Introduction to Medical Health Informatics, Part 1

(MHI 501, 3 credits, Scheduled Wednesday afternoons in the Health Sciences Library, South Campus)


Course director: Gary Byrd, Ph.D. (Includes lectures by other core faculty)


This course provides an overview of the history and current core research priorities of the medical/health informatics field. Major course topic areas will center on the challenges surrounding the implementation of electronic health records in patient care settings and their use to help manage the health of large patient populations. These include the acquisition, storage, use and representation of medical data; data interchange standards; health information retrieval and knowledge management methods; protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of medical data; patient information portals and personal health records; people and organizational issues; medical reasoning and probabilistic decision support methods; evidence-based medicine and guidelines; terminologies, ontologies, and data abstraction; patient population data management; and regional/national health information exchange systems.


Required text: Shortliffe EH & Cimino JJ, eds. Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine, 3rd ed. New York, Springer, 2006. (Plus many other readings from the journal literature and relevant websites)


Medical Health Informatics Colloquium and Journal Club

MHI 511, 1 credit, Scheduled Wednesday afternoons before MHI 501 in the Health Sciences Library, South Campus)


Course director: Gary Byrd, Ph.D.


This course is a one-hour weekly opportunity for students enrolled in the curriculum to review, and lead discussions about, the current peer-reviewed journal literature and other current information resources dealing with issues and research relating to the topics covered in MHI 501. At regular intervals during the semester, guest speakers, including UB faculty and visiting experts, will be invited to give talks open to the entire campus community on topics of current interest in the field.


Introduction of Health Care Organization

(SPM 507, 3 credits, Scheduled Monday evenings)


Instructor: Kristina M. Young, MS, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Social & Preventive Medicine


This course provides a broad introduction to health care delivery in the United States. Students examine topics such as health manpower, ambulatory care, hospitals, long-term care, managed care, financing, cost containment, and the quality of care. This course (or an equivalent alternative UB graduate course, with permission of Dr. Byrd) is required for all students in the program who do not have training in one of the healthcare professions or documented experience in a healthcare setting. Students with equivalent healthcare training or experience may substitute another elective course for this requirement.


Required Course Descriptions, Spring Semester (7 credit hours):

Introduction to Medical/Health Informatics, Part 2

(MHI 502, 3 credits, Scheduled Wednesday afternoons in the Health Sciences Library, South Campus)


Course director: Gary Byrd, Ph.D.


This course provides an overview of the most significant areas of applied research and systems development and the challenges facing medical/health informatics professionals working to build and support such applications. Major course topic areas will include electronic health record systems; the distribution and integration of clinical information systems; evaluation methods for health information systems; clinical decision support systems; nursing, public health, dental and pharmacy information systems and issues; telemedicine and telehealth; imaging systems; and bioinformatics systems support. The course is taught using different adjunct faculty with expertise in each area of health informatics and includes field trips to several different healthcare and public health settings to learn about the systems in use in those settings.


Required text: Shortliffe EH & Cimino JJ, eds. Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine, 3rd ed. New York, Springer, 2006. (Plus many other readings from the journal literature and relevant Websites)


Medical Health Informatics Colloquium and Journal Club

(MHI 512, 1 credit, Scheduled Wednesday afternoons before MHI 502 in the Health Sciences Library, South Campus)


Course director: Gary Byrd, Ph.D.


This course is a one-hour weekly opportunity for students enrolled in the curriculum to review and lead discussions about the current peer-reviewed journal literature and other current information resources dealing with issues and research relating to the topics covered in MHI 502.  At regular intervals during the semester, guest speakers, including UB faculty and visiting experts, will be invited to give talks open to the entire campus community on topics of current interest in the field.


Ethical, Social, and Human Factors in Medical/Health Informatics

(MHI 504, 3 credits, Schedule to be determined)


Course director: Peter Winkelstein, MD


This course focuses on the intersection of ethical, social, and human issues in the development and use of medical/health informatics tools and systems. The course begins with an overview of biomedical ethics as it relates to the field of medical/health informatics, with an emphasis on clinical issues. It then reviews particular areas of ethical concern in informatics. The course also surveys social and human engineering factors in the design and implementation of medical/health informatics systems.


Required texts: Beauchamp & Childress. Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5 th ed. Oxford University Press, 2001. Goodman K. Ethics, Computing and Medicine, Cambridge University Press, 1998.


Required Practicum Project, Spring Semester or Summer Session (4 credits):

Practicum Project in Medical/Health Informatics

(MHI 505, 4 credits, Schedule to be determined)


Course director: Gary Byrd, Ph.D.


This course provides each student with the opportunity to explore the implementation, evaluation, or usage problems associated with a health information technology application of personal interest to the student in a healthcare setting in Western New York. Based on each student's personal interests, he/she will be assigned to a project mentor in a healthcare setting to investigate and gather data concerning the application and its use or to help with some aspect of the implementation or evaluation of the application in that setting, write a detailed report including references to the peer-reviewed literature, and give a public oral presentation at the end of the project.


Elective Courses, Fall and Spring Semesters (6 or 9 credit hours):

Depending on each student's background and interests, two elective graduate courses can be selected, with the approval of their program advisor, from any relevant department or curriculum at UB. Students with equivalent healthcare training or experience may substitute another elective course for the SPM 507 requirement. This raises the total number of required elective courses from two to three for the Program. Depending on each student's full or part-time status, and course availability, the elective courses can be scheduled during the Fall or Spring semesters or in Summer sessions. In addition to electives in other schools or departments, student can choose a Directed Study (MHI 599) course project after the first semester to explore a topic in more depth under the direction of a Program faculty member.