Biomedical Informatics Training Course Empowers Change Agents!
This April 12-18, 2015, I had the privilege of participating in the National Library of Medicine’s Biomedical Informatics Training course in Brasstown Valley, Georgia. Formerly held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, this was the second cohort hosted by Georgia Regents University in the course’s 25 year history.
The training was a weeklong survey course designed to empower “change agents” in their respective institutions. Due to the wide spectrum of experiences and professions represented in the cohort, our preconceived definitions of “biomedical informatics” soon covered an entire board (see image below):
Preconceived definitions of “biomedical informatics” discussion
A diverse collection of professionals included eight librarians, four medical doctors, four academic faculty, four informaticians/informationists, eight healthcare administrators/managers, and even a representative from UpToDate. Throughout the course, inside and outside of the classroom, we had plenty of opportunities to learn from one another and participate in the active exchange of ideas. It was the perfect venue for networking as we each found an active audience in our peers as we shared ways to apply our newly gained knowledge.
The course schedule was robust, starting at 8:30 each morning and finishing at 9:00 p.m. Topics ranged from Informatics Standards to Natural Language Processing and Semantic MEDLINE. Courses were taught by subject experts as well as pioneers in their respective fields. Presenters included Dr. Donald Lindberg (Professor Emeritus of the National Library of Medicine), Dr. Ed Hammond (Director of the Duke Center for Health Informatics), and Paul Harris (Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University and creator of REDCap).
Sessions were broken into digestible 90 minute sessions with breaks. Break times were frequently utilized to continue the discussions and questions from the lecture. Experts in their fields, our lecturers were personable, very accessible, and encouraged us to contact them beyond the course.
Since the venue was located two hours north of Atlanta (the main airport) in Brasstown Valley, there was plenty of time on the bus ride back into the city to not only reminisce with one another, but to reflect on the material learned in the course. Curious to apply and share the newfound knowledge we gained, we were leaving this weeklong intensive course empowered to be the change agents within our institutions.
This course educated attendees on the constantly changing field of biomedical informatics. Most sessions blended the appropriate amount of history on the topic with current challenges and opportunities–which always spurred a lively discussion among the group. We learned the many ways the National Library of Medicine plays a consistent role in the field.
I feel fortunate to have attended and highly encourage anybody else interested to apply for this incredible learning opportunity. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or want to talk with me about what I learned, contact me at Darell Schmick; 801-585-3563.
Group shot of attendees at the National Library of Medicine’s Biomedical Informatics Training course in Brasstown Valley, Georgia, April 2015 (Darell is in the middle in the back!)
ds – 5/08/2015