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J Am Med Inform Assoc 11:167-172 doi:10.1197/jamia.M1520
  • The Practice of Informatics
  • White Paper

Training the Next Generation of Informaticians: The Impact of “BISTI” and Bioinformatics—A Report from the American College of Medical Informatics

  1. Charles P Friedman,
  2. Russ B Altman,
  3. Isaac S Kohane,
  4. Kathleen A McCormick,
  5. Perry L Miller,
  6. Judy G Ozbolt,
  7. Edward H Shortliffe,
  8. Gary D Stormo,
  9. M Cleat Szczepaniak,
  10. David Tuck,
  11. Jeffrey Williamson
  1. Affiliations of the authors: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (CPF, MCS); Stanford University, Stanford, CA (RBA); Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA (ISK); SRA International, Inc., Rockville, MD (KAM); Yale University, New Haven, CT (PLM, DT); Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (JGO); Columbia University, New York, NY (EHS); Washington University, St. Louis, MO (GDS); American Medical Informatics Association, Bethesda, MD (JW)
  1. Correspondence and reprints: Charles P. Friedman, PhD, Center for Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, Suite 8084 Forbes Tower, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail: <cpf{at}cbmi.upmc.edu>
  • Received 19 December 2003
  • Accepted 24 December 2003

Abstract

In 2002–2003, the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) undertook a study of the future of informatics training. This project capitalized on the rapidly expanding interest in the role of computation in basic biological research, well characterized in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI) report. The defining activity of the project was the three-day 2002 Annual Symposium of the College. A committee, comprised of the authors of this report, subsequently carried out activities, including interviews with a broader informatics and biological sciences constituency, collation and categorization of observations, and generation of recommendations. The committee viewed biomedical informatics as an interdisciplinary field, combining basic informational and computational sciences with application domains, including health care, biological research, and education. Consequently, effective training in informatics, viewed from a national perspective, should encompass four key elements: (1) curricula that integrate experiences in the computational sciences and application domains rather than just concatenating them; (2) diversity among trainees, with individualized, interdisciplinary cross-training allowing each trainee to develop key competencies that he or she does not initially possess; (3) direct immersion in research and development activities; and (4) exposure across the wide range of basic informational and computational sciences. Informatics training programs that implement these features, irrespective of their funding sources, will meet and exceed the challenges raised by the BISTI report, and optimally prepare their trainees for careers in a field that continues to evolve.

Footnotes

  • Supported in part by the National Library of Medicine, through purchase order 467-MZ-200555.

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