Medical Informatics Training and Research at Columbia University

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ABSTRACT this article we provide a summary of the current state of the research and educational programs, beginning with their historical base, proceeding to the philosophical perspective on which the department is built, and closing with a discussion of the degree programs and curriculum. Departmental Roots and Growth Columbia's Department of Medical Informatics was formed in 1995, emerging from the previous Center for Medical Information Science that had been created in the late 1980s when Dr. Paul Clayton had been recruited to Columbia from LDS Hospital and the University of Utah. Under Dr. Clayton's leadership, the Center had attracted IAIMS funding from the National Library of Medicine [2, 3] and, by the early 1990s, had developed a systems architecture and had implemented a clinical information system that was in routine use by clinicians at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center [4]. Our faculty and staff were also major contributors to research projects such as the Arden Syntax for Medical Logic Modules [5], the Unified Medical Language System [6, 7] , and the Health Level 7 standard for medical data interchange [8]. As the Center matured as an organization for academic research and training as well as for clinical service, its faculty grew in number and breadth of expertise. Beginning in 1993, we began enrolling our post-doctoral students in courses of study leading to the MA, M Phil, and PhD degrees in Medical Informatics, and in 1995 we enrolled our first group of pre-doctoral students. By 1994, it was reasonable to propose the creation of a formal department and of a degree program to grant masters and PhD degrees in medical informatics. At the time of our previous article, this degree program had just been established and we had begun converting our training program ...

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