April 29, 2010- Harold Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D, F.A.C.M.I., F.A.A.P., associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of training and research for the Johns Hopkins Division of Health Sciences Informatics, has been awarded a $3.75 million grant to develop post-baccalaureate and masters-level health IT workforce-training programs at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing.  

The grant was awarded under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Signed into law last February, the program’s goal is to rapidly increase the availability of people qualified to serve in health information technology roles in all health care settings to enhance patient care and population health.

Patricia Abbott, Ph.D., R.N., B.C., F.A.C.M.I., F.A.A.N., associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) and Jonathan Weiner, Ph.D., professor  of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) will co-direct the grant. 

One of nine universities awarded funds to advance health care IT training, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a unique collaboration with the JHSPH and the JHSON, will use the grant to further develop informatics courses already offered across the three schools and to offer partial funding to students. The grant emphasizes shorter-format programs such as the certificate training programs, including the clinical informatics, applied health informatics, and public health informatics courses already offered by Hopkins but which will now be available online beginning in fall 2010. The Johns Hopkins SOM also offers a masters of science degree in applied health sciences informatics, which is completed in 12 months, and the research informatics masters of science program (with thesis), which is completed in 24 months. The grant will offer tuition assistance to a limited number of these students. Lehmann, along with Nancy K. Roderer, M.L.S., M.S, director, Division of Health Sciences Informatics and director, Welch Medical Library, will oversee the training courses.

The Clinical Informatics Certificate, administered by the SOM, takes six to eight months to complete. To complete the JHSON’s new eight-month certificate program in Applied Health Informatics, students will earn 13.5 academic credit hours, which may then be applied toward a master’s degree.

The Public Health Informatics Certificate program is run by the JHSPH (Department of Health Policy and Management), and is composed of six quarter-long courses, taken either as a stand-alone certificate or as part of an existing degree program.

Lehmann says that “the academic Informatics Division at Hopkins has worked for over 10 years to create a full program of education for the informatics workforce, ranging from innovative informatics research to evaluation of effective health care IT to leadership in design, implementation, and deployment of health IT in clinical care and in public health. This grant, building as it does on our existing activities, gives us a terrific opportunity to grow these efforts even further and to have Hopkins play a major role in supporting the health IT landscape for Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as for public health nationally."

In a separate, but related award, the JHSON’s Abbott also received $1.8 million HITECH grant to develop a curriculum for health information technology (HIT) workforce development.  

“Despite mounting evidence that electronic health records (EHRs) have the power to transform health care, many hospitals, clinicians, and others aren’t using them,” says Abbott. “The shortfall of HIT workers — approximately 50,000 — is a major barrier to HIT adoption.  Unfortunately, the country’s educational system is not currently prepared to train this desperately-needed workforce.”

The JHSON Curriculum Development Center is one of five centers that will develop a six to 12- month informatics curriculum for deployment in U.S. community colleges. The aim is to give community colleges the capacity and ability to educate HIT workers, while helping college instructors supplement their own level of knowledge. The curriculum will be developed in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Nursing, Medicine, Public Health, and Business, as well as four community college partners—Harford Community College, Bel Air, Md.; Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Md.; Howard Community College, Columbia, Md.; and the Community College of Baltimore County, Md.  An advisory board will also include academic HIT experts and representatives from HIT employer groups.

Johns Hopkins Division of Health Sciences Informatics: 

Media Contact:  Gary Stephenson
[email protected]