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Health informatics is among the fastest-growing undergraduate degrees in the U.S.
The George Mason University College of Health and Human Services is proud to announce the launch of the first stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics degree in Virginia. The degree integrates health sciences, information technology, computer science, data science, and behavioral science. This interdisciplinary program is designed to provide graduates with practical, specialized skills in health informatics to improve individual care and public health. “The BS in Health Informatics was created to improve the public’s health by applying useful health information while providing employers with early-career professionals who can enter the field directly,” said Janusz Wojtusiak, associate professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy and program director for health informatics. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) noted the need for “efforts to develop basic health informatics training and education… to accelerate health care’s transformation by collecting, analyzing, and applying data directly to care decisions.” Graduates of the program will be prepared to work as part of interdisciplinary professional teams, biomedical research teams, and public health agencies to improve population health.
Health informatics graduates work across skillsets and silos to address challenges such as adoption of electronic health records, data collection and analysis, and technical support. The combination of technical and soft skills combined with the interdisciplinary nature of the skills makes health informatics professionals at stages in their career highly sought-after.
According to Hanover Research, informatics and health degrees are among the fastest-growing undergraduate degrees in the country. (2018)[i] The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for medical record and health information management skillsets is projected to grow by 8% in the next 10 years - which is much faster than average.[ii]
The 120-credit hour program will include intensive experiential learning requirements—a signature component of all programs in the College. A pre-internship course prepares students with the skills and knowledge to identify, apply for, and obtain an approved internship. Students work closely with preceptors and faculty in their field to get the most from their internship experience. HAP faculty maintain extensive relationships with practicum sites that provide real-world experience for students such as community-based health clinics, public health agencies, and health insurers. Students can also choose an accelerated BS to MS in health informatics option that allows for program completion in about 5 years for the combined BS-MS.
“HAP faculty invest heavily in making sure students have a successful internship experience. We help connect students with internship placements that meet their interests and provide ongoing mentorship to ensure their long-term success. Mentors help synthesize experiences and learn from the on-the-job training and apply what they are learning in class to the real world,” says P.J. Maddox, Chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy. “Faculty’s relationships and connections throughout the industry create rich practicum opportunities.”
“While there are currently no external accreditation standards for undergraduate health informatics programs, we will seek such accreditation when available, to complement our CAHIIM-accredited Master of Science in Health Informatics program.” said Wojtusiak. “Bachelor’s degree in health informatics is a natural progression of health informatics at Mason which in addition to the bachelor’s degree offers Master’s degree, a PhD concentration, graduate certificate and a minor”, he added. With a growing focus on expanding public health degree programs in Virginia, George Mason University is also the first in the Commonwealth to offer an accredited PhD in Public Health degree. Strong collaborations between health informatics and public health faculty and students are part of the interdisciplinary nature of the college.
The program will launch in Fall 2021. Information regarding the program and requirements can be found in the 2021 George Mason University Course Catalog.
About the College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,370 graduate students in its nationally recognized offerings, including: 6 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and 7 certificate programs. The college is transitioning to a college of public health in the near future. For more information, visit https://chhs.gmu.edu/.
[i] Hanover Research, Top 10 Undergraduate Degree on the Rise and the Decline, 2018.
[ii] Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm