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SUNY Oswego health information, engineering to benefit from High Needs grants

A chart showing how informatics can enhance the flow of vital information in health care frames a discussion between human-computer interaction graduate student Chris Green (left) and computer science faculty member Isabelle Bichindaritz, who recently learned that a SUNY High Needs Grant will help her continue to develop a proposed master's degree program in biomedical and health informatics.

A chart showing how informatics can enhance the flow of vital information in health care frames a discussion between human-computer interaction graduate student Chris Green (left) and computer science faculty member Isabelle Bichindaritz, who recently learned that a SUNY High Needs Grant will help her continue to develop a proposed master's degree program in biomedical and health informatics.

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego will work toward a new master’s program in biomedical and health informatics in computer science and continue to advance its engineering programs with the help of two SUNY High Needs Grants.

A chart showing how informatics can enhance the flow of vital information in health care frames a discussion between human-computer interaction graduate student Chris Green (left) and computer science faculty member Isabelle Bichindaritz, who recently learned that a SUNY High Needs Grant will help her continue to develop a proposed master's degree program in biomedical and health informatics.
A chart showing how informatics can enhance the flow of vital information in health care frames a discussion between human-computer interaction graduate student Chris Green (left) and computer science faculty member Isabelle Bichindaritz, who recently learned that a SUNY High Needs Grant will help her continue to develop a proposed master’s degree program in biomedical and health informatics.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced awards for SUNY’s workforce development programs at 37 colleges and universities, including $85,800 toward Oswego’s planned interdisciplinary graduate degree in informatics and a $62,600 continuation award for engineering.

Isabelle Bichindaritz of the computer science faculty, in her third year developing the new master’s degree program, said Central New York hospitals and economic development organizations have supported Oswego’s effort, certifying there is need for a recruitment pipeline for workers skilled in health information technology and integration of health systems.

“This is an era of federal government incentives for all health care providers and institutions to use electronic health records in a meaningful way,” Bichindaritz said. “It fosters the need to have programs to analyze this data, help maintain its privacy and integrate the software systems and databases. These workforce needs are not only local and regional, but national and international.”

Letters of support for Oswego’s graduate program in biomedical and health informatics have come from representatives of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, SUNY Upstate Medical University and CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity in Syracuse, among others.

Online delivery

Integral to the grant application and program development is an option for the degree program’s all-online course delivery — including virtual labs and software accessibility — as well as a more traditional in-person program at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse and on the main campus. Busy health care professionals also could fashion a hybrid online/in-person program.

The grant will help hire faculty and staff and purchase hardware, software and equipment to provide intelligent solutions for such tasks as testing potential health care treatment paths suggested by analysis of patient data or integrating portable devices data in clinical workflows.

Oswego’s Division of Graduate Studies currently offers graduate certificate programs in health information technology and integrated health systems. Once the proposed master’s degree program obtains final campus and SUNY approval, it would offer courses across disciplines in biomedical information systems, quality assurance informatics, data analytics, intelligent systems and numerous others.

“Woven throughout all our courses, there is an important focus on security, privacy and compliance with health care regulations,” said Bichindaritz, who directs the two certificate programs.

SUNY High Needs Grants target rapidly growing fields such as engineering, renewable clean energy, health care, public health, biomedical-technical, information technology and business and finance.

The $63,600 for engineering is for the second year of a three-year $183,800 High Needs Grant to continue development of Oswego’s software and electrical and computer engineering programs. Work goes on for such projects as the Wireless Solutions Lab, a teaching and research lab at SUNY Oswego that will link faculty-mentored student projects to the new Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology in Syracuse.

For more information on SUNY Oswego academic programs, visit oswego.edu/academics.