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State of Affairs: Spring Updates for Biomedical Informatics & Data Science

March 19, 2024
by Lucila Ohno-Machado

Updates from the Chair

In this newsletter, we are focusing on new educational programs organized by BIDS in collaboration with faculty from multiple departments. These programs consist of formal graduate programs, certificate programs, and trainings to enhance data science literacy in our community.

Dr. Cynthia Brandt reorganized a master’s degree in Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics (CBB). Even with minimal advertisement this program already attracted 103 applications, and the admissions committee selected applicants with a hope that 20 students will accept for this inaugural class. A master’s degree in health sciences, targeting primarily junior faculty and fellows at Yale, now has a track in clinical informatics and data science, also organized by Dr. Brandt. We continue to participate in the CBB doctoral program, which attracted 371 applications for a class size of 10 this year.

Formal graduate degrees will continue to evolve in collaboration with other departments. In addition, it is also important that we fill educational gaps with non-degree programs.

With an agile curriculum that can be followed online from anywhere in the world, Dr. Xenios Papademetris developed a Certificate Program in Medical Software and Medical Artificial Intelligence (AI), which was open to applications in early 2024. The goal is to offer the most up to date information and best practices to those who need it immediately. With faculty from multiple departments, this new program will cover not technical and regulatory aspects of medical computer-based systems in practical manner, and it will give an introduction to downstream effects of these systems in real life. Out of around 70 applicants, 16 were selected to compose the inaugural cohort. Several participants come from industry, and BIDS faculty help teach an exciting curriculum covering both technical and regulatory aspects of medical software and medical AI. Some course materials are publicly available on the BIDS YouTube channel.

A summer intern program involving students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in informatics and data science is another new offering this year. Dr. Annie Hartley has organized a curriculum focused on medical applications of AI, with emphasis on fairness and accessibility. BIDS will also participate in Yales’ SURF program this year.

Trainings for hands-on use of clinical and biomedical data are now being coordinated with the Cushing Library, with the goal of familiarizing the Yale community with data from the NIH All of Us Research Program, the Epic Cosmos Research Program (containing electronic health records from over 200 institutions in the US and abroad), and with other relevant datasets licensed for research (e.g., Marketscan). Informal training also happens when BIDS faculty collaborate with different investigators and centers across Yale.

BIDS’ role in Yale’s community of scholars will expand as we continue to recruit faculty, staff, and students from various backgrounds who have a common mission: enable clinicians and researchers make maximal use of data and algorithms to promote human health. As we complete one year, we reflect on our initial achievements, which would not be possible without an outstanding team and multiple collaborators. In addition to 12 primary ladder track faculty, we are jointly recruiting with several departments, and have 13 non-ladder faculty and over 40 secondary faculty appointees in BIDS. Our growing staff specialized in various research, education, service and administrative functions, and our faculty, staff, and student teams represent cultures from all over the world. We are grateful to various offices who supported our work, and eager to expand our outreach even more this coming year.

Submitted by Akio Tamura-Ho on October 03, 2023