Four- to Eight-Week Sessions
Paul Fontelo, MD, MPH
This elective introduces biomedical informatics to students who are interested in using computing systems, networked communications, and information technologies in medicine. It is administered by the NIH Clinical Center and run by the Biomedical Informatics Training Program at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications at the National Library of Medicine.
The elective takes advantage of NIH resources including:
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library and a leader in medical informatics research. NLM's on-line information resources are authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date, and largely free and available via social media. Many involve on-going research and development. They include:
- ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry and results database of publicly- and privately-supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world
- MedlinePlus, a consumer health Web site that integrates medical and health information on some 900 diseases, conditions, diagnoses, therapies, demographic groups, and wellness issues, and on prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines
- MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), a controlled vocabulary thesaurus
- PubMed/MEDLINE, a comprehensive bibliographic database – titles, authors, abstracts – of the biomedical research literature
- PubMed Central, an electronic archive of free full-text biomedical and life science journal articles that comply with the public/open access policies of NIH and other research funders
- UMLS – the Unified Medical Language System databases and software tools used to make computer programs behave as if they "understand" the meaning of the language of biomedicine and health
- Tools for Electronic Health Record Certification and Meaningful Use, including vocabulary standards such as SNOMED CT®, RxNorm, and LOINC
- TOXNET – toxicology, hazardous chemical, environmental health, and toxic release databases
NLM's Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC), which conducts R&D in biomedical informatics and the use of advanced communications and computing technologies to improve how NLM brings clinical data and health information to consumers, health care providers, and researchers. LHNCBC research projects are organized in six research areas:
Participants can work on on-going research projects under the guidance of LHNCBC research staff preceptors. Projects can continue after the training has ended.
The LHNCBC Biomedical Informatics Training Program FAQs include information about the lecture series that is part of this elective. The lectures take place in July and in December.
- To learn about the medical information resources that NIH and NLM provide today and about the motivations and challenges in current LHNCBC and Clinical Center biomedical informatics research, through the elective's lecture series
- To study the purpose, design, operation, and effectiveness of representative biomedical informatics applications
- To explore enabling technologies that can impact the development and use of future biomedical information systems
- To gain experience in independent study and research under the guidance of LHNCBC and Clinical Center staff
- To describe study and research results in writing and presentations and to improve written work and presentations through critiques with other participants in the elective
- To become aware of research funding and professional development opportunities for physicians specializing in biomedical informatics, including through discussions with leading biomedical informatics practitioners and researchers
Selection of Applicants
Applicants for this elective must be enrolled in an accredited medical or dental school. They are expected to have had some experience with computing and information systems, including programming, in clinical medicine or clinical research. Previous computer science and/or computer engineering education may be helpful but is not required.