Department Awarded NLM Funding for Data Science Education

The Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) has been awarded two $100,000 administrative supplements to its National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 training grant to develop educational offerings in biomedical informatics and data science (BIDS). The first award will assure BIDS proficiency in the training of those pursuing biomedical research careers, with an emphasis on predoctoral students and postdocs who are funded by T32 and other training grants from various institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The second award will provide paid short-term (10 hours per week for 10 weeks) and full summer internship (40 hours per week for 12 weeks) opportunities for college undergraduates and high school students to increase their skills in data literacy and stewardship by working intensively with faculty on active research projects.

Both awards were funded by the NLM to address goals in its recently released Strategic Plan 2017–2027, which aims to develop a platform for Biomedical Discovery and Data-Powered Health. One of the three goals of the strategic plan is to “build a workforce for data-driven research and health.”

The overall goal of the first award is to work with all of the PhD and postdoctoral programs in the School of Medicine (SOM) of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to assure proficiency of all PhD students and postdocs in BIDS. Activities will build upon the wealth of educational content and delivery developed by DMICE. The development of this content has come from a variety of funding sources, including the NLM, the NIH (mainly through the Big Data to Knowledge [BD2K] program), and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The BD2K efforts included the development of 22 open educational resource (OER) modules in a variety of data science topics as well as skills courses based on a variety of datasets. The department has a wealth of experience in delivering this educational content to a wide variety of audiences through a variety of online and in-person means. The figure below displays the competencies developed in the OHSU BD2K work and the potential curricular elements to be offered to the various educational programs.

Some other recent innovations in the OHSU SOM make this project opportune. The SOM is implementing a new innovative PhD program in Biomedical Science that aims for a more flexible and efficient curriculum reflecting changes in science (e.g., open science, team science, etc.) as well as the careers of scientists. The SOM is also undertaking a specific goal to increase the number of physician-scientists on its faculty. This effort includes a revamping of OHSU’s MD/PhD program (in which biomedical informatics PhD students participate through our T15 training grant). Indirectly related to this proposal but also of note are analogous efforts to infuse BIDS curricula in the SOM’s MD educational program, insuring that 21st century physicians have the skills to practice medicine in our evolving technology- and data-rich environment.

The second award will establish a Data Science Collaboratory Research Experience Program for undergraduates and high school students. The program will provide paid short-term (10 hours per week for 10 weeks) and full summer internship (40 hours per week for 12 weeks) opportunities to work intensively with faculty on current research projects. The main goal of this program has been to increase data literacy and stewardship skills while introducing students to careers and possible pursuit of graduate study in data science and biomedical informatics.