$250,000 in scholarships available for graduate program in health information technology offered through NETnet, UTHSCT

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scholarships of up to $10,000 each are available for qualified students accepted into a new graduate training program in health information management technology that is being delivered through the Northeast Texas Consortium of Colleges and Universities (NETnet) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

The one-year program is being offered by Texas State University, which has contracted with UTHSCT through NETnet to provide access to the program for about 25 Northeast Texas students in two groups over two years, said Mickey Slimp, the project’s local director.

Called the Professional University Resources and Education for Health Information Technology (PURE HIT), the project is funded by a $5.4 million federal grant divided among academic institutions throughout Texas, said Texas State project director Susan H. Fenton.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology awarded the grant to Texas State.

Students admitted to the program will take courses on the UTHSCT campus, with instructors at Texas State teaching classes via videoconferencing, said Dr. Slimp, executive director of NETnet and the East Texas Interactive Health Network, a partnership of area health providers from Livingston to Mount Pleasant.

Students accepted by the program who meet the grant and admission requirements will have up to $10,000 of their tuition and fees paid if they complete five courses within one academic year. Students will meet on the UTHSCT campus for the evening classes up to two nights each week.

“The Texas State Health Information Management Department is excited to be able to offer East Texas residents this opportunity for educational and career advancement,” said Dr. Fenton, an assistant professor in the Health Information Management Department at Texas State.

“It is estimated that nationally, 50,000 new health information technology (HIT) professionals will be needed to help hospitals and physicians implement electronic health records by 2014,” Dr. Fenton said.

“The graduate HIT courses which will be broadcast to UTHSCT are suitable for persons with a health care, business, management, or information technology background who are interested in joining the growing HIT field,” she said.

At the end of the program, participants will have a certificate in advanced studies of health information management.

They will be qualified to serve as health information management specialists or health information exchange specialists, health care programmers, or software engineers.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. Texas State will determine applicants’ eligibility for the training program, which is seeking applicants with experience in computer science, medical information, hospital administration, and biotechnology.

Dr. Slimp urged anyone who is interested to apply as soon as possible, because scholarships are limited and will be awarded to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Classes start Aug. 25.

To apply, visit http://www.health.txstate.edu/him/PURE-HIT-Training-Consortium.html for more information and an online application. Complete the application, checking the “Graduate HIM Certificate (PURE-HIT Funding available)” at www.health.txstate.edu/him/HIM-Application.html.

Contact the PURE HIT grant office at pure-hit@txstate.edu or 512-245-8242 to ensure your application is processed correctly and to note that you will be participating through The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

For 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatment, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. UTHSCT’s annual operating budget of $125 million represents a major economic impact of over $287 million to the Northeast Texas region. In FY 2009, scientists in the Center for Biomedical Research were awarded 80 competitive grants and contracts totaling $14.6 million. As the academic medical center for Northeast Texas, its graduate medical education program – with residencies in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities throughout the region and beyond.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.