Deadline is July 1 to apply for scholarships for graduate health information technology program offered via NETnet, UTHSCT

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scholarships of up to $10,000 each are available for qualified students accepted into this graduate training program in health information management technology being offered 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 run by Texas State University, which has contracted with UTHSCT through NETnet to provide access via teleconferencing to the program for about 20 Northeast Texas students, said Mickey Slimp, the project’s local director. This is the second year that the program has been offered.

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 University.

To be eligible for the PURE HIT grant, completed applications must be at Texas State by Friday, July 1, 2011. For more information, please contact Catherine Hardin of Texas State at (512) 245-4418.

Students in the program take courses on the UTHSCT campus, with instructors at Texas State University 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 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 meet on the UTHSCT campus for the evening classes up to two nights each week.

“The Texas State Health Information Management Department is very pleased with the participation at UT Health Science Center. We are excited to recruit a new group of East Texas professionals,” said Dr. Fenton, an assistant professor in the Health Information Management Department at Texas State.

Dr. Slimp stressed that the program was designed for managers as well as computer professionals. “Any hospital administrator who works with patient information would benefit from this program,” he said.

Kristie Atwood, UTHSCT’s director of Health Information Management, is one of 10 students who will graduate from the program in August.

“Being part of the PURE-HIT class has been a great experience. In every class, I have gained knowledge that I can use in my job. I also have made contacts that will be very useful,” 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 the last week of August.

To apply, visit http://pure-hit.health.txstate.edu/ for more information and an online application. Or go directly to the application at:
http://pure-hit.health.txstate.edu/Pure-Hit-Grant-Funds-Application.html. Please contact Ms. Hardin to ensure that your application is processed correctly and to note that you will be participating through The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

For more than 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler 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 2010, scientists in the Center for Biomedical Research were awarded 75 competitive grants and contracts totaling more than $14 million. As the academic health science 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.