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First Students of Innovative Health IT Program Graduate

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The Health IT Certificate Program, run jointly by Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University, graduated its first class on June 24. The program — one of nine new university-based programs throughout the nation and the only one in the Northeast — received a grant from the federal government, which is making a push to rapidly increase the availability of individuals qualified to serve in specific health IT roles requiring university-level training.

Graduates of the Health IT Certificate Program with Jessica Ancker (front row, fifth from left), program director.

The Columbia and Cornell Health IT Certificate Programs are six-month training programs, funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, that prepare students to enter professional positions in health information management and exchange, health information privacy and security, and programming and software engineering.

The programs combine self-paced distance learning with monthly in-person sessions. Students solve problems and develop projects collaboratively, while a project mentoring network allows students to receive feedback from professionals in the health IT workforce.

In all, 77 students — recent college graduates to mid-career changers — graduated from the program. On the day of graduation, a job fair was also held, which attracted representatives from 14 different employers seeking to fill more than 150 positions.

"National policies, particularly the federal electronic health record incentive program, are creating strong incentives for health care providers to use interoperable electronic health records," said Dr. Rainu Kaushal, director of Weill Cornell Medical College's Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy. "The Weill Cornell Health IT certificate program is an important opportunity for us to educate the professionals who will facilitate this transformation of health care delivery."

Commencement speakers included Dr. Edward Shortliffe, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association, and Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, who gave his commencement speech via the web.

"You are now leaders in a movement that is crucial for the future of health care and the future of our nation," Dr. Mostashari said. "Information technology will be transformative for health care in America, and it will demand a new workforce with leaders who come from university programs like this one."

For more information about the Weill Cornell program, visit the The Health IT Certificate Program website; e-mail: hit-certificate@med.cornell.edu; or call the Division of Quality and Medical Informatics: (646) 962-9410.

Weill Cornell Medicine
Office of External Affairs
1300 York Ave.
Box 314
New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-9564