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SPOTLIGHT: Public Health Informatics

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Public health informatics has been defined as the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning. Public health informatics

  1. Analyzes structure, relationships and behavior of systems that store, process and use information
  2. Integrates information from diverse sources and into work processes where it can generate value
  3. Develops methods for effective acquisition and presentation of information
  4. Manages change among people, processes and technology to enable effective use of information systems

The following products and resources highlight some public health informatics training available for the public health community. For more on the definition, View The Cornerstones of Medical Informatics.


Acute Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Investigation: Federal Surveillance Systems
(University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness)
Audience: Public health practitioners
Description: Gives an introduction to the various federal surveillance systems for monitoring acute disease and other outbreaks; provides an understanding in: the role of federal agencies, in national surveillance, the use and limitations of public health surveillance data, and the use of surveillance data to detect disease outbreaks

Health Informatics in the Cloud
(Georgia Institute of Technology)
Audience: For non-technically trained learners
Description: Explores the role of computing in understanding the genomic and proteomic processes within cells; focuses on the U.S. healthcare delivery system's unique structural, economic and policy issues, and how they create a potentially strategic role for health informatics, core technologies, and the future of the field; this is a facilitated course and starts January 28th 2013

Health Information Technology Standards and Systems Operability
((John Hopkins University) JHSPH Open Courseware)
Audience: Public health and medical professionals responsible, or advocating, for information systems
Description: Provides health professionals with information on existing health information technology (HIT) standards and HIT standardization processes, provides students with methods and tools for participation as users in the HIT standardization activities for the design and evaluation of integrated health data systems at the local, state, regional, national, or international levels

The History of Public Health Informatics: Where Do we go from here? Continuing Education
(South Central Public Health Partnership)
Audience: Nurses, social workers, public health practitioners, information system professionals
Description: Describes how key events over the past decade have contributed to development and use of many computerized systems that support public health practice; focuses on major PHI applications, including syndromic surveillance; discusses how the sub-discipline of public health informatics has evolved over time

HIT Orientation
(National eHealth Collaborative)
Audience: Stake holders who are new to health information technology or need a refresher
Description: Offers comprehensive introduction to health information technology (HIT); provides archived course materials, introduction to government initiatives, and a high-level view of the current U.S. HIT landscape

Introduction to Logic Models Continuing Education
(New York New Jersey Public Health Training Center)
Audience: Public health professionals
Description: Provides information about why logic models are important, an explanation of the model components, and real-world examples of how logic models are built; describes how a logic model can be used for program planning, implementation and evaluation

Meaningful Use
(CDC Public Health Informatics)
Audience: Public health professionals who will be affected by electronic medical records
Description: Provides information on the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act; describes how the implementation of electronic health records will improve quality of care

National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Public Health Informatics Related Webinars
(National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACHHO))
Audience: Local health department leaders and public health practitioners
Description: Provides a list of archived webinars including, What Local Health Departments Need to Know About Meaningful Use, and The Status of Local Health Department Information Systems – Results from the 2010 NACCHO Informatics Needs Assessment

Public Health Information and Data Tutorial
(U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health)
Audience: Public health practitioners
Description: Learn how to build a plan to stay informed about developments and events related to public health, find reliable and authoritative consumer-oriented materials to support health education goals, retrieve statistical information, access data sets relevant to public health, and use information in support of evidence-based practice

Public Health Information Systems Continuing Education
(South Central Public Health Partnership)
Audience: Public health practitioners
Description: Provides information for learners to gain familiarity with the concepts of Public Health informatics and models for designing community health information systems; describes challenges and limitations of information systems; shows how learners can analyze appropriate applications of informatics for public health

Career Advancement

Applied Public Health Informatics Fellowship
From: CDC/CSTE/ASTHO — CDC in collaboration with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), the Association of State Health Officials (ASTHO), the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII), and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH)
Description: Designed to train recent graduates in the expanding field of applied public health informatics; This fellowship provides high quality training experience with a goal to secure long-term career placement for fellows at the state or local level. Participating fellows will receive one year of on-the-job training at a local or state health agency under the guidance of experienced mentors

Pathology – Informatics Fellowship
From: Pathology Informatics Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital
Description: This program seeks to train pathologists to become leaders in informatics and imaging. At the conclusion of the program, fellows will be able to effectively lead a pathology informatics service at medical centers; possess an in-depth understanding and skillset for an academic or research career; and have gained experience with national and international working groups in pathology informatics; created primarily as a one year fellowship but will work with candidates interested in shorter or longer programs

Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program
From: CDC
Description: This is a two year competency-based training program in public health informatics. The fellowship provides a problem-based learning environment in which fellows apply information and computer sciences and information technology to solve public health problems. Fellows will gain experience with real-world assignments and activities at CDC and short-term assignments in both domestic and international settings.

Page maintained by: Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office

Information regarding training products and resources featured in the Spotlight was provided by

  • Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (OSELS)/Public Health Surveillance and Informatics Program Office (PHSIPO)
  • OSELS/Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office (SEPDPO)/Public Health Informatics Fellowship Branch (PHIFB)
  • Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII)
  • Page last reviewed: January 1, 2013
  • Page last updated: January 1, 2013
  • Error processing SSI file The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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