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Public Health Informatics

Rigorous courses prepare students for diverse types of research and policy careers, including positions in public health, academic, and the IT-related private sector. Students have ample opportunities for exposure to health care and IT professionals from various organizations.

Research Opportunities

Utah is unique for public health informatics research. Powerful and extensive electronic health databases exist in all of the major Utah health care provider networks, including University of Utah Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Veterans Administration. Students have access to faculty with expertise in public health practice, record linkage, simulation, surveillance system development and evaluation, and other areas required for addressing public health problems. The department also has close ties with the various departments of health and this close collaboration fosters cross-cutting mentorship for our students.

Unique Resources

The Utah Cancer Registry has recorded all cancers occurring in the state since 1966. The Utah Population Database (UPDB) represents 10 generations of Utahns, including the early Utah pioneers and their modern-day descendants. It  is one of the world’s richest sources of in-depth information that supports research on genetics, epidemiology, demography, and public health. This genealogical data set is linked to the University of Utah Health electronic data warehouse and to state-based disease registries and vital records, resulting in a resource unmatched in the world for population studies of heritable conditions. The Utah Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is funded by the CDC and creates a unique resource that combines environmental and clinical data for public query and research.

Advanced lines of research include:

  • Surveillance techniques that rely on electronic processing of data contained within the electronic medical records;
  • Population-based genealogical studies utilizing the Utah Population Database; and
  • Health informatics-based interventions to improve response to infection diseases within health care systems and communities.

Our Experts

Catherine J. Staes, PhD, MPH, RN, FAMIA, FACMI

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