Human health is a complex system influenced by the interplay among many demographic, environmental and genomic factors. Computational models of health must take this complexity into account. By situating a new division of informatics alongside its divisions of biostatistics and epidemiology, the DBEI sets that challenge in a distinctive context—connecting the questions we can ask about an individual with those we can ask at the population level. Can we use a computational model to articulate an understanding that will, for example, help us develop new drugs or new preventive strategies?
The DBEI positions students to witness and perhaps to contribute to novel informatics approaches as they are being created, uniquely preparing them to help improve the health of the public. Because the informatics division is housed in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), its students also engage as members of a wider, diverse community of investigators. They pose broadly relevant questions and may connect with work that achieves significant clinical impact.
The Certificate in Biomedical Informatics Program was developed by the Perelman School of Medicine's Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI); admission is available only to Penn and CHOP affiliates, including faculty, current students, full-time staff and clinical/research fellows. The IBI also has developed a Master of Biomedical Informatics program, a two-year, in-person curriculum designed to help practicing clinicians become biomedical informaticians.