National Coordinator for Health IT hails graduates as new leaders to deploy health IT

Contact: ONC Press Office
(202) 690-7385

Columbia and Cornell Universities' health IT training programs prepare new graduates for workforce

June 24, 2011 -- Speaking to the graduates of Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City today, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology saluted them for being a part of an innovative program aimed at using modern data technology to dramatically improve the U.S. health care system.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for $2 billion of funds to implement a variety of programs  including the development health professionals across the nation to support doctors, hospitals and other providers with specialized health IT tools and skills.

"You are now leaders in a movement that is crucial for the future of health care and the future of our Nation," National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, M.D., ScM., told the first class of graduates of a new program sponsored by Columbia University and its partner Cornell University. "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."

With 77 graduates today, the Columbia/Cornell program is one of nine new University Based Training (UBT) programs throughout the nation that will be graduating an initial cohort totaling some 500 students this summer.  In addition to the Columbia/Cornell program, the program grantees include:

  • Duke University, in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • George Washington University
  • Indiana University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • Texas State University, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin and Houston
  • University of Colorado at Denver College of Nursing
  • University of Minnesota, in partnership with the College of St. Scholastica

The nine UBT programs were launched last year with a total $32 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Funds from ONC.  The university programs are designed to provide high-level health IT skills to mid-career individuals who are advanced in the health or IT fields.  UBT program graduates will provide leadership in using and developing health IT tools, with each student focusing on one of six key roles: clinician or public health leader; health information management and exchange specialist; health information privacy and security specialist; research and development scientist; programmer and software engineer; and health IT sub-specialist.

Other Workforce Development Programs launched with ONC support include: consortia of 82 community colleges offering programs to provide six-month training courses for as many as 10,500 students each year, development of curricula and education materials by five universities for the community college program, and development of related  health IT competency exams.

For more information about the Columbia University program visit

For more information about the Cornell University program visit

For more information about the UBT program visit and

For more information about the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and ONC's Workforce Development program visit



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