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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2005; 2005: 1042.
PMCID: PMC1560621

Training Health Informatics Professionals in Brazil: Rationale for the Development of a New Certificate Program

Abstract

Current graduate degree programs in Brazil cannot fulfill the demand for highly trained health informatics practitioners. We have developed an intensive six-month program to train 20 students per year. They will receive partial subsidy from our bilateral training program and receive the title of Specialist in Health Informatics. They will benefit from a curriculum involving coursework and collaborative research designed by Brazilian and US-based faculty.

The field of health informatics has experienced extraordinary growth. Increasing awareness of the need for trained personnel has led to the development of training programs. As with any new field, highly qualified faculty tends to concentrate in a few centers of excellence. Consequently, establishing formal programs to provide broad training and education is currently an enormous challenge.

Brazil has over 6,000 large hospitals, and a large number of outpatient health care centers. Health is provided in private and public institutions, paid by private and public funds. Several informatics initiatives are related to improvements in the care the population. There are over ten graduate programs that develop researches in health informatics, at the master’s or doctoral levels, most located in the Southeast region. It takes an average student 2 and 5 years, respectively, to obtain their degrees on a full-time basis. The degrees emphasize both theoretical and practical aspects of health informatics. A large portion of graduates from these programs pursue academic careers.

As information technology gets adopted, the demand for health informatics professionals grows; individuals who have skills to select and manage information systems. The demand cannot be met by the existing graduate programs, as they are designed to train the individuals whose primary original contributions will be in developing new ideas to be included in such systems.

Our Biomedical Research Informatics for Global Health Training (BRIGHT) program, funded by the Fogarty International Center, NLM, and NIBIB from the NIH, will support the training of personnel to develop and apply informatics methods to the study of diseases that affect a large number of people worldwide. We decided to extend the breadth of health informatics educational opportunities. In 2005 we will offer a certificate program (specialization degree). The Brazilian Health Informatics Society will facilitate the process to select applicants from different parts of the country, who will receive partial subsidy for their expenses. This will be an intensive six month program of 370 hours (lecture and practicum) offered annually for 20 students. The course is scheduled from July 5th to December 23th. The title obtained, approved by the University of Sao Paulo, will be Specialist in Health Informatics. Portuguese-speaking faculty based in different academic institutions in Brazil and in the USA will lecture in this unique program.

Acknowledgments

This work was partially funded by grant 1#1 D43 TW7015-01 for Informatics for Global Health; Fogarty International Center, NLM, NIBIB, NIH.


Articles from AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings are provided here courtesy of American Medical Informatics Association
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