At the Duke/UNC Joint Health Informatics Seminar on January 30th, Dr. W. Ed Hammond was recognized for his leadership and contributions to health information technology and the Workforce Development Program. The Principal Investigator on two related grants, the Curriculum Development Centers grant and the Program Assistance for University-Based Training grant, Dr. Hammond, Director of Duke Center for Health Informatics, was presented acclamations for each from the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) by Iain Sanderson, MD, Chief of Academic and Research Informatics, Duke Medicine.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted in 2009, at which time ONC developed several programs to build the foundation needed for improving health care delivery through health information technology. The Workforce Development Program is one of these.
Duke’s two grants focus on developing resources to increase the number of IT professionals in health care. The Curriculum Development Centers grant addressed the shortage of appropriately trained health IT professionals by creating free, instruction-ready training materials for community college curricula. Partnering with Rowan Cabarrus, Durham Regional, and Pitt Community Colleges, Duke and other awardees developed a curriculum that is now utilized in over 90 countries. The Program Assistance for University-Based Training grant provides financial assistance to students seeking postgraduate certificate and master’s degree training for six vital roles in the health care industry. Together with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 113 students have received funding to support their education in health informatics.
The work of Dr. Hammond and the grant teams was formally recognized by President Barack Obama at a meeting in Washington, DC last month praising the “remarkable progress” Duke and other institutions have made in the advancement of health information technology. In the letter accompanying these awards, President Obama noted: “Modernization of America’s health care system is essential to the well-being of our people in the 21st century. Continued technological advances in how medical information is shared will be key to helping health care providers and patients make more informed decisions.”