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Who is this program for?

The Masters in Applied Clinical Informatics (MS-ACI) is a two-year program designed to train physicians and allied health professionals who are seeking in-depth expertise in clinical informatics. We anticipate students will have current clinical or administrative responsibilities in health care organizations and vary in their background knowledge.

How is this program different from current clinical informatics board certification courses?

For physicians, the MS-ACI program has previously met the educational criteria necessary for Board Certification in Clinical Informatics via the practice pathway defined by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Currently, licensed physician applicants can apply either through a “practice pathway” or through a “fellowship training pathway.” Beginning with the Clinical Informatics examination in 2023, all applicants for certification in Clinical Informatics will have to complete successfully a minimum of 24 months in an ACGME-accredited Clinical Informatics fellowship Program. The MS-ACI will provide the curriculum for Vanderbilt’s Clinical Informatics Fellowship but will also be open to health professionals who are not enrolled in the fellowship.

How long is the program?

This is a two-year Program aligned with the Vanderbilt academic calendar for graduate Programs. It commences with a Fall Semester in August of the first year. Winter Semesters will begin in January, and one Summer Session begins in July after the first two semesters. Graduation is in May of the second year.

What will be taught?

The curriculum is based on published outlines designed to train physicians within the subspecialty of clinical informatics[1]. Courses will cover a wide range of topics: fundamentals of programming, clinical information systems, workflow and human computer interaction, clinical decision support, information system lifecycle, and organizational leadership. The courses are complemented by individual and team-based practicum experiences as well an extended Capstone Project.

What is Brightspace?

Brightspace is the university’s learning management system supported by the Center for Teaching (CFT) and is the MS-ACI’s online teaching platform. Please visit the Brightspace On-Demand Resources page where you will find more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

What is a Capstone Project?

A Capstone Project is scheduled for the final 9 months of the program and is tailored to align formal training with a professional challenge faced by the trainee or their organization. Capstone projects are approved both by Vanderbilt and the trainee’s organization. The Capstone project is an intense experience where Vanderbilt faculty works with the trainee and others with their organization to advance the organization’s agenda in ways that confer immediate value. These projects are similar in depth and format to projects required of master’s students in the Department’s current degree-granting Programs or master’s students in some executive management Programs sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Owen’s Graduate School of Management.

Do I work alone on a Capstone Project?

No. The importance of a trainee’s Capstone Project will of necessity require close collaboration with a diverse array of team members within the organization. The role and obligations of the trainee as a part of the organizational effort are formally defined as part of the Capstone Project proposal process. The Project reports to two individuals – a Project Executive from the sponsor organization and at least one Vanderbilt faculty with experience in the topic area.

On what days and times will formal classes be held?

Courses will be taught with the “flipped” classroom model where didactic lectures and lab exercises or projects are delivered online to be completed on a weekly schedule. The online component will be complemented by face-to-face sessions at Vanderbilt designed to accommodate the schedules of the small group of initial trainees.

What are the Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Student Computing Policies? 

Please visit our Student Computing Policies page to find the most up-to-date policies.

How much does this cost?

For more information please visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Who is responsible for the program?

As Program Director, Dr. Scott Nelson will be responsible for the program. All of the educational programs within the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) are under the oversight of the DBMI Vice-Chair of Education. Teaching faculty are drawn from primary and secondary DBMI faculty with contributions from faculty within other Schools and Clinical Departments within Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

[1] Gardner, Reed M., et al. “Core content for the subspecialty of clinical informatics.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 16.2 (2009): 153-157.