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Areas of Specialization

Vanderbilt’s Department of Biomedical Informatics offers students exciting research and educational opportunities in all the core domains of biomedical informatics. Explore the topics below to learn more about courses and research in these domains, or visit our VUMC site at to learn more about our faculty in these areas.

  • Biomedical Data Science 

Modern healthcare is characterized by massive quantities of data, from patient records to social media data to genomic data. If you love data and want to be at the forefront of developing new ways to address the challenges of big data, the data science emphasis might be for you. Students interested in biomedical data science take courses in DBMI and other departments at Vanderbilt including computer science and biostatistics, and work with leading faculty in the area.

  • Clinical Informatics

Clinical information systems have transformed the landscape of healthcare, providing access to incredible amounts of rich data, and informing key care decisions using clinical decision support. As a world leader in clinical informatics, Vanderbilt has been a pioneer in the development, implementation and evaluation of clinical information systems. Clinical informatics trainees can gain hands-on experience with cutting edge electronic health records and explore massive, real-world clinical data warehouses. The Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC) coordinates clinical informatics research and practice within DBMI.

  • Translational Bioinformatics

Vanderbilt is a pioneer in translational bioinformatics, the development and application of bioinformatics methods that integrate biological and clinical data to improve health and healthcare. Vanderbilt’s initiatives in this area include the groundbreaking BioVU project, the Center for Precision Medicine, the Pharmacogenomic Resource for Enhanced Decisions in Care and Treatment (PREDICT) program and more. Trainees can get involved in all aspects of translational bioinformatics, including data mining of genomic and multi-omic data, phenotyping, implementation science and translational research.

  • Clinical Research Informatics

Clinical research informatics, the development of informatics tools and methods to facilitate clinical research, is one of the core strengths of Vanderbilt’s DBMI. Through the Office of Research Informatics, DBMI supports programs, products and service lines designed to support hypothesis generation and the efficient conduct of clinical and translational research. Trainees can get involved in program planning, systems design and content specialty areas (e.g., study design, data mining, machine learning, electronic health record integrations) necessary for broad support of the Vanderbilt research enterprise.

  • Consumer Health Informatics

From apps to social media to patient portals, consumer health informatics focuses on theory, methods and applications to support individuals, patients and the public in their need for health-related information and data. If you want to improve patients’ understanding of their health, or patient-provider communication, consumer health informatics might be for you.

  • People and Organizational Informatics 

Are you interested in learning more about the social aspects of biomedical informatics? The People and Organizational Informatics domain brings together educators, researchers and organizational leadership at VUMC, as well as clinical departments, to conduct various research projects related to people and technology. Recent projects that trainees have been engaged in include an evaluation of the people and organizational impact of a large-scale health information technology transition.

  • Public Health Informatics   

Public health informatics focuses on the needs and priorities of the community, the state, the country, or the world – not just the individual patient. Vanderbilt’s public health informatics emphasis allows trainees to apply artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to population-level data and work with public health agencies on reporting, predictive analytics, population and medical product surveillance and more. Trainees will be able to work within Vanderbilt’s Center for Improving the Public’s Health through Informatics (CIPHI), a joint initiative of the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Health Policy.

  • Global Health Informatics 

Global health aims to improve health outcomes and to achieve equity in health for all people around the world. At VUMC, our work in Global Health Informatics combines methods and applications of information technology to improve health systems and outcomes in resource-constrained settings. We also conduct a broad range of research projects to generate new knowledge in the field, while also capacity building countries and higher educational institutions in the field. Recent and ongoing projects include development and national-level scale up of a range of health information systems, health information exchange projects, and mHealth initiatives; applications of data science approaches for global settings; and collaborative design and evaluation of methods and tools for conducting high-quality clinical research in resource-constrained settings. Trainees interested in international projects are highly encouraged to engage with our Global Health Informatics faculty.


Additional educational directions are available, see more info on the Department of Biomedical Informatics website.