IMIA Academic Representative:
Dr. George Hripcsak, Professor and Chair




Training Program in Biomedical Informatics. Columbia University, New York City

Columbia University’s training program in biomedical informatics offers instruction and research opportunities leading to an MA or to a PhD degree in the field. We also offer postdoctoral fellowship training, although many postdoctoral trainees are enrolled in one of our graduate degree programs while they are in training. The faculty of the program includes a core group of 20 individuals plus several affiliated faculty drawn broadly from throughout the medical school, other parts of the university, and nearby institutions and companies. Areas of investigation are broad and include topics such as clinical databases, decision-support systems, integrated workstations, electronic medical records, knowledge modeling, biomedical terminology and standards, language and text processing, computational biology, biological sequence analysis, biological 3D structure representations, genomics, proteomics, collaborative technologies, clinical reasoning, design and cognitive evaluation of human-computer interaction, network-based representation and retrieval of biomedical information and literature, biomedical imaging, reasoning under uncertainty, technology assessment, applications in health-sciences education, public health applications, biosurveillance, and health-services research. Details of research programs by individual faculty may be found at

The design of the Columbia program reflects our belief that the newness of the field of biomedical informatics, the need for trained informatics professionals, and the broad opportunities available at Columbia make it appropriate to provide a wide range of training options. We therefore offer both MA and PhD degrees and custom-tailor the classroom and research requirements to the diverse backgrounds and professional needs of our students.

The curriculum provides structured but flexible exposure to topics in the areas of clinical medicine (for trainees who are not already health professionals), biology, public health, computational biology / bioinformatics, imaging, computer science, communications, decision science, statistics, operations research, psychology, health policy, ethics, technology assessment, and biomedical informatics itself. Some students specialize in an application area such as clinical informatics, bioinformatics, public health informatics, or translational informatics, but other students cross application areas. Bioinformatics trainees are generally affiliated with faculty members who are also appointed in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2), part of the Joint Centers for Systems Biology at Columbia University Medical Center (see All trainees attend weekly research colloquia featuring faculty, students, staff, and visitors to the university.

The degree program is overseen by eight of the core faculty who serve on the education and/or admissions committees. Rita Kukafka, Dr.P.H., M.A., (Associate Professor) and Stephen B. Johnson, Ph.D. (Associate Professor) co-direct the degree program. George Hripcsak, M.D., M.S. (Professor and Chair of the department) directs the training grant awarded to Columbia by the National Library of Medicine (which funds much of the pre- and post-doctoral training for individuals who are US citizens or permanent residents). Additional faculty member descriptions can be found on the web at