National Library of Medicine Awards $75 Million for Informatics Research Training

Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that the NLM is awarding 18 five-year grants, totaling more than $75million, for research training in biomedical informatics, the discipline that seeks to apply computer and communications technology to the field of health.

For more than 30 years, NLM has been the primary sponsor of biomedical informatics research training in the United States.

?NLM?s informatics training programs produce investigators trained in applying biomedical computing to improve clinical medicine, basic biomedical research, clinical and translational research, public health, and other health-related areas,? said Dr. Lindberg. ?Such specialists are vital for research in such key areas as the human genome, application of genomics to treatment and diagnosis, and the use of electronic health records to improve care and reduce error.?

At its current group of 18 informatics programs, NLM supports nearly 300 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees each year. Informatics requires knowledge of biology and medicine as well as of computer and information sciences, engineering, and human behavior. Many trainees have two mentors guiding their research. Trainees come to these programs with a range of educational and professional backgrounds; the group includes physicians, biologists, computer scientists, and engineers.

Distributed geographically around the country, NLM?s informatics training programs provide graduate degrees and in-depth research experience in one or more of following areas:

Health care/clinical informatics (patient care, such as clinical decision support systems and multimedia electronic health records)
Bioinformatics and/or computational biology (genomics, proteomics, cheminformatics, systems biology and simulation/modeling of biological systems)
Clinical research and translational informatics (?bench to bedside? translational research, for example, the genetic factors that influence health, disease, and response to treatment)
Public health informatics: Applications of informatics principles and methods to areas such as ?intelligent? decision support of public health agencies and practitioners, research in health behavior, health literacy and syndromic surveillance
Imaging and signal processing (acquisition, interpretation, and retrieval of biomedical images in support of health care or basic biomedical research)
The organizations funded to do this training are responsible for the selection of trainees; questions about eligibility, program specifics, and levels of support should be addressed to the programs themselves.

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