UTA joins Texas Health Informatics Alliance as founding member

New alliance, inaugural conference aim to build informatics ties across Texas

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 • Jeff Carlton : Contact

Texas Health Informatics Alliance, First Annual Texas Health Informatics Alliance Conference

The University of Texas at Arlington has joined two fellow University of Texas System institutions in forming the Texas Health Informatics Alliance (THIA), which aims to build informatics ties across the state through research, data, policy, education standards and workforce development.

The other founding members are the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW). The THIA has organized its first Texas Health Informatics Alliance Conference, to be held virtually on Sept. 9. 

Marion Ball, director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics

“Over the past few years, health care informatics has developed from a siloed disciplinary interest to a multi-interdisciplinary focus, embracing all health-related disciplines from consumer to provider to payer to the health care industry,” said Marion Ball, professor and executive director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics (MICHI) at UTA. “We now need to focus on developing and disseminating knowledge in this new era of interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

THIA is aimed at researchers, developers, health professionals, information management professionals, data and information scientists, students, and anyone interested in health informatics.

“THIA will give informaticians in Texas the opportunity to collaborate, communicate and network. Data, knowledge and informatics will allow us to become more productive and successful in improving health care outcomes of Texans,” said Christoph U. Lehmann, M.D., director of the Clinical Informatics Center at UTSW, professor of population and data sciences and member of the conference planning committee.

Gabriela Wilson, co-director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics

The THIA conference will feature presentations and keynote speakers from across Texas. The theme is “All In: Informatics Lessons from the Pandemic to Reimagine Health Care.” The keynote speakers are Peter J. Hotez, M.D, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine; and Nora Belcher, executive director of the Texas e-Health Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the use of information technology to improve the health care system.

“We hope that the THIA and our first conference will contribute to the greater use of informatics in health care in our region, as well as promote research and education in the field,” says Gabriela Wilson, professor and MICHI co-director. “By joining THIA and participating in the annual conference, we will be able to collaborate and connect in Texas’ health informatics community to improve health care and meet our state’s current and future health informatics needs.”

Susan H. Fenton, associate professor and associate dean at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics and a member of the conference planning committee, said, “The effective use of data and information to support health has never been more important. This new informatics alliance promotes collaboration, innovation and improved health across the state of Texas and beyond.”