Health INCITE: Health Informatics Challenges in Technology Education

The Rensselaer Health Informatics Challenges in Technology Education (INCITE) Pipeline recruits and prepares students at Rensselaer and worldwide to be data scientists in healthcare using early data analytics courses and experiential research projects centered on real-world health challenges.

INCITE Lab
Collaborative learning in the Rensselaer Data INCITE Lab

With the advent of electronic healthcare records (EHR) and precision medicine, healthcare increasingly relies on health informatics (HI), the philosophy and tools of data science (DS) and their application in healthcare. We propose innovative, replicable programs that directly expand the HI workforce pipeline at the early undergraduate level for students at RPI and worldwide. The proposal addresses key challenges in attracting and training top talent: a shortage of data scientists, lack of awareness among students of HI careers, and difficulty incorporating reality-driven healthcare projects into curricula due to EHR privacy concerns.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has a novel pipeline for undergraduate DS education consisting of an early data analytics course followed by applied DS research experiences on real-world problems. This pipeline results in DS skills and prompts students to pursue further coursework and careers in DS (see attached report). We now propose to build a similar pipeline to recruit and train data scientists for HI careers.

The Health INCITE Pipeline will:

  1. Produce students skilled in HI.
  2. Create novel, low-barrier pathways into HI for students from a wide array of majors, including pre-med, biology, biomedical engineering, computer science, and mathematics.
  3. Enable health informatics education at many institutions by creating shared HI instructional project resources.
  4. Recruit students to pursue HI careers.