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MScBMI Student Wins 2019-20 HIMSS Scholarship

Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics student Matthew Howard reflects on his academic and professional journey.

Written by Philip Baker
Matthew Howard Headshot

While he readily acknowledges his gratitude for the scholarship, Matthew admits that the most exciting outcome of receiving this award is the increased access he will have to HIMSS, a nonprofit at the forefront of transforming healthcare through the latest developments in technology.

“Networking with other clinical informaticists and technology workers in healthcare while learning about hospitals using the latest technologies and incorporating them into their workflows will be incredibly valuable," Howard says. "I’ll have an important new perspective on how we’re doing things at UChicago Medical Center.”

Matthew Howard Headshot

I loved being able to use the knowledge I’d acquired in my previous position to inform the decisions I was making. I immediately knew that an advanced degree in biomedical informatics would be right for me, and it didn’t take long for me to decide on the University of Chicago program.

Matthew Howard, MScBMI Graduate

Howard is no stranger to HIMSS. After completing his nursing degree in 2007, he started his healthcare career as a registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, then at UChicago Medicine. While working in clinical informatics at a health technology company, his path became clear. 

“It was a perfect fit for me,” Howard says of the informatics space. “I loved being able to use the knowledge I’d acquired in my previous position to inform the decisions I was making. I immediately knew that an advanced degree in biomedical informatics would be right for me, and it didn’t take long for me to decide on the University of Chicago.”

After working his way through the MScBMI core courses, Howard earned a position as an informatics specialist at UChicago Medicine, where he educates staff on electronic health record system and other important integrative technologies.

“The program has given me the exact skills and in-depth overview of healthcare today that will allow me to take the steps I want in my career," Howard says. The program is exactly what I hoped it would be.”

Howard has thrived this role.

"My heart is in the educational side of clinical informatics work, and because BMI classes focus on the technology, my classes complement my work in a wonderful way," he says. "Part of my job is getting buy-in on new technologies, so the better I understand how these devices work and fit into different workflows, the better I’m able to convince doctors and nurses about the importance of using them. A tool is only as good as the staff’s ability to use it, and it’s my job to make them as familiar and comfortable as possible with the technology. In the end, it all leads to better patient care.”

Howard believes the access HIMSS provides will prove pivotal in achieving his career goals after he graduates from the biomedical informatics program this summer.

“I love what I’m doing now and I want to continue to grow in the field,” he says. “I want to learn more about the world of healthcare technology and how other people are addressing the same challenges I face regularly. Ultimately, my goal is to begin working with clinical informatics teams in a leadership or managerial role. Thanks to the biomedical informatics program at UChicago and the HIMSS scholarship, I’m well on my way to achieving that goal.”

A doctor and nurse analyze a tablet.

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