An important CTSI resource is the University of Maryland Center for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging - CHIB.
The Center for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging unites research scientists and physicians across disciplines. The center will employ these interdisciplinary connections to enhance the use of cutting edge medical science such as genomics and personalized medicine to accelerate research discoveries and improve health care outcomes. Participants in the new University of Maryland Center for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging (CHIB) will collaborate with computer scientists, engineers, life scientists and others at a similar center at the University of Maryland, College Park campus, together forming a joint center supported by the M-Power Maryland initiative.
The CHIB is co-directed by Owen R. White, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of Bioinformatics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences, and Amitabh Varshney, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).
The new center’s mission is to develop clinical, genetic, imaging, decision-management, patient safety, and public health informatics capacities at the University of Maryland in order to expressly support research innovation in these important domains. The center will focus on three goals. It will provide support for the genomics, personalized medicine and health care outcomes research missions of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the entire University of Maryland, Baltimore campus.
The center also will enhance the School of Medicine’s already close relationship with its partner in clinical care, the University of Maryland Medical System, in order to explore better health outcomes and improving processes. The center aims as well to accelerate translational research discoveries — those findings that translate basic laboratory science into new techniques and technologies for treatment and diagnosis in the clinic — at all of the institutions that are involved.
The center will work closely with counterparts at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies in College Park. The collaborative relationship forged between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park, is part of the M-Power Maryland initiative begun by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. This initiative establishes a new working relationship between the universities in order to increase productivity, promote innovation, generate economic benefits and improve the lives of all Maryland residents.
“We are interested in making a positive impact on the health care system here in Maryland,” explains Dr. White. “Our goal is to improve the translation of the research that happens here on campus, taking it as quickly as possible to the bedside to make a difference for patients. We will be creating a library of different kinds of information collected from consenting patients, information included in their health care records, genomic data and more. We want to create connections between researchers and clinicians and this data. If somebody walks in with a rare disease, the doctor might order genetic tests. The results would come back as a hard copy or in electronic form that is hard to share with other systems. We want to start reforming that whole process to ultimately help doctors make better clinical decisions and get information about patients to researchers looking for data and research volunteers.
The State has provided funding for infrastructure, space, and new base funding to support shared informatics initiatives that advance the health of Marylanders. The CHIB has integrated assets under a single organizational, technical, and support structure to enhance collaboration and use of resources and expertise across informatics assets on UMB, UMCP and UMBC campuses.
Activities leading to the formation of the CHIB were attended by multiple members of the CTSI and have broad support from the Maryland state government, the Univeristy System of Maryland, faculty, and IT staff.