Informatics by malj


									               Center of Expertise for Life Science Informatics
Paula Boyum: Information technology is important in any industry sector now, and that
is certainly true in the life sciences industry whether it be the biotechnology sector or
health sciences.

Bellvue Community College has established itself as a national resource center for
information technology through the National Workforce Center For Emerging
Technologies. In addition BCC is the home of the Washington State Center for
Information Technology Excellence for community and technical colleges

A key vision at BCC is to establish career pathways in all of our program areas, and we
certainly need to expand our career pathways in the science and life sciences area in
particular. Our goal is to infuse informatics into our existing science curriculum and to
help students develop skills when they enter the community college setting.

Patricia Dombrowski: BCC’s mission is to move forward both economic development
and innovation, and we’ve long been identified as an information technology
powerhouse, so it’s a natural connection for BCC to enter into the global health area and
the bioscience area, biomedical, and life science informatics, so we’re very delighted that
Forsyth Technical Community College identified us as the Life Science Informatics
Center Of Expertise.

Our specific goals had to do with creating skill standards and we did create three of those:
one in bioinformatics, one in clinical trials data management, and one in software
validation in the life sciences area.

We also developed quite a wide range of curriculum and faculty support in the life
science informatics area and that included all kinds of things from clinical informatics to
bioinformatics, case studies, and faculty support in various ways (of course all fully
downloadable from our site and the national center’s site.)

Michele Royer: Skill standards have been around for quite some time and they are very
useful in informing curriculum design, especially for new programs, but they tend to be
very expensive to develop and very lengthy. So we developed a new model that was
specifically servicing the area of life science informatics and also that was a very rapid
development model so that we could develop the skill centers much faster and could be
more readily used by the instructors to develop new career areas and new program areas.

Jeff Johnson: Grant funding from the DOL has been very important to our efforts to
provide educational programs not only for students in our 2-year program going through
toward career pathways, but also professionals who are in the workplace. We have a lot
of professionals who come back to the college. Often times our college is almost like a
graduate school, and we have professional scientists, PhD researchers who come back to
school to learn specific areas to better their own self in their job.

Diane Heriot: They are people that are already on the job and they are wanting to move
up. They also are recognizing that technology is the way of the future, and they usually
love technology; are really interested in it so they see our program as an opportunity to
gain those skills to advance in that area.

Jeff Johnson: The other thing that the DOL funding has been really important for is for
us to be able to help faculty to better infuse technical skills into their science classes.
We have this great module in “putting the tech into bio”, and we’ve been able to help
faculty who are maybe in the sciences come together and hear about ways that they can
take the technical skills from the information technology world and apply those to the
scientific world and then be able to make their students that much more employable, that
much more useful, and a productive part of society when they get out to the jobs in the
real world beyond our college campus.

Helena Haas: There are so many best practices and so many amazing partnerships
between industry and education happening in I guess you would call maybe silos
throughout Washington State that we really needed to create a forum in which all leaders
from the industry and education community could meet on a regular basis {and} to
address some of those workforce and training and education needs. So from this smaller
group of folks through the panel the Industry Education Council developed, and a great
thing about that was that we were able to receive funding from the Bellevue Community
College to set up some of the planning and some of the membership protocol and so forth
for the Industry Education Council so that was a huge help

Michele Royer: So that’s one area that we’re seeing is that informatics is going to be
infusing all the aeras, there is going to be this crossover between the biotech and the
healthcare field much more tighter than in the past, and you’re going to be bringing this
level of information at all levels, depending on the user it can be presented in a different
way, probably in a visual format more and more, so that they can really use that
information much more effectively.

Patricia Dombrowski: Our executive director, Russ Read, at Forsyth Technical
Community College has done a great job in bringing all five partners from the grant
together in a really productive way. A very good example of that is other colleges often
come to us, and we refer them to the grant partner that can provide the most strategic
expertise around the questions they are asking. {Maybe} they are building their own
programs or they want to enhance them. This has been a very efficient and powerful

Paula Boyum: I would say one of the primary benefits of having this grant has been our
ability to develop strong relationships with the biotechnology industry and with the
healthcare industry in terms of their informatics needs.

We’ve worked with every company in the Seattle metropolitan area and have really
become part of a life sciences team in the area. We’ve convened national as well as
regional conferences and institutes that focus on life science informatics and we’ve

created curriculum that can be used by all community colleges on a national as well as
on the state level.

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Transcribed by Laura Durham, CMA
January 27, 2008


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