Skip to content Skip to navigation

UMMC Plans to Open School of Population Health in 2017

April 25, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

The University of Mississippi Medical Center has announced plans to open a new School of Population Health focused on preventive medicine, data science and population health science. The new school is slated to open in 2017 and will be the third school of its kind in the United States.

UMMC received permission to plan the school from the State Institutions of Higher Learning, according to an announcement from UMMC.

“Population health considers the whole continuum of factors that contribute to health outcomes,” Bettina Beech, M.D., associate vice chancellor for population health, said in a statement. “In addition to biological factors, social, environmental and behavioral factors are all important determinants of health.”

The mission of the school is to create leaders, including population scientists, clinicians and administrators, prepared to transform healthcare delivery and the health of Mississippians, according to the announcement.

The school will begin with three departments: preventive medicine, data science and population health science. The first two are already in place within the School of Medicine and as part of the Center of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, respectfully.

Joshua Mann, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, says his department will be a bridge between the School of Medicine, the Medical Center's clinical enterprise and the School of Population Health. The department will develop an accredited residency program in general preventive medicine.

“In preventive medicine, we have our feet in two worlds: patient care and population-level health,” Mann said.

“UMMC is taking a proactive approach and leading the nation in preparing for 21st century health care,” Beech said. “We are developing a creative, innovative model to address health and health care.” 

Michael Griswold, M.D, professor and director of the Center of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, says that the new department will help prepare the next generation of health care providers transition to value-based care, population health precision medicine.

Data science bridges the disciplines of statistics, computer science and predictive analytics to turn large amounts of data into usable evidence. The department will offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biostatistics and data science.

“Our vision is to become a leading department of data science by providing cutting-edge expertise in research and education for translating data into evidence, answers and actions,” Griswold said.

“In population health, data is used to predict and prevent disease and to determine who is at risk,” Beech said. “This can provide a set of solutions to improve patient and community health outcomes.”

UMMC will conduct national searches for a Department of Population Health Science chair and faculty members. The department will offer research-oriented M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in population health. Eventually, the school intends to add a Department of Health Care Economics.

Ralph Didlake, M.D., associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said, “The delivery model of population health fits well with the needs of Mississippi and it is clear that this is the direction that we need to head as an institution.

The school intends to hire faculty, recruit students and create coursework in 2016 and admit its first students in January 2017.

The School of Population Health will be located in the Translational Research Center, scheduled for completion in 2017.  “We are going to look beyond the borders of the Medical Center to conduct work that is pragmatic and applied to improve health outcomes throughout the state,” Beech said. “In fifteen to twenty years, we hope to see noticeable results in the community.”



CMS Hospital Compare Website Updated with VA Data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the inclusion of Veterans Administration (VA) hospital performance data as part of the federal agency’s Hospital Compare website.

CMS Awards Funding to Special Innovation Projects

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 20, two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) aimed at local efforts to deliver better care at lower cost.

Center of Excellence in Genomic Science to be Established in Chicago

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $10.6 million over five years for the establishment of a new research center in Chicago to advance genomic science.

EHNAC and HITRUST Combine HIPAA Security Criteria, CSF Framework

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) announced plans to streamline their accreditation and certification programs.

Halamka on MACRA Final Rule: “CMS is Listening and I Thank Them”

Health IT notable expert John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recently weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule.

Texas Patient Care Clinic Hit with Ransomware Attack

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.