May 2012

Biometry, Health Computer Sciences, or Health Informatics?

Why not all three? The Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota recently deposited 45 cubic feet of material to the University Archives. This is pretty impressive for an institute that is only seven years old. In reality, the materials date back to 1968 when the relevant graduate degree was Biometry and Health Information Sciences, and was part of the School of Public Health. At the same time, the Division of Health Computer Sciences was part of the Medical School‘s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, and was a forerunner to the academic aspect of the Institute of Health Informatics.

The materials in this collection are mainly from training grants and a simulations resources grant. The main grant supporting this program was a prestigious National Library of Medicine grant, which was held from 1974 to 2009 and was used to train future teachers in the field of health informatics as well as future researchers. The simulation grant, through the National Center for Research Resources, allowed the University of Minnesota to be unique in that there were computers available as a resource in its medical sciences college.

Samples of the kinds of grant reports that are available for early training grants are available in the University Digital Conservancy’s Health Sciences & University Hospitals Historical Collections. More grant reports and applications from the Institute for Health Informatics collection will hopefully be digitized and uploaded next fall, so keep an eye on the Digital Conservancy.