Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Master's degree programs in health informatics, dental hygiene, entrepreneurship to start next fall

Three new master's degree programs at U-M will begin with the fall 2012 semester. A master of health informatics program will be offered jointly by the School of Information (SI) and the School of Public Health (SPH). An online learning program leading to a master's degree in dental hygiene will be offered by the Rackham School of Graduate Studies in conjunction with the School of Dentistry. The College of Engineering and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business will offer a joint program in entrepreneurship.

New master of health informatics program now taking applications

Applications are being accepted for admission to the new master of health informatics program.

The inaugural class of the two-year program begins in fall 2012, and is the first master of health informatics program offered by a public university in Michigan.

The program offers distinctive emphases on leadership and consumer health informatics.

Health informatics is a growing field in which information is leveraged and information technologies are developed and used to maintain or improve health and patient care. Leaders in the field are needed to develop the next generation of information solutions related to health, and to ensure that the current generation of solutions is used to full advantage.

"This program will emphasize the game-changing information technologies that will be used by health care consumers, which means all members of society, to promote health and wellness in entirely new ways. The graduates of this program will be leaders and innovators at the forefront of a revolution," says Dr. Charles Friedman, program director with appointments in both SI and SPH.

The program combines the expertise of the SPH faculty in population health, health policy, and health promotion with SI's expertise in human-centered design and the development, implementation and evaluation of cutting-edge information resources.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health information management and health informatics employment will grow nearly 18 percent by 2016, and predicts a need for more than 6,000 new professionals each year through 2014.

In fall 2011 SI and SPH began offering an 18-hour graduate certificate in health informatics for students already enrolled in a graduate program at U-M. That program expects to award its first certificates in spring 2012.

The priority deadline for applications to the new master's degree program is Feb. 15.

For more information about the health informatics graduate program, go to

— Laura Bailey, News Service

New online master's degree dental hygiene program offered

A new online learning program leading to a Master of Science degree in dental hygiene will be offered by U-M beginning next September. The program will be a two-year, six-semester program totaling 36 credit hours.


Dental hygiene faculty members who will teach the online master’s degree are, front row, from left: Anne Gwozdek, Janet Kinney and Susan Taichman; and, back row, from left: Karen Ridley and Wendy Kerschbaum. (Photo by Jerry Mastey)

Wendy Kerschbaum, associate professor of dental hygiene and director of the Dental Hygiene program, says the new online master's degree program builds on the success of the school's E-Learning bachelor's degree completion program launched in January 2008.

"The online bachelor's program gave us a solid foundation that helped us to develop the master's program," she says. "In addition, the online master's program is consistent with U-M President Mary Sue Coleman's challenge to us as educators to be innovative in our approach to education."

The new online program will help prepare students for careers in dental hygiene education as a growing number of dental hygiene faculty are expected to retire in the next few years.

"Many who already have a bachelor's degree have expressed an interest in pursuing coursework leading to a master's degree, but are reluctant to give up their jobs, move and be on campus for two years," Kerschbaum says. "The online program will offer these students the best of both worlds — an opportunity for a quality education without having to relocate."

Kerschbaum emphasized the quality of the online master's program will equal that of the on-campus program that has been offered for more than 40 years.

"Today's students are looking for new, nontraditional ways of advancing themselves personally and professionally. This program offers the same content as our on-campus program. But how that information is delivered to students will be different," says Karen Ridley, an assistant professor of dental hygiene and director of the online master's program.

Students will register for six contiguous semesters and take six credit hours of courses each semester. The online program will begin with a three-day on-campus orientation in July.

Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for academic affairs, says, "The new online master's program, which was rigorously reviewed by the Rackham Graduate School, shows how creative and innovative our dental hygiene faculty are in developing new ways of learning and reaching potential students."

For additional information about the Master of Science degree in dental hygiene online program, contact Ridley at

— Jerry Mastey, School of Dentistry

Apply now for new master of entrepreneurship program

Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural class of a unique master's degree program in entrepreneurship offered jointly between U-M's top-ranked College of Engineering and Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

U-M is offering this specialized field of study because it's not available through conventional business or engineering programs. Most business schools focus on the skill set required in larger, more mature organizations, and most engineering programs don't include market assessment and commercialization skills.

"Our new program brings these two cultures together in a novel synthesis that is greater than the sum of its parts," says Bill Lovejoy, a professor at the Ross School and co-director of the new program.

In fall 2012 the first cohort will begin the intensive, 36-credit hour, 12-month program designed to impart the fundamental entrepreneurial skills and hands-on experience necessary to transform cutting-edge technologies into innovative startup ventures.

"Ultimately, we are looking for smart, energetic students willing to tackle high-risk, high-return ventures because they believe in the potential of their product and in their ability to achieve their goals," says Aileen Huang-Saad, the assistant director of academic programs at the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship and co-director of the new program.

The program will enhance and draw from the thriving entrepreneurial culture at U-M and in the region. In 2011 alone, U-M's Tech Transfer office recorded 101 licenses and options, filed for 122 patents and helped launch 11 new startups, putting U-M once again in the top 10 U.S. universities in tech transfer performance. In the past decade, technologies developed in faculty labs have spawned 92 start-ups.

U-M also has two startup accelerators, three entrepreneurship centers and countless business pitch, plan and model competitions.

— Nicole Casal Moore and Bernie DeGroat, News Service