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Unique Areas of Excellence:
Louisiana Center for Health Informatics
 
The Louisiana Center for Health Informatics (LCHI) at UL Lafayette was created in the Spring of 1999 [and originally called the Health Informatics Center of Acadiana (HICA)] to complement the health-related educational and research missions of the University and to connect traditional public health agencies and Louisiana's vital healthcare industry. "Health Informatics" is the applied science that uses computer and communications technologies to gather and analyze health data, and to disseminate health information to clinical and administrative decision makers. The Center serves students, faculty, healthcare providers, and the public at large, while positioning UL Lafayette at the forefront of an extremely critical field.

The mission of the Louisiana Center for Health Informatics at UL Lafayette is four-fold.
 
  1. To augment the education of health professionals and healthcare administrators at the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education levels;
  2. To provide an avenue for scholarly research into community health needs and into the effectiveness of the healthcare community's response to those needs;
  3. To serve the goals of Lafayette and Acadiana in access to healthcare and in improving public health generally, especially within Region IV of the Office of Public Health, and to serve as a vital resource to "healthy communities" initiatives throughout the State of Louisiana; and
  4. To fulfill community-information requirements of healthcare providers in Region IV, and to aid policymakers and statewide professional and trade associations in matters relating to healthcare delivery and financing.
 
Louisiana has not ranked better than 46th among states since ReliaStar began publication of its State Health Rankings index in 1990. To achieve measurable improvements, architects of public policy and private healthcare providers alike need better access to accurate and timely population-based information. UL Lafayette has created LCHI as a vehicle for leveraging the collective intellectual capital of its faculty, students, and private-sector partners. The Louisiana Turning Point Project, funded jointly by the Robert Wood Johnson and W. K. Kellogg foundations, published a deliverable entitled "Louisiana's Health Improvement Plan" at the end of 1999. This publication prioritized the enhancement of the capacity and competence of the broadly defined "public health system" in the areas of health assessment through improvements in information and communication. LCHI serves as a laboratory for reengineering the collection, analysis, and dissemination of health status information in Louisiana. In this task, LCHI capitalizes on its strong relationship with "healthy communities" programs in the area, especially the Partnership for a Healthier Lafayette. The Lafayette Community Health Consortium, the Acadiana Medical Research Foundation, the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center, and the Office of Public Health in the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals are all on record in support of UL Lafayette's role. LCHI will continue to develop and utilize academic-community-industry partnerships to obtain, aggregate, analyze, and report on data and methodologies to benefit the health status of Louisiana communities and thereby to enhance the health status of the entire State.

The Louisiana Center for Health Informatics at UL Lafayette serves as a focal point for interdisciplinary curricular, research, and grant-seeking activities benefiting students and faculty in several colleges at the University, especially the colleges of Business Administration, Sciences, and Nursing. Academic programs in Health Information Management, Health Care Administration, Insurance & Risk Management, Nursing, Emergency Health Science, Communicative Disorders, Dietetics, and Health Education are the principal collaborators with Programs in Statistics, Computer Science, and Telecommunications also participating in health-related applications. Even during its planning stages, LCHI was instrumental in attracting private endowments for two $1,000,000 Chairs -- tangible evidence of community willingness to partner with UL Lafayette in this field. The Louisiana Health System-funded J. Robert Rivet MD Chair in Health Informatics and the Acadian Ambulance Chair in Telehealth will speed the creation of an interdisciplinary Master of Science degree program in Health Informatics at UL Lafayette.
 

Document last revised Thursday, May 13, 2004 5:45 PM

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