Greg Sandford started the HCI program in fall 2013 and became a HIMSS student member shortly thereafter. HIMSS, which stands for Health Information Management Systems Society, is a global leader in promoting the use of health information technology to improve health care outcomes. Each year, the HIMSS Central and North Florida Chapter selects three recipients for its scholarship award. Scholarship applicants are judged based on the following criteria: leadership/community involvement, academic record, personal statement and HIMSS participation. Based on the support of the HCI faculty and his strong resume, Sandford was selected as one of three recipients of the 2014 HIMSS Central and North Florida Chapter scholarship award. He is the second student in the HCI program to receive the $3,500 scholarship.
In addition, to his academic career, Sandford has a professional life. He recently joined the health informatics team at Nemours Children Hospital in Lake Nona. He is married and the couple has a two-year old black lab. When he is not spending time with his family, he is busy traveling to Wisconsin for training with his position at Nemours. Sandford is slated to graduate with his master's degree in 2015.
Lina Poorten graduated from UCF Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Health Information and Informatics Management. Her positive experience as an undergraduate made it an easy decision to return for her graduate degree in Health Care Informatics. Poorten appreciates the convenience of online classes. She says, “The pace is sufficiently aggressive to complete the degree in a short time, while the online format makes it possible for working students to complete.” The faculty has been inspirational as well as encouraging, and UCF has earned the respect of community members as well as industry leaders, both for its community involvement and cutting-edge advances.
During her time at UCF, Poorten became a member of the UCF chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She also received the 2011 STAT Imaging Solutions Scholarship and the 2011 Central Florida Health Information Management Association (CFHIMA) Scholarship. She is also a member of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and she is a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Poorten graduated in spring 2013.
Daniel Lwe entered the Health Care Informatics program after earning his bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration at UCF in 2011. He saw this as an opportunity to utilize his interest in technology and programming while remaining in the health care field. With all the changes taking place in the health care system, new applications and software systems are vital. The Electronic Medical Records system (EMR) is what Lwe has enjoyed working with the most. “At UCF, we get to actually use software programs used in healthcare industry to do our assignments; I create patient profiles and security measures. Not every college allows students that hands-on experience,” he says.
He wants to continue working with EMR as an analyst or as part of a transition team implementing new programs within hospitals. Lwe graduated in spring 2013.
Michael Niemann completed his Master's degree in Health Care Informatics in 2014. “The graduate program began opening doors for me after just one semester,” he says.
“In addition to taking classes, I was also learning computer programming on the side,” Niemann explains. “Before spring semester was over, I had landed a job as an informatics associate at LabAnswer Laboratory Informatics [in Orlando].”
Niemann realized that his informatics journey did not lie in learning and building EHR [Electronic Health Record] systems but in specializing in ancillary systems. By November of 2014, he was leading a team of programmers who were building complex analyses for a large medical device testing laboratory. In December, he was selected as MVP for the company which quickly led to promotion. He is now an informatics consultant and master data lead on his current project.
The master's program at UCF helped Niemann connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most desired certification exams. He states, “When I find myself in situations where I'm talking to professionals very high up in the industry, I can carry on conversations with them based on what I've learned -- and even suggest a few things they hadn't thought of. In just three years, I went from feeling like I'll never be able to break through to being well-rounded and having special skills that are in high demand.”