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UMMC to Open Population Health Management School by 2017

UMMC is planning to open a new School of Population Health that focuses on preventative medicine, data science, and population health management sciences.

By Jacqueline Belliveau

- The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has announced that it intends to open a new school dedicated to population health management in 2017.

UMMC to open population health management school

Earlier this month, the State Institutions of Higher Learning gave permission to UMMC to begin the planning process for the University of Mississippi School of Population Health.

“To start a new school is a major undertaking and an exciting development,” said LouAnn Woodward, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Population health and the concept of disease prevention are the future of healthcare and healthcare delivery.”

The new school aims to educate future healthcare leaders, such as scientists, clinicians, and administrators, on how to change care delivery models to account for population health management strategies.

UMMC intends to divide the school into three departments: preventative medicine, data science, and population health science. Eventually, it also plans to develop a Department of Healthcare Economics.

Through the preventative medicine department, UMMC will reportedly create an accredited residency program that focuses on outpatient care and population health strategies. The department will emphasize partnerships with communities in efforts to identify factors that influence population health.

The program will ask students to consider care delivery models that treat patients outside of the clinic.

“In preventive medicine, we have our feet in two worlds: patient care and population-level health,” said Joshua Mann, MD, MPH, Chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine. “With recent changes in health care funding, there is a greater emphasis on patient outcomes and not the volume of services provided.”

The department will address the goals of population health, including improving the patient experience, advancing patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs.

The data science department will educate students on how statistics, computer science, big data analytics, and predictive analytics can transform large volumes of health data into usable information for healthcare providers, reported UMMC.

“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,” explained Michael Griswold, PhD, Director of the Center for Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.

The department will also concentrate on value-based care and precision medicine.

“In population health, data is used to predict and prevent disease and to determine who is at risk,” said Bettina Beech, DrPH, MPH, Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health. “This can provide a set of solutions to improve patient and community health outcomes.”

UMMC expects to hire faculty, develop coursework, and recruit students for the new school by 2016. The first students will be admitted in January 2017, stated UMMC.

“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,” said Beech. “In fifteen to twenty years, we hope to see noticeable results in the community.”


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