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History of Program

A pioneering program

Our roots extend back to 1994, when Dalhousie Medical School commissioned a task force, led by Dr. David Zitner, to review the potential for medical informatics in the education of physicians. The resulting report, "Medical Informatics: The Key to Maintaining an Effective Medical School," led to the establishment of Medical Informatics in July 1996. 

Our collaborative work focused on a wide variety of areas, including:

  • assisting in the development of national and local health policies
  • conducting research on applications of electronic health information records
  • improving access to resources, processes and tools for use of information technology in health care
  • developing interactive personal health websites
  • developing national and local health informatics education

Since then, we’ve collaborated on a variety of important research projects, and offered some notable presentations on a number of topics, including the ethics of e-health [PPT - 70KB] and the effects of SSRIs on mental health patients [PPT - 72KB].

Our collaborative work with the Faculty of Computer Science expanded from research projects to include supervising students whose thesis work had a medical or health focus. View our past theses and projects to check out this work.

In 2002, we expanded our offerings to include a Master of Health Informatics program, a collaborative effort shared by the Faculties of Computer Science, Business Administration and Dalhousie Medical School. This program was the first graduate-level health informatics program in Canada.

The Master of Health Informatics program development team (Drs. David Zitner, Michael Shepherd, Sunny Marche and Ms. Naomi Mensink) created the new degree so that health care professionals could learn to use technology to improve the healthcare system—whether they’re pinpointing areas that need improvement or supporting informed clinical decisions supported by faster access to information and patient data.

Looking for more information? Read these reports: