A Top Federal Official Visits Dominican University to Discuss Health Information Technology

Lisa Lewis of the ONC speaks to attendees at a panel discussion on the role of information technology in public health on March 29, 2023, in the Holt Room of the Hennessy Center.

A top federal official from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) visited Dominican University March 28 – 29, 2023, to check on the progress of the University’s new Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Program. 

Lisa Lewis, Deputy National Coordinator and Chief Operating Officer at the ONC, explained that Dominican University was among just ten institutions nationwide to receive a grant aimed at increasing the diversity of students entering the growing PHIT field.  “We wanted to see what those universities could do, the students they could reach, the difference they could make, the communities they could touch,” she said.  “We also want to reach students that probably have never even thought about a career in public health or technology or informatics.  And so the PHIT program was born from that desire.” 

Lewis said she was excited that Dominican University, which received a $2.2 million ONC grant, was the only grantee looking at emergency services.  She applauded the University and the Rockland County community for tackling difficult subjects.  Two panel discussions were held in the Holt Room of the Hennessy Center during her visit.   One discussion explored the use of information technology in emergency services.  The other panel discussion addressed key public health issues facing Rockland County and how information technology can be part of the solution.   Lewis said the vision of the ONC is better health enabled by data. 

Among the things that the ONC is looking to change is that right now a person’s zip code is the greatest indicator of their health outcomes.  “The fact that regardless of all the progress we’ve made, where I live will tell you more about my life expectancy, the quality of my health, the quality of my life, than anything else.  And that’s where Public Health comes in.  And that’s where the data and the informatics and the systems come in,” said Lewis.

Dominican University offers a PHIT concentration in the Health Sciences major and Information Technology major, as well as a PHIT minor and a PHIT certificate program. For more information on the program, contact Assistant Professor Carrie Boericke at carrie.boericke@duny.edu.