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Spotlight: First Health Informatics Student Graduates

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Spotlight: First Health Informatics Student Graduates

Date Published:
Monday, December 16, 2013

The Colleges of Computing and Informatics, Health and Human Services, and the Graduate School are pleased to announce the first graduate from the new Health Informatics Professional Science Master degree. Casey Rassau received her PSM degree at the December 2013 commencement ceremony and heads off to a position with BlueCross BlueShield in Durham, North Carolina.

The Health Informatics PSM degree began at UNC Charlotte in the Fall of 2012 and is structured to provide students with the skills and knowledge to evaluate, modify, and implement medical information systems as well as educate others in their use. As part of a larger interdisciplinary initiative between the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI), and the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), cutting edge programs such as the HI-PSM provide students with career training and advancement within the health care and technology industries.

The former East Carolina University undergraduate (class of '11) found in the HI PSM degree a program that met her niche criteria.

"I have always been set on having a career in the health care industry," says Rassau. "But after completing my undergraduate degree at ECU I quickly realized that my skill set might be a better fit in the business side of health care rather than the clinical side. Initially I considered pursing a Master's degree in Business or Healthcare Administration. I kept thinking to myself I wanted a degree that was dependable and would contribute to my career right out of graduation."

More information about the health informatics program is available online.

As the program's first graduate, Rassau showed exemplary understanding and commitment to the profession.

"Casey demonstrated a dedication to her studies and a depth of understanding that are needed for the important, emerging field of health informatics," comments Dr. William J. Tolone, Professor and Associate Dean in the College of Computing and Informatics. "The diversity of thought that she and her Health Informatics classmates brought to my course were a valuable benefit to all in the class."

In addition to meeting the requirements of a two-year master's program, the HI-PSM also requires a real-world capstone project which places students in the workplace with industry leaders, thus resulting in well-rounded graduates who are positioned to improve the quality of health care in the Charlotte region and beyond.

Rassau completed her capstone with BCBSNC over the summer of 2013 and has since been working for the health care insurer on a part-time basis while completing her degree. She'll start there as a Business Analyst, full-time, right after graduation.

"This is an exciting time for our colleges and the University, " said Yi Deng, Ph.D., Dean, College of Computing and Informatics. "Through innovation and collaboration we are developing cutting-edge curriculum that is producing the talent to meet the 21st century needs of business and industry. I would like to personally congratulate Casey and wish her the best of luck."

Having the Health Informatics PSM degree from UNC Charlotte, a mix between the two major industries of computing and health care, gives Rassau the balance she needs to achieve her career goals.

"My vision is to further develop my skill set to be an independent consultant," says Rassau. "I'm also interested in running the IT side of a health care corporation - designing application dashboards, reports, or specialized database systems tailored specifically to meet their needs."