National Library of Medicine Post-Doctoral Fellowships: An Option for EM Physicians

Benjamin H. Slovis MD MA
Assistant Professor
Director of Medical Informatics
Department of Emergency Medicine
Thomas Jefferson University

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world’s largest medical library and the essential repository for all medical knowledge. A subset of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NLM is most notably recognized for the maintenance of PubMed, which holds over 27 million citations.

An additional and lesser known role of the NLM is to provide funding for informatics education under the NLM’s University-based Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Research Training Programs. The NLM has funded training in biomedical informatics for physicians, health care professionals and researchers for over thirty years, with the goal of training specialists to support this growing field. As of the publication of this article, there are sixteen universities across the country that support these training programs, each providing coursework in healthcare informatics, translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics and public health informatics.

Each summer, the NLM sponsors an informatics training conference for trainees to present their work and allows the opportunity to network and collaborate with other biomedical informatics trainees as well as representatives from the NLM and NIH.

While the NLM funded university-based programs provide a broader scope of informatics education (beyond clinical) than the ACGME accredited Clinical Informatics programs, these training programs do (at this time) appear to provide a route toward certification in Clinical Informatics through the American Board of Preventative Medicine via the Practice Pathway. (After a two-year NLM fellowship the author was approved to sit for the informatics board exam in 2017).

Finally, for non-physicians or those ineligible or uninterested in formal training in informatics, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) continues to pursue its Advanced Healthcare Informatics Certification. AMIA is presently establishing core content and eligibility requirements to establish this new level of certification.

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