In December, the Biomedical and Health Informatics PhD program will honor its 28th graduate – Xiaoyu Liu.
The interdisciplinary program—now in its 16th year—remains the only such PhD program in Wisconsin and graduates two or three students annually who are fully prepared for careers in this high-demand field. Graduates pursue careers in biomedical and health-related fields including public policy, public health, cancer research and data analytics.
Liu set her sights on an academic career. She is already working at Southern Illinois University as an assistant lecturer in health care management, with a teaching and research concentration in health informatics. (She will be promoted to assistant professor upon graduation.) This is a perfect fit, Liu says, as her undergraduate and master’s degrees were in business administration.
Interdisciplinary nature of program was a significant draw
“I am very grateful to UWM for offering a well-designed, holistic program,” Liu said. The interdisciplinary nature of the program was a draw and allowed her to choose from courses in various disciplines—including engineering and health science—and work with faculty members and doctoral students across campus. She said her work as a research assistant for a professor in the College of Nursing dovetailed with her own research interests in health informatics, specifically to identify patients’ unmet needs and improve healthcare outcomes with trustworthy, effective health IT solutions.
While earning her PhD, her academic advisor was Susan McRoy, professor and department chair, who is an expert in health informatics, artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
“The people at UWM are very friendly and were always willing to help,” Liu said. What she’ll miss most about Milwaukee, she adds, is the “beautiful lake and pleasant summertime.”
Learn more about earning this in-demand degree
The curriculum for UWM’s Biomedical and Health Informatics PhD program includes coursework in human pathophysiology, medical informatics, databases and medical ethics, and students select from one of six tracks to follow.
It is housed in the College of Engineering & Applied Science and is run collaboratively by a steering committee comprised of faculty representative from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the College of Engineering & Applied Science, the College of Nursing, the Lubar College of Business, the College of Health Sciences, the School of Information Studies and the Zilber School of Public Health.