Newswise — DALLAS – June 28, 2021 – The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) are pleased to announce the formation of the Texas Health Informatics Alliance (THIA) and plans for its first Texas Health Informatics Alliance Conference, to be held virtually on Sept. 9.

THIA is a collective that aims to build informatics ties across Texas through partnerships in the following areas: research, data, policy, education, standards, and workforce development.

“THIA will give informaticians in Texas the opportunity to collaborate, communicate, and network. Data, knowledge, and informatics will allow us to become more productive and successful in improving health care outcomes of Texans,” says Christoph U. Lehmann, M.D., director of the Clinical Informatics Center at UT Southwestern, professor of Population and Data Sciences, and member of the THIA conference planning committee.

THIA is inviting researchers, developers, health professionals, information management professionals, data and information scientists, students, and anyone interested in health informatics to join.

The THIA conference will provide an opportunity to share, collaborate, and showcase the amazing work in health informatics and will feature presentations and keynote speakers from across Texas. The theme will be “All In: Informatics Lessons from the Pandemic to Reimagine Health Care.” 

This virtual conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST on Thursday, Sept. 9. Complimentary registration is available through the THIA 2021 website.

“Over the past few years, health care informatics has developed from a siloed disciplinary interest to a multi-interdisciplinary focus, embracing all health-related disciplines from consumer, provider, payer, and the health care industry. We now need to focus on developing and disseminating knowledge in this new era of interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration. This is of great importance,” says Marion J. Ball, Ed.D., professor and executive director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics at UTA and a conference planning committee member. 

The conference will feature two keynote speakers, a panel presentation, four plenaries, and four student presentations. The keynote speakers are Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Nora Belcher, executive director of the Texas e-Health Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the use of information technology to improve the health care system.

Panelists for the afternoon session are:

  • Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA, FAHIMA, senior director for strategic relationships for the Texas Health Services Authority.
  • Dean F. Sittig, Ph.D., professor in the School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth.
  • William M. Tierney, M.D., professor of population health, internal medicine, and oncology at Dell Medical School, UT Austin.
  • Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., FHIMSS, senior vice president/chief health information officer, Texas Health Resources.

“We hope that the THIA and our first conference will contribute to the greater use of informatics in health care in our region, as well as promote research and education in the field,” says Gabriela Mustata Wilson, Ph.D., professor and co-director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics at UTA. “By joining THIA and participating in the annual conference, you will be able to collaborate and connect in Texas’ health informatics community to improve health care and meet our state’s current and future health informatics needs.”  

The THIA invites researchers, developers, health professionals, information management professionals, data and information scientists, and students to submit abstracts for presentations describing the use of data and information technology to combat pandemic outbreaks in the community, hospitals, practices, and academic medical centers. The conference’s focus will be on COVID-19, but contributions addressing other outbreaks (e.g., Zika, MERS, SARS, tuberculosis, West Nile) are also welcome. Abstract submission details are available on our website.

Susan H. Fenton, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics and a member of the conference planning committee, says: “The effective use of data and information to support health has never been more important. This new informatics alliance promotes collaboration, innovation, and improved health across the state of Texas and beyond.”

For more information about THIA visit:

THIA 2021 – Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics (uta.edu)

Founding Members

Marion J. Ball, Ed.D., FLHIMSS, FCHIME, FAAN, FACMI
Presidential Distinguished Professor and executive director, Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics, UTA

Susan H. Fenton, Ph.D., RHIA, FAHIMA
Associate professor and associate dean, Academic and Curricular Affairs, UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 

Christoph U. Lehmann, M.D., FAAP, FACMI, FIAHSI
Willis C. Maddrey, M.D. Distinguished Professorship in Clinical Science
Director, Clinical Informatics Center, UT Southwestern

Gabriela Mustata Wilson, Ph.D., MSc, FHIMSS, SNAI
Professor and co-director, Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics, UTA