Program of Assistance for University-Based Training


The University-Based Training Program is one of four similar programs developed under Section 3016 of the HITECH Act. The program's primary function is to significantly increase the amount of qualified health information technology professionals with university-level training, and also to make them more accessible and available where they're needed. More specifically, the program is meant to assist in the establishment or expansion of education programs designed to train highly skilled health IT professionals, who can effectively put in place and enable the use of secure, interoperable electronic health record systems.


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has awarded $84 million to help fund several vital resources that are essential in rapidly expanding the development and availability of a competent health IT workforce. According to healthIT.hhs.gov, the following are key areas in need of the funding:
  • A community college training program to create a workforce that can facilitate the implementation and support of an electronic healthcare system
  • High quality educational materials that institutions of higher education can use to construct core instructional programs
  • A competency examination program to evaluate trainee knowledge and skills acquired through non-degree training programs
  • Additional university programs to support certificate and advanced degree training

There is an enormous shortage of health IT specialists throughout the country. The university-based training program will focus on developing and preparing professionals in the following key areas:
  • Clinical/public health leader
  • Health information management and exchange specialist
  • Health information privacy and security specialist
  • Research and development scientist
  • Programmer and software engineer
  • Health IT sub-specialist

These health IT specialists are vital in the adaptation and correct implementation of meaningful EHRs. As of April 2010, $32 million has been invested in 9 universities across the country, each of which is supposed to support 12 month programs for enrolled students. The programs are expected to lead to a university-issued certificate of advanced training (e.g., post-baccalaureate or graduate certificate) or a master’s degree. :


The 9 universities that are hosting the programs and the amount of money they were granted:
Funding Amount
Columbia University
University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing
Duke University
George Washington University
Indiana University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Minnesota
Oregon Health & Science University
Texas State University

Related Terminology

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, Health IT Workforce Development Program, Health Information Technology, Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Community College Consortia Program, Competency Examination Program, Curriculum Development Centers Program