“We have a funny saying in Health Informatics that there probably isn’t a four-year-old out there that is declaring that they want to advance the field of health informatics,” said Amanda Dorsey, MSHI. “People fall into this discipline backwards.”
The statement rang true for the Tuscaloosa native years ago. At the time, she was working as a receptionist at the UAB Hospital IT department when she was completing her graduate school application for the School of Education’s Fifth Year Teaching Certificate. Her plan was to teach high school English. A co-worker persuaded her that she wouldn’t be happy in that field and why not get a degree in the profession she was already working in, healthcare IT.
“I was apprehensive at first,” said Dorsey. “But the more I learned at work and while I was in the MSHI program, the more intrigued I became. I learned that the field was exploding and it would be a good time for people with good communication skills to break into it.”
Dorsey stayed with the UAB Health System after earning her master’s degree in Health Informatics in 1999. She later became a consultant for Phoenix Health System and a healthcare IT project manager for Children’s Health System. Then she had a huge decision to make.
“I had an offer on the table to go work in Great Britain for the National Programme for IT, an offer from a Canadian EHR company and UAB,” said Dorsey.
The former director of the MSHI program had stepped down and Health Administration Services Department Chair Gerald Glandon, Ph.D., asked Dorsey if she would be interested in being the assistant director.
“He was looking for someone who could bridge the gap between academia and practice to transition the program into a blended delivery format,” said Dorsey. “The choice was pretty easy for me. I have not once regretted coming back to the program. It is exciting, challenging and very fulfilling.”
Dorsey successfully moved the program into the blended delivery format with online classes and two four-day in person classes a year. This format allows students to continue to work full-time. Her work didn’t go unnoticed. She was promoted to director in the fall of 2010.