“Data-intensive research and the development of analytic tools in the health sciences continue to witness an explosion of interest largely attributable to rapid developments in high-performance computing, statistical methods and new programming environments. Technological advances have produced massive databases on a variety of health outcomes that are accessible to health science administrators, researchers and policy-makers. This data deluge (“BIG DATA”) poses new challenges in training the next generation of data scientists who will be tasked with analyzing massive databases in the broader health sciences.
In this era of big data technologies, massive electronically stored digital databases carry information on a variety of health-related issues. Statistical modeling and analysis of such data will provide invaluable insights into the various processes and attributes of such data with the potential to generate new scientific discoveries, shape new health policies and develop new practices to improve our quality of life. As these databases become increasingly accessible to data scientists, the demand for individuals with the skills to harness emerging technologies and statistical methods to tap into these treasure troves is soaring in hospitals, universities, research organizations and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, among others.
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has launched the Master of Data Science in Health (MDSH) degree program to help meet this growing demand. This newly established program has been tailored to meet the demands of the dynamic and complex health industry by preparing students to be leaders in the field of health data science. The program is designed to appeal to current working professionals seeking to obtain the skills to thrive in a data-rich environment as well as to recent college graduates looking to build a career in the burgeoning field. The curriculum primarily focuses on developing practical problem-solving skills that are needed for those eyeing a career in data science within the health sector. Each course will incorporate massive data sets that course participants will work with as they develop skills in data engineering, data visualization, mining and exploring of data, machine learning methods, and statistical design of research studies. The MDSH degree will require a capstone project through which students apply the data science tools they have learned to explore and solve contemporary problems in the broader health sciences and public health.”