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Tufts E-News: Tufts Wins Awards

Tufts E-News: Tufts Wins AwardsCIO Magazine Taps Tufts' Unique Health Sciences 'Knowledge Management System' for Enterprise Value Award. Tucson, Arizona.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.05.01] "Tufts' Health Sciences Database sets the standard for medical school knowledge management systems," an article in the February issue of CIO Magazine asserted.

The publication hit the streets following a ceremony in which President John DiBiaggio and Bruce Metz, vice president for information technology, accepted the magazine's annual Enterprise Value Award on behalf of the members of a collaborative University team spanning the Boston, Grafton and Medford/Somerville campuses.

The one-of-a-kind system features integrated course materials that include lecture notes, anatomical illustrations, current journal articles, course syllabi, quizzes, audio and visual learning tools, course schedules and student course evaluations.

Started with a planning grant from the National Library of Medicine, the Tufts system has been called a national model for integrated health sciences education.

According to John Glaser, vice president and CIO at Partners HealthCare System in Boston and one of this year's judges, "Educational institutions need role models, and Tufts is one. In training physicians and health-care professionals in a complex, volatile industry that is less amenable to time restraints, managing and keeping course material current and integrated is crucial. Tufts has taken on a very messy educational challenge, done an extraordinary job of sizing up that challenge and is doing some pioneering work."

As an example of the power of the health sciences database, the magazine article chronicled the impact of the system on Ethel Bullitt, a 25-year-old Tufts medical student, who told the magazine: "It's great to be able to have this kind of backup when you're feeling a little shaky, because surgery rotation is a grueling experience. You have to determine how the patient is doing, and you need to be sure you are right. The surgeons are basing some of their decisions on what you tell them."

CIO Magazine noted: "The system is becoming a national model for medical education. Not only did Tufts put together a model system, it did so at a time when medical schools and teaching hospitals face tremendous pressures....Yet the system evolved in a culture of innovation and creativity at Tufts that stayed focused on continually improving education."

Within the overall University-wide IT strategic vision of Vice President Metz, the health sciences database has been developed and nurtured for more than six years by: the Medical School's Dr. Mary Lee, dean of educational affairs; Dr. Paul Wang, chair of the curriculum committee; and David Damassa, chair of the database steering committee. Central to the initial conception and development of the system was the health sciences library team, including Elizabeth Eaton, library director; Susan Albright, system director; Tarik Alkasab, technical director and MD/Ph.D. candidate, assisted by system staffers Elaine Almeida and Eileen Moyer.

Dr. Tony Schwartz at the Veterinary School and Dr. Nancy Arbree at the Dental School have provided key support as have many other faculty and students who have participated in this collaborative project.

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