Office of Public Health Informatics

Low Birth Weight, Research from GIS


To create and develop innovative information systems and related technologies that support public health research and academic programs for the UAMS College of Public Health.

What is Public Health Informatics?

Public health informatics  – the “systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning” (1) – has become increasingly important in public health research and practice.  The range of activities included under PHI is wide, encompassing the conceptualization, design, development and implementation of applications as well as the maintenance and evaluation of systems and programs (2).  Public health informatics is interdisciplinary in nature, relying on information and skills from all of the public health disciplines, communications, law but primarily on computer science and information science.  As noted by Yasnow et al.: (2)

“Although public health informatics draws from multiple scientific and practice domains, computer science and information science are its primary underlying disciplines …. Information science encompasses the analysis of the structure, properties, and organization of information, information storage and retrieval, information system and database architecture and design, library science, project management, and organizational issues such as change management and business process reengineering.”

Objectives of the Office of Public Health Informatics

  • To support faculty efforts to use technology in teaching;
  • To support research teams in their efforts to use technology within their research programs;
  • To support administrative units in their efforts to use technology to capture and summarize data needed for reporting and decision-making; and
  • To support and coordinate College-wide efforts to revise and maintain the COPH website.


  • Provide technical assistance in the development and maintenance of electronic data capture and reporting systems (setup databases, complete data entry, prepare data for  statistician);
  • Provide user training and support for applications and programs;
  • Serve as a technical liaison to campus-wide technology services, such as IT, Research IT, Academic Computing, Bioinformatics, et al.;
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) assistance using ESRI ArcGIS tools both desktop and online. Spatial and Network Analysis.
  • Serve as a technical liaison to external partners, e.g., UALR (Institute for Economic Advancement, Information Sciences), Arkansas Department of Health (GIS resources);
  • Coordinate the development and maintenance of the COPH website;  and
  • Work with departments, academic and administrative units, and research teams to develop, implement, and maintain special applications  that may facilitate the ongoing work of the College.

Projects Supported

Faculty and Staff

Martha Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, MBA, Co-Director
Nikiya Simpson, MBA, Co-Director


Helpful Links

Public Health Informatics Institute

Making Public Health Informatics Visible: Communicating an Emerging Field

Contact Us

Nikiya Simpson, MBA
Phone: (501) 526-0360
Office: COPH 6201F



  1.  Yasnoff WA, Overhage JM, Humphreys BL, LaVenture M.  A national agenda for public health informatics:  Summarized recommendations from the 2001 AMIA Spring Conference.  Jrl Am Med Informatics Assoc, 2001, 8(6), 535-545.
  2. Yasnoff WA, O’Carroll PW, Koo D, Linkins RW, Kilbourne EM.  Public health informatics:  Improving and transforming public health in the information age.  J Public Health Management Practice, 2000, 6(6), 67-75.