Who Are We

In 2021 the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in partnership with Howard University (HU) received ONCfunding to develop an innovative new  program that will recruit at least 500 participants  (with a special emphasis on underrepresented communities of color) over a four-year period. This program will provide students with specialized within-degree training, certification training, or short-term fellowship training in Public Health Informatics Technology (PHIT) across multiple pathways (AA/AS, Bachelors, MPH, Pharmacy/Health Professional, and Post-graduate fellowships) along the education continuum. Hereafter referred to as PHIT4DC, this program seeks to expand the public health informatics workforce in the District of Columbia and the surrounding region.

The PHIT4DC project optimizes the history and legacy of two of the District’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),

in collaboration with a Consortium of Subject Matter Experts(SMEs) to accomplish the following: (1) Establish a consortium for instituting and sustaining PHIT4DC Workforce Development and Career programs; (2) Develop an interdisciplinary and culturally responsive curriculum with special focus on certificate and degree programs in public health informatics, pharmacy Health Information Technologies, and data science;(3) Develop and implement a cross-institutional infrastructure between UDC and HU that will build a consistent recruitment pipeline from underserved populations who live in under-resourced areas of the District of Columbia, especially Wards 7 and 8; (4) Develop equity transfer initiatives to accelerate PHIT training pathways from high school; Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning (WDLL); associate degrees to bachelor’s degrees; and  health professional/MPH/Graduate degrees in PHIT; (5) Develop and implement a robust, PHIT competency- based prior learning assessment program as appropriate for specific curriculum pathways; and (6) Develop a sustainable training, internship/job placement infrastructure across Consortium partners that will orchestrate a natural pipeline for employment from vested stakeholders in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Both UDC and Howard practice, teach and conduct research in the communities where their students, faculty, and workforce live and serve. The institutions have satellite facilities throughout the city and have built community credibility and trust over the decades. Cultural competence, health equity, and reducing health disparities are the foundational principles that guide both institutions.


Mission Statement

Three key goals of PHIT4DC are to up-skill the District of Columbia Public Health Technology Workforce through an interdisciplinary and culturally responsive curricula, student success support services and resources, and to establish a consortium of regional healthcare organizations to develop viable education and training career pipelines for all levels of healthcare professionals throughout the Washington Metropolitan area.

HBCU Partnership

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and Howard University (HU), as the two HBCUs in the Nation’s Capital, have a history of collaborating to address the academic and career aspirations of a wide range of students from vulnerable, underserved, under-resourced, at-risk and under-represented populations. Specifically, Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia have partnered in various academic and research initiatives. As co-members of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, students are provided the opportunity to enroll in courses on the campus of the other institution, as well as participate in academic, cultural and research activities. Additionally, faculty have partnered to develop projects in a variety of areas focused on healthcare disparities, economic disparities, and educational opportunities for minority students. As the only two HBCUs in this 18-member consortium, these two institutions collaborate around their shared missions to support students, and in particular, students of color. UDC and HU will coordinate the sector strategies and the Advisory Board; lead project sustainability strategy; ensure the Program’s curriculum meets employer demands and national standards, and oversee and coordinate the internal formative and summative evaluation and third-party evaluation.

Leadership Team

The Principal Investigator for the PHIT4DC project is Dr. Mashonda Smith, who is the Dean of the Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning Program at UDC. Dr. Marilyn Hamilton, UDC Dean of Academic Affairs, is the Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) and manages the curriculum development process, ensuring that it aligns with UDC’s educational standards. Dr. Mary K. Awuonda from the Howard University College of Pharmacy and Dr. John Kwagyan from the HU MPH program serve as Co-Principal Investigators from the Howard University team alongside Dr. Pamela Carter-Nolan (Co-Investigator) who is the Director of the Public Health Program. They will ensure that the PHIT curriculum’s courses align with the ONC HIT and DCHF health IT and health information exchange workforce needs. They will also ensure that developed programming aligns across designated public health, pharmacy, and health sciences curricula as well as related professional development programs.

Available Organizational

Resources & Competencies

  • Chesapeake Regional Information System Platform (CRISP) – the designated Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Maryland, and the District of Columbia
  • EclinicaWorks (ECW) – Ambulatory Certified Electronic Health System
  • DC Health Care Finance (DHCF) Healthcare Reform and Innovation Administration
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (CAHIMS)
    Health Information Exchange (HIE) Policy Board
  • District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA)
  • District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA)
  • HIMSS National Capitol Region

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost for textbooks and other materials?

Just like the course, all textbooks and materials are provided at no cost.

What is the timeline of the course?
The Experiential Course is a 15-week course. The other programs vary.
If I am unemployed, can I enroll?

Yes, all are welcome to enroll no matter your employment status.  Please review eligibility criteria for the program suited for you.

Is this course on-line or in person?

The current courses are taught in a hybrid learning environment.

When do courses start?

Customarily program start dates follow the university calendar.

Do I need identification to apply?

Yes, identification is required as part of the application process.

How do I apply

Simply complete the application on the phit4dc.com website.  Once received someone from the PHIT team will notify you of next steps.

Am I guaranteed employment after I complete the course?

Employment is not guaranteed after you complete the course.  The course is designed to provide our scholars with the tools to be competitive in the job market.  And many of our students are offered internship or fellowship opportunities with one of our partner organizations.

Do I have to pay for any of the certification programs offered?

All program offered certifications are provided at no-cost to eligible students.

How many credit hours are allocated for the course?

The course is designed as a four (4) credit hour course.

I don’t have access to a computer, or the internet, can I still participate?

Yes, technology loaner programs are available to currently enrolled students.

I am not comfortable with using the computer, can I still participate?

Yes, there is an introduction to technology program for individuals.

Are you seeking any additional program partners?

Yes, we welcome more industry partners to join us.

Have more questions?

Please contact us at phit4dc@udc.edu

At a Glance

Program Alignment

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