In 2015, the Institute for Health Informatics (IHI) celebrates the 50th anniversary of health informatics at the University of Minnesota. Early institutional markers serve as the formal beginnings of the emergent discipline of health informatics at the University of Minnesota, designating the University of Minnesota as one of the first academic institutions to support and subsequently anchor the development of the new discipline. In 1965, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Division of Research Resources awarded the University of Minnesota’s College of Medical Sciences a grant to establish a Biomedical Data Processing Unit at the University. Two years later, the Hill Family Foundation awarded a ten-year grant to Professor Eugene Ackerman to initiate a graduate research and training program in Biomedical Computing. In 1968, the College of Medical Sciences established the Division of Health Computer Sciences, which would serve as the administrative home for the NIH research resources grant, housed within the Department of Laboratory Medicine. The Division provided interdisciplinary training to pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students applying health computer sciences technology to health services research. In 1974, the University of Minnesota was awarded the prestigious National Library of Medicine Grant for Training in Health Computer Sciences, which formally established the Graduate Program in Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota. The Division and its institutional successor, the Institute for Health Informatics (created in 2006), received continuous training grants from the National Library of Medicine until 2009. For fifty years, the University of Minnesota has been one of the preeminent health informatics institutions in the United States.
The Institute for Health Informatics History Project captures, analyzes, and records the history of health informatics at the University of Minnesota. Through oral history interviews, the Project preserves the personal stories of faculty members and National Library of Medicine administrators who were involved in the early history of the field and have keen insights into the history of health informatics at the University of Minnesota.