IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI alumna Judy Wawira Gichoya is a recent recipient of the RADxx Rising Star award. Gichoya graduated with an M.S. in Health Informatics after completing medical school in Kenya, and will finish her radiology residency at the IU School of Medicine in June, 2018.
The RADxx awards recognize the achievements of women in the field of medical imaging informatics, as well as anyone—both men and women—who has helped and supported women in medical imaging informatics.
“Learning informatics was crucial to my career as I have been able to contribute to radiology nationally in many ways, including structured reporting, and now head the new Artificial Intelligence Journal club for residents across the country,” Gichoya says. “Having a good base of knowledge of informatics helped me understand how to apply informatics to radiology and get a head start in my clinical career.”
While completing her master’s degree, Gichoya worked with health informatics professors Josette Jones and Brian Dixon, among others, and with Regenstrief institute faculty, who taught her the basics of doing research and understanding informatics. According to Gichoya, the challenge of informatics is to gain a solid grasp of concepts in order to jump to the future as soon as possible. She explains that it is very difficult to do this with classwork alone and that lab work helps bridge to new trends that prepare students for the job market.
Gichoya came to the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI early in its history, and notes that there are even more opportunities available to students now. One of these is the Purkayastha Laboratory, where she is currently a research associate.
“At the lab, students are placed in teams to work on real-life projects, from interviewing patients to clinical implementation of systems. Students report weekly on updates and thereafter are helped to submit papers for publication and conference presentation,” Gichoya says. “Most informatics programs will teach you theory of informatics and stop there. If you are curious and yearning to learn, resources in and around the School of Informatics and Computing, including the medical school, the IU Health hospital system, the Regenstrief Institute, and programs within the school will prepare you for the workforce,” she says.
Gichoya’s advice to students is to put in hard work and take advantage of the opportunities provided. And, she adds, since the health informatics graduate courses are in the evening, use the day to learn more and network with others.