MUSC professors fund Warren Family Scholarship to grow health informatics profession & encourage other donors

Amanda Lawson
January 07, 2021
Drs. Nancy and Robert Warren 

Robert (Bob) Warren, M.D., Ph.D., and Nancy Warren, Ph.D., are passionate about MUSC and the development of leaders in health care. The couple, who both have years-long ties to MUSC, funded the Warren Family Scholarship to facilitate growth in the health informatics profession. They encourage other potential donors to step out and do the same.

“Increasingly, over the past two decades, we’ve seen health care systems across the world employ informatics professionals to bridge information technology (IT) and medical care,” said Bob. “A lot of their focus has been on electronic health records, but it’s much more than that. It’s about informatics professionals who can help hospitals translate data so that it’s truly useful, which ultimately can improve patient care.”

A pioneer in the field and retired MUSC Chief Medical Information Officer, Bob helped establish the Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) program in 2014 and taught the Applied Health Informatics course through 2020. The MSHI program is designed to prepare graduates for careers as data analysts, implementation specialists, or chief information officers in the healthcare industry. The executive-style program is mostly online and often draws candidates who are already working full-time jobs.

“We feel very strongly about making it possible for more folks to learn about informatics and become informatics professionals,” said Bob. “This is the first MHSI scholarship, and Nancy and I hope doing this will generate more interest in others to commit to endowing scholarships for more students. We’re thrilled to do it.

The Warren Family Scholarship awards one full-time MUSC student with $2,000 per year. Applicants must be a first-year MSHI student with excellent academic performance and involvement in volunteer efforts and community service.

Karen Rich is the first recipient of the Warren Family Scholarship 
Karen Rich is the first recipient of the Warren Family Scholarship.

“Not only is this a helpful financial contribution to my program tuition, but I also greatly appreciate that the Warren family places value on teamwork, service, and leadership through the establishment of this scholarship,” said Karen Rich, the scholarship’s inaugural 2020 recipient. “Service in my community is an integral part of my life. It has helped me develop greater understanding and compassion for others, which in turn has increased my capacity to work effectively with others and will hopefully make me a better leader as I embark on a career in health informatics. I am grateful for the generosity of the Warren family and to be associated with an award that recognizes the significance of these values in the field of health informatics.”

In addition to alleviating the financial burden on students pursuing careers in the profession, the scholarship also bolsters the MSHI program, only one of 14 accredited health informatics programs in the country.

Abby Swanson Kazley, Ph.D., professor and MSHI division director, credits Bob for his continued support of the program as well as the emotional support he has continued to offer to both faculty and students at the university.

“Bob has been a tireless supporter of our program since the very beginning as a stakeholder, mentor, advisory council member, and as a beloved faculty member,” she said. “He has literally left a thumbprint on many parts of the program and inspired dozens of students. This gift will allow the program to continue to grow while providing much-needed financial support for our students. We are so grateful.”

In addition to past service as MUSC’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Bob is an MUSC professor emeritus of Pediatrics and continues to teach pediatric rheumatology fellows. Nancy is a clinical associate professor in the MUSC Department of Psychiatry.

For more information on the Warren Family Scholarship, email Swanson-Kazley, at swansoaj@musc.edu.

About the Author

Amanda Lawson
Contributing Writer

Keywords: Health Informatics