Faculty give back to community through sessions about health care and technology

a man points to an agenda displayed on a projection screen
Dr. Vikraman Baskaran, associate professor and program coordinator of health informatics, gives a talk titled “Machine Learning in Health Care” on Jan. 6 at the Alpharetta Library. Photo by Dr. Feng Liu

Mercer University faculty in the Department of Informatics and Mathematics are sharing their expertise with the community through free, public information sessions at the Alpharetta Library. 

Dr. Awatef Ben Ramadan, assistant professor and program coordinator for information technology and informatics, will speak on the topic “Health Care Technology for Patients” at 11 a.m. Jan. 27. The talk will explain patient portals and how these technologies can help patients take control of their health information. 

“The presentation will be on the patient using technology to track their data,” said Dr. Feng Liu, professor and department chair in the College of Professional Advancement. She is also coordinator of the software application development and human-computer interaction program. “Dr. Ramadan is giving the general education on how to use those and how convenient that could be.” 

It will be the second presentation from the department. On Jan. 6, Dr. Vikraman Baskaran, associate professor and program coordinator for health informatics, gave a talk titled “Machine Learning in Health Care.”

The community outreach sessions grew from a conversation between Dr. Liu and Roger Chesley, librarian at the Alpharetta Library. Dr. Liu discovered the community needed information about various technologies’ impact on health care. 

The information sessions continue the tradition of community outreach in the department.

In years past, the department has invited community members to Mercer’s Atlanta campus to help with technology issues through Informatics Day. During these events, students helped community members fix technical problems with their computers and talked to them about problems the students could work on as capstone projects, Dr. Liu said.

The next Informatics Day is scheduled for April 6.

In 2018, the department received a mini-grant from Association of American Colleges and Universities to advance civic learning and social responsibility as expected dimensions within student majors.

“So, the civic responsibilities seed has been planted in our faculty’s heart,” Dr. Liu said.

Events like the sessions at the library are “a great way to build community engagement,” she said. “Public libraries serve as community hubs, and faculty talks provide an opportunity for people to learn from experts, ask questions and participate in discussions.”

They also promote service to students, she said.

“This is a model for students about civic responsibility,” she said. “You don’t have to solve big or complicated problems. Just a general, public education can help the community.”

a man holding a brief case talks to three young people
Dr. Vikraman Baskaran, associate professor and program coordinator of health informatics, talks to attendees at his Jan. 6 presentation at the Alpharetta Library. Photo by Dr. Feng Liu


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