By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,190)
Growing Portland’s manager, John Spritz, announced at city hall today, that it has been awarded a $50,000 grant to study health informatics in Maine. The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) awarded Growing Portland $25,000 and the remaining $25,000 was matched by contributions from a number of local institutions.
Todays announcement follows a series of meetings between the city and interested parties on what can be done to improve Portland’s economy. How Portland does economic development is an outgrowth of one of the committee’s earlier conversations said Chris Hall, President & CEO of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, at the press conference held at city hall this afternoon. “Health informatics” covers a number of professions and disciplines in the health care field; nurses, doctors, data analysts, biostatisticians, insurance analysts and others all use health informatics – essential data in the health care field.
The program, called the Health Informatics Assessment Project, or HIAP will conduct a state-wide survey to determine assets, future data needs in the field and the potential for a center for health informatics in Greater Portland. Spritz said that this seed money will give us an opportunity to look down the road to see what kind of jobs we will have here. This subject was as unknown to us as it is to you today,” Spritz said. “It is just one of our collaboratives we are working on and one we are most excited about. This is a baby grant and we hope to build on it.” Mayor Brennan noted that Portland ranks very high in the number of college educated residents. Therefore, many of these people are underemployed. “I want to live in Portland, but I can’t find a job here,” Brennan hears often. “This is the first step to changing that.” Chris Claudio, CEO of Winxnet, said the ultimate result of this initiative will be a healthier population in Maine.
“No city in America has put its stamp down the way Hartford has with the insurance industry. “We want to build great jobs for people from elsewhere to move here,” said Spritz.
This phase of the project is expected to last six months with a report on the results to be issued early next year.