Deborah E. Seale, MA, PhD

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Chair and Assistant Professor
Department of Health Informatics and Information Management 

Debra Seale

Phone: (314) 977-8701

Allied Health Building
Suite 3082, Office 3086
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Doctor of Philosophy, Higher Education Administration
Illinois State University

Master of Arts in Sociology
Texas Tech University

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Texas Tech University

Dr. Seale is an Assistant Professor the Department of Health Informatics and Information Management at Saint Louis University. Deborah is responsible for teaching undergraduate research methods courses and graduate health informatics courses in strategic leadership and emerging technologies. Her research areas are in consumer health informatics and telehealth. She recently received a grant to study the health management practices of baby boomers as those practices relate to the management of health information, the patient-provider relationship, and the role of use of consumer health technologies. Deborah's dissertation was an organizational study on the requirements and competencies of work in university-based telehealth units. Dr. Seale received her PhD from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois in 2012 and her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in sociology are from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in 1980 and 1985. 

Prior to joining Saint Louis University in 2011, Deborah led two telehealth units. She led development of a statewide telehealth program at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine from 2001 through 2010. Dr. Seale was at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston for 15 years where she worked in telehealth, educational outreach and research. She established a telehealth and distance education unit at UTMB and served as its interim director for two years. She worked in an educational outreach program (known as the East Texas Area Health Education Center) as a program evaluator, strategic planner, information technology specialist and assistant director. She joined UTMB as a biostatistician in a research office where she oversaw the collection, management, and analysis of data for research projects. 

Professional Associations
American Telemedicine Association
American Medical Informatics Association
Health Information Management Systems Society
American Health Information Management Association

Courses Taught
Undergraduate Program:
Research Design and Critique
Clinical Data Analytics

Graduate Program:
Introduction to Health Informatics
Strategic Leadership in Health Informatics
Independent Study in Health Informatics
Applied Project I in Health Informatics
Applied Project II in Health Informatics

Research Interests
Telehealth/telemedicine, consumer health informatics, competency development and assessment, program evaluation and learning assessment.

Consumer health informatics: A qualitative study about how baby boomers' manage their health.

Focus groups were used to understand baby boomers' perspectives about how they 1) engage in a partnership with their healthcare providers to manage their health, 2) obtain and process health information to make appropriate health decisions, and 3) use technologies to understand and manage their health. The results will help to guide healthcare providers, employers, and technology vendors to adopt and develop programs and technologies that support baby boomers' efforts to manage their health. (Acknowledgement: A President's Research Fund award was granted in the amount of $41,141 for a project period beginning October 1, 2013 and ending March 31, 2015.)

Competency assessment: A qualitative study about the nature and requirements of work undertaken inside of university-based telehealth units.

Interviews and focus groups were used to understand the perceptions of 21 experienced leaders in 17 mature university-based telehealth units in the US. An advanced degree and experience in health care were considered assets undertaking telehealth work. Telehealth units required a blend of experience, knowledge, and skills in the areas of organizational leadership and administration, project management, technical expertise, research skills, and grant writing skills. Two core competencies - competencies that all professionals within the telehealth unit needed - were collaboration/teamwork and innovation/change. To be effective, telehealth professionals are required to work collaboratively on teams that cross organizational boundaries and to foster innovation and change within and across organizations. (Doctoral dissertation: The nature and requirements of work in University-based telehealth units: A qualitative study, 2012, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.)

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