Deborah E. Seale, MA, PhD

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Assistant Professor
Department of Health Informatics and Information Management 

Debra Seale

Phone: (314) 977-8701
dseale@slu.edu

Allied Health Building
Suite 3082, Office 3086
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Education
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

About
Dr. Seale is an Assistant Professor the Department of Health Sciences and Informatics at Saint Louis University. She is responsible for teaching undergraduate research methods courses and graduate introduction to health informatics and strategic leadership courses. Her research areas are in consumer health informatics, competency assessment and development, and program evaluation and learning assessment. Deborah is currently conducting a study of the health informatics graduate program to determine the program's effectiveness in preparing its graduates for careers in health informatics. She is also studying the health management practices of baby boomers - specifically those practices at the intersection of the patient-provider relationship, the management of health information, and the use of consumer health technologies. Deborah's dissertation was an organizational study about 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 the faculty at Saint Louis University in 2011, Deborah established two telehealth programs - one in Illinois and one in Texas. She served as the executive director of the statewide telehealth program she created at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine from 2001 through 2010. At the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, she established a telehealth unit and served as the interim director and director of development for three years. During her 15 years at UTMB, Deborah also worked in an educational outreach program (known as the East Texas Area Health Education Center) as an assistant director, information technology specialist, strategic planner, and program evaluator. When she first joined UTMB, she worked 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

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.

Program evaluation and learning assessment: A qualitative study of the graduate program in health informatics

Retrospective document reviews of alumni records and semi-structured interviews with alumni and employers representatives will be used to: improve the health informatics program, tailor the program to meet workforce needs, and prepare the program for accreditation. In addition to describing the first cohort of graduates, the study results will describe the perspectives of alumni concerning their learning experience while in the program and how well the program prepared alumni for work in health informatics. The perspectives of representatives from alumni employer organizations will provide information concerning the workforce needs for health informatics professionals and the competencies health informatics professionals need to succeed in the workplace. In addition to disseminating study findings through published reports and conference presentations, the findings will be used to develop a graduate student exit survey and a graduate employer survey. Both surveys are requirements for accreditation and important for continuous program improvement.

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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