Tag Archives: Cyber Institute

College of Allied Health Sciences leads health care professionals into the technological age

Smart technology is the staple of modern living.

It surrounds us from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep in the form of smart phones, laptops, tablets and televisions. If that weren’t troubling enough, today, everything from thumb drives to copiers store our personal information. Thus, there has never been a more opportune – or more frightening – time to work in the field of data management.

But while the James M. Hull College of Business teaches students to use the web to become first-line data defenders, the College of Allied Health Sciences is taking a different approach to its cyber education.

Offered by the Georgia Regents University Department of Clinical and Digital Health Sciences, the Bachelor of Science and postbaccalaureate certificate in Health Information Administration programs represent GRU’s tireless effort to improve health care through the use of technology.

But what exactly do Health Information Administrators do?

In addition to organizing information used in evidence-based medicine, HIAs also arm health care providers with organized evidence to support patient care, reimbursement, teaching, research, quality improvement and legal inquiries. Accomplished in both the art and science of electronic information systems, HIAs advocate for the patient-provider relationship and serve as information suppliers for the business side of evidence-based medicine.

The HIA program began at GRU in 1962 under the direction of Juanita Sirmans. Then part of the Medical College of Georgia, the program was unable to recruit a qualified medical record librarian at the time of its inception. In place of recruiting, then, Sirmans took a year’s leave of absence to attend the U.S. Public Health Service medical record librarian educational program to become qualified herself.

Today, the HIA program maintains that same level of dedication to the education of its students.

Lori Prince, director of the Health Information Administration programs, said the HIA program teaches students a broad spectrum of topics.

“HIA touches every sector of healthcare from the quality of patient care to compliance with regulatory agencies, to implementation of new software for clinical care,” she said. “A critical area of need with personal health information being electronic is archiving, securing and protecting that information, so HIA even plays a major role in cyber security. “

Prince said both programs seek to instill students with the professional knowledge, skills and competencies needed to succeed in the health information management profession.

Courses range from a basic introduction to Health Information Administration in students’ junior year to ethics, medical terminology and data management classes as students progress. According to Prince, graduates of the Health Information Administration programs will be well-prepared to assume an entry-level position in the field.

Both programs are offered completely online, and a list of software and hardware requirements can be found here. The Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration program is also offered on-campus.

Prince said the decision to host HIA classes online in 1998 was in direct response to applicant interest.

“Many of our applicants, some form as far away as Hawaii, could not physically relocate to Augusta, but wanted to start a career in HIA,” she said. “Around 2005, due to applicant demand, the decision was made to offer the Post-bac program solely online. Today, we still have applicants applying from around the world.”

As with cybersecurity professionals, Prince said there is currently a national shortage of Health Information Administrators, so job prospects for graduates have never looked better.

“In 2014, a Georgia workforce study demonstrated Health IT jobs will continue to increase,” said Prince. “The skill clusters of this workforce will incorporate health information, communication, software and programming skills, critical thinking and problem solving, business management and project management – exactly what a degree or certificate in HIA will provide.”

Faculty prepares for upcoming year at kickoff event

As provost, Dr. Gretchen Caughman frequently addresses faculty concerning issues involving the university, but seldom does she get the opportunity to speak to as many at one time as she did last week at the faculty kickoff meeting at the Maxwell Theatre.

There, Caughman kicked off the new academic year by presenting a long list of priorities while also emphasizing the importance of teamwork and getting to know fellow faculty members.

“No matter how long you’ve been here, and I might have been here longer than anybody, there’s somebody you don’t know,” she said. “And I think you should try to speak to at least five people you don’t know before you leave today. Make some new friends. These are colleagues, and we are in this together.”

Later, after talking about the importance of the University Senate, introducing new faculty and sharing the stage with Augustus, the new Jaguar mascot, Caughman presented President Brooks Keel.

“The opportunity to come back home and be the main cheerleader for both your undergraduate and your graduate universities is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m excited to be here,” he said. “And I really do see that one of my primary roles is to be a cheerleader, to try to serve as the mouthpiece to tell the world about the wonderful things that you, the faculty of this great university, do here.”

When it came to the point where he would normally start talking about vision, however, Keel stopped.

“I don’t have a vision,” he said. “I can’t bring you a vision for this university – that’s something that we together have to decide. We together have to work on the vision of Georgia Regents University, and we together have to be in the position to carry out that vision.”

Then, he highlighted some areas of importance, including the Cyber Institute, making GRU a destination campus and using the strong performing arts culture on the Summerville Campus as a driver to help recruit business and industry to the community.

“You are the heart and soul of this university,” he concluded. “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. But I’m up for the challenges, and I know you are, too.”

Click here to watch a video of the entire presentation.

Hull’s Cyber curriculum on point, always applicable

In anticipation of the fall 2015 semester, the focus of educators once again shifts toward curriculum. What’s new, what stays the same, and what do our students need to remain competitive in an ever-changing workforce?

The James M. Hull College of Business is looking to answer all three questions at once. Their response? The Cyber Defender and Advanced Cyber Defender Certificate programs.

Hull’s Cyber Defender and Advanced Cyber Defender Certificate programs, which officially began in the fall of 2013, offer two routes for students interested in taking a closer look at cybersecurity.

The Cyber Defender Certificate program, intended for students seeking a broad understanding of cybersecurity, consists of three required courses and three electives. The required courses include Principles of Computer Programming I, a course that teaches students the basics of cyber-related problem solving, and Introduction to Computer Networking, a broad-focus course that introduces students to the concept of networks and network security.

Most important, perhaps, is the Introduction to Cyber Security class. Through a series of lessons, students taking the Intro to Cyber Security class learn about the importance of cybersecurity in today’s work environment and how they must become their own first line of defense against a potential cyberattack.

“This is a certificate that really anyone could earn and should strongly consider earning,” said Joanne Sexton, director of Georgia Regents University’s Cyber Institute. “The Cyber Defender Certificate shows potential employers that you take a vested interest in your own cybersecurity and the security of your workplace.”

Sexton also said that all of Hull’s applied information and system technologies majors earn the Cyber Defender Certificate on their path to graduation, and around 25 percent of their computer science majors do as well.

The alternative to the Cyber Defender Certificate, Hull’s Advanced Cyber Defender Certificate, is designed for students interested in making advanced cybersecurity one of the foundations of their career path.

In addition to the courses required to obtain the Cyber Defender Certificate, students complete 13 courses, including Digital Forensics and Cyber Network Defense and Countermeasures.

“The advanced certificate is really more for students who are looking to make a career of cybersecurity,” said Sexton. “Students with an advanced certificate are qualified for entry-level work in the field of cybersecurity.”

Sexton stressed the importance of cybersecurity as a workplace concern, regardless of one’s chosen occupation.

“If you’re a public CPA, you have to be able to protect your clients,” Sexton said. “If you’re looking to start your own practice in the medical field, you’ve got to be able to protect your patient information.”

Sexton said Hull has no trouble selling students on the idea of earning their certificates. She said that, increasingly, business students were coming to understand the importance of protecting themselves and their interests online.
“Especially today, everyone could benefit from better understanding the Internet and how to defend themselves while making use of it,” said Sexton. “That’s what we certify – when we hand out one of these certificates to a student, I’m confident saying to my colleagues in the field, ‘this person is ready, capable and prepared.’”

Sexton to lead GRU Cyber Institute

Joanne Sexton has been named Director of the Georgia Regents University Cyber Institute. Sexton, a former information technology expert for the U.S. Navy, previously served as GRU’s director of Cyber Education Initiatives.

“Joanne’s commitment to the university and her students, as well as her knowledge of cyber will certainly help take our cyber research, education and curriculum to the next level,” said Gretchen Caughman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Hundreds of millions of records have been involved in data breaches across the globe, and new attack methods are being launched continuously,” said Dr. Brooks Keel, GRU president. “Through our partnership with the U.S. Army Cyber Command, GRU is poised to take a national leadership role in one of the fastest-growing and most needed areas of professional development. We are confident that Joanne can help us get there.”

GRU launched the Cyber Institute in June to develop research, new curriculum and outreach opportunities in cybersecurity. The creation of the institute is a step toward gaining recognition as a Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense.

Before joining GRU, Sexton served as the first commanding officer of what is known today as Navy Information Operations Command Georgia. She has more than 20 years of information technology experience in the Navy, spanning hardware maintenance, software development and support, telecommunications services, computer center operations, software quality assurance, space operations management, project management and information security practice.

Sexton holds master’s degrees in computer science and in national and strategic studies. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and has earned Global Information Assurance Certifications in several areas of cyberdefense, including security essentials, incident handling, intrusion analysis and penetration testing.

The GRU Cyber Institute provides the framework for all things cyber at the university. Current cybersecurity courses and degrees include advanced information assurance through the Hull College of Business,  medical informatics program, focused on protection of health information, through the College of Allied Health Sciences, and courses on cyberterrorism through the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Thompson to serve as cyber, energy, and medical liaison for Hull College of Business

Mark Thompson, Associate Dean of the Hull College of Business, was recently named Maxwell Chair of Business Administration. His appointment was approved by the Board of Regents at their February meeting.

Having previously served as Cree-Walker Chair of Business Administration at Augusta State University, Thompson said being named to the position was a great honor.

Marc Miller, Dean of the Hull College of Business, said Thompson’s appointment was an exciting step forward not only for the college but also for the CSRA.

“I am very happy that Mark has been named the Maxwell Chair,” said Miller. “The primary purpose of the chair is to provide a bridge between our business community and the research that we perform; I am confident that Mark’s research in Energy, Healthcare, and IT will help support the major areas of the economy not only in the CSRA, but the state of Georgia as a whole.

Though much of his work as an educator will remain the same, as Chair, Thompson will also take on an entirely new set of responsibilities, namely serving as a liaison to the growing fields of medical, cyber, and energy. With the announcement of Georgia Regents University’s new Cyber Institute, a great deal of that work will begin here at home.

“It’s a very exciting time,” said Thompson. “Because the Cyber Institute isn’t affiliated with any one college, it opens up unprecedented opportunities for collaboration between the participants.”

Thompson also believes GRU’s standing as both a center of business and an academic health center lends a unique viewpoint to the Cyber Institute’s mission.

“When people think of hacking, they think of credit card fraud,” said Thompson. “But what about protecting health records or personal information stored at the workplace? We have a unique perspective on that aspect of cyber protection, and I think it separates us from other similar programs.”

In addition to working alongside the College of Allied Health Sciences and the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences as a member of the Cyber Institute, Thompson will also work to strengthen relationships between GRU, Fort Gordon, Savannah River Site, and the local business and health communities.

GRU launches Cyber Institute

Georgia Regents University is creating the GRU Cyber Institute to develop research, new curriculum, and outreach opportunities in cybersecurity starting this summer.

“We want to be known for cyber,” said Joanne Sexton, Director for GRU Cyber Security Educational Initiatives. “The Augusta area has been growing in this aspect, and we want to be a major player in that.”

GRU has been working toward creating the Cyber Institute for a few years and has already established a cyber curriculum, said Gretchen Caughman, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost . The news that Fort Gordon would become the new headquarters for the U.S. Army Cyber Command only accelerated the process.

“We have made cybersecurity a major strategic priority,” Caughman said. “And the University System of Georgia endorsed that priority and provided new funding that will aid in launching the Cyber Institute. GRU is making a commitment as well.”

The creation of the institute is also a step toward getting recognition as a Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense.

“I congratulate GRU on this proactive step to enhance educational opportunities for its students and contribute to the Augusta community’s growing role in our nation’s cyber defense,” said U.S. Congressman Rick Allen. “I have heard firsthand from GRU faculty about their vision and commitment to building an excellent program that equips its students to excel in this increasingly important field. I look forward to seeing the great things accomplished by the GRU Cyber Institute.”

U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland also endorsed GRU’s efforts.

“Georgia’s support for the men and women protecting our country is well known and respected across the nation, and I am thrilled to see GRU’s new Cyber Institute will contribute to that excellence,” said Rep. Westmoreland, who is Chairman of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “Cybersecurity is a highly skilled and critical field in our nation’s defense strategy, and being prepared is imperative to keeping our homeland safe. I look forward to supporting GRU’s success in both student education on cyber defense and security, and their contributions to our national security.”

The Cyber Institute will provide the framework for all things cyber at the university, in cooperation with several of GRU’s colleges, which currently offer cybersecurity courses and degrees. They include cybersecurity programs through the Hull College of Business, a medical informatics program focused on protection of health information through the College of Allied Health Sciences, and courses on cyberterrorism through the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

“We have the opportunity to collaborate across the university, to take advantage of the unique offerings of each of the colleges,” Sexton said. “That’s what the institute is in a unique position to do.”

To watch this story on WFXG Fox 54, click here.