Friday, September 30, 2016

A long journey ends...

OK.  So I've been at this Master's degree thing for the majority of the time I've been with my current employer.  It took me three+ years to find the program that would take me (the Online MBI Program at Oregon Health & Science University), and almost three more, but I'm FINALLY FINISHED!  And the funny thing was, that I finished in the first place I first looked some six or more years ago.

Wow.  What a journey.  I think my favorite three classes are in order:

  1. Human Computer Interaction (the most recently completed)
  2. The Practice of Healthcare (the one I thought for sure was going to kill me)
  3. Introduction to Informatics (one that had me on the floor laughing in the first week)
But quite frankly, I enjoyed every single one, and aced them all (save one, in which I only got an A, and it wasn't in any of the ones above). I'm about 2/100ths of a point from perfect, which quite honestly does NOT reflect my own perception of my ability at all.

I think the biggest thing that I learned over the last three years was the dramatic gulf that still existing between the "practical", technical, software engineering disciplines, and the academic, but also highly intuitive medical disciplines.  The latter are both more and less science than the former, or perhaps I have that reversed.  At the population level, the math and science in healthcare is all there.  Across the software engineering disciplines, not so much.  In the aggregate, software is still high art.  And yet at finer grains, healthcare is so much more art than the day-to-day of writing code and implementing algorithms, which is almost all logic (math).

One of the things that I have very clearly decided is that I will focus much more attention on teaching in the future.  I've always loved teaching.  The most enriching experiences I had was being a TA for the Standards and Interoperability class.  In most of the teaching I do, I see students for a day or two. I never really get to know them or see them grow over the course of a term.  Even though my time teaching was very short, working with others over a period of seven weeks, the last of which covered almost a week together in the same space, was truly different.  I got to see people learn and grow and even change the way that they think in ways I would not have expected, and yet pleasing none-the-less.

Again, I have to profusely thank my advisor, Dr. William Hersh.  Without his support I would never have entered the program, let alone finished it.  I have to say he made it interesting for me in many ways I didn't expect, one of which I hope you'll be seeing in a journal sometime in the next year.

Today, I sign off differently, tomorrow I'll be back to the same-old, same-old.  

   Keith W. Boone, MBI

P.S.  In a couple of weeks I'll be able to share the content of my capstone report with you.  Hopefully I'll be able to put all that writing energy that's been going elsewhere for the last three years back into this blog.


  1. Congrats! You've earned those three letters and much more.

  2. Congratulations! This is very cool to read. As one of your earliest students, I can attest that you were a fine, generous, and inspiring teacher decades before they finally gave you your papers :-)

  3. I was as much your student as you were mine! When does 3 + 3 = 5?