Bonnie MacKellar, Ph.D.

St. John’s Professor Helps Launch Healthcare Informatics Major

When Bonnie MacKellar, Ph.D., joined the faculty of St. John’s University she was attracted by its diverse student body and service-oriented Vincentian mission. Since then, Dr. MacKellar, an Associate Professor in Computer Science, Mathematics and Science in the College of Professional Studies, has helped spearhead the University’s unique baccalaureate program in Healthcare Informatics, launched last Fall.

“Having a healthcare informatics bachelor’s program is very unusual,” she noted. “Most programs are either at the associate’s level or master’s level.” The program combines elements of computer science and health care, teaching students to apply specialized information technology tools within the health care delivery process.

The program strives to improve how individuals experience healthcare in America by using the latest technology to improve the industry’s efficiency, quality and accessibility. Students will gain the background in technology and healthcare to contribute to this growing field, which is in keeping with St. John’s University’s Vincentian Mission.

Creative Opportunities

Dr. MacKellar earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Connecticut and taught Computer Science at Western Connecticut State University for over 10 years before joining Emerging Health IT LLC as a Senior Systems Analyst.

As an undergraduate at Boston University, Dr. MacKellar was attracted to Computer Science because of the design elements inherent in the field. “I really liked creating and designing software, and I eventually went on to get my Ph.D.,” she explained.

Prior to her arrival at St. John’s, Dr. MacKellar did a great deal of research as a database specialist, working on the design and development of large scale document database software, as well as software and database systems that support healthcare applications. “Currently, I’m more interested in software engineering as well as the uses of semantic Web technologies in healthcare.”

Dr. MacKellar observed that the Computer Science major at St. John’s offers students a broad range of options, allowing them to learn about related fields in conjunction with their major area. “The national trend in Computer Science is toward broadening students’ backgrounds, so they are not just narrowly focused on programming.

“The major at St. John’s allows that kind of broad background, but also permits in-depth preparation for students who want to go on to graduate school.”

For more information on the Healthcare Informatics program please contact Dr. Bonnie Mackellar at: mackellb@stjohns.edu.