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
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
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.
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
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
“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
For more information on the Healthcare Informatics program
please contact Dr. Bonnie Mackellar at: firstname.lastname@example.org.