Over 110 students have graduated from the Department of Biomedical Informatics (25+ PhD, 50+ MS, 25+ Certificate). The diversity of careers available to DBMI alumnus is evident in their biographies. Many of our graduates are teaching and performing research in academic institutions, such as Vanderbilt University, Arizona State University, and New York University while others have entered private industry with companies such as Cerner Corporation and Boston Scientific; some have positions in government agencies, such as the NIH and AHRQ, while others are at major medical centers, serving in roles such as Chief Medical Information Officer. We maintain a database of the career paths of our graduates. If you are an alumnus, please contact us if you would like to submit or update information!

Heather Piwowar

Photo of Heather Piwowar

Biographical Info

Personal Statement

I started at DBMI because it was a 10 minute bike ride from my house and I needed to learn more about clinical informatics for my job.  I stayed — for a class, then a certificate, then a PhD — because the profs were smart and thought-provoking, the students were friendly and interesting, and the environment was rich in opportunity.  Want to blog?  Run a learning lunch series? Take classes in diverse departments? Pursue a research agenda that is a bit off the beaten track? Present at conferences no one has heard of? DBMI’s got your back if you have the initiative.  I’d also like to commend DBMI for being so family-friendly.  I had my daughter shortly after enrolling. She slept through many an afternoon colloquium.

I’m very glad Pitt was such a short bike ride away: I have a new career I love, where I can make a difference, and I doubt I would have found it without DBMI.

Dr. Heather Piwowar is a cofounder of Impactstory, the nonprofit company behind the Unpaywall database for Open Access discovery. You can see what she’s up to right now at 

Categories: Alumni