Former military member finds fit in Health Professions at the WVU School of Medicine

Former military member finds fit in Health Professions at the WVU School of Medicine

While serving in the U.S. Army as a combat medic, Ruben Bragg’s experience in the Troop Medical Clinic sparked an interest in healthcare and information technology. Now, he’s following that passion at the WVU School of Medicine in the Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) program.

“I choose to pursue HIIM because there are a plethora of career choices after graduating,” Bragg said. “I was also immediately interested in the flexibility that the degree offered me.”

One of the defining features of the HIIM program is its flexibility, in particular for non-traditional students – with students able to decide between online courses, in-person or a blend of both. The program, which is the first and only bachelor’s degree of its kind in West Virginia, blends business, healthcare and information technology.

The HIIM program requires students to complete 400 hours of professional practice experience through internships and hands-on learning, creating a professional portfolio showing qualified job candidates.

Leveraging his military service, Bragg was able to count some of his military service hours toward his course requirements. This summer, he’ll add to his experience with an IT internship with WVU Hospitals.

“The WVU HIIM Program by nature allows me to choose my own adventure, but the best part is knowing that my prior experience is not just wasted time, it can be used towards my academic career,” Bragg said.

Bragg, a member of the WVU Honors College, was accepted into the Honors EXCEL Program, which supports undergraduates in experiential and community-engaged learning through the completion of a self-selected project. With his project, he hopes to advocate for more veterans and active-duty personnel to pursue HIIM.

“HIIM is a very rewarding career that is advancing and adapting every single day,” Bragg said. “I want there to be more veterans and active-duty personnel that pursue the degree here at WVU. With our special skill set, we can help to shape the future of the VA Clinics that we go to, as well as some of the nation’s best hospitals."

After graduation, Bragg hopes to take a different path than typical HIIM graduates who often pursue careers in healthcare administration or information management – he has his sights set on medical school.

“There are many medical schools today that no longer require course prerequisites and have instead switched to mainly reviewing GPA and MCAT scores for their school interviews,” Bragg said. “HIIM is a very unique and new major, and it is already under the WVU School of Medicine umbrella. I hope it makes me stand out more.”

For more information about the Health Informatics and Information Management program at WVU, visit