The NYU School of Medicine was among the early advocates of the personal computer as an important medium for medical education. In 1987, an interactive multimedia development unit of the Dean's area, the Hippocrates Project, was established. It all began in an unused microbiology teaching laboratory which became the second home for six talented medical students and one faculty.
Working closely with the course directors from several of the visually intense basic science disciplines (e.g. anatomy, microbiology, histology, pathology, neuroanatomy), the Hippocrates Project soon created programs that became essential resources for the curriculum. Recognition of the growing importance of IT to all aspects of undergraduate medical education led to the expansion of the Hippocrates Project in 1997 to an Educational Computing Division (ECD).
In addition to continuing to develop educational multimedia projects and materials, ECD developed interactive physiologic simulations, a computing infrastructure (anchored by relational databases for administrative aspects of medical education), provided email and computerized grading of examinations with tailored statistical reports, and automated course survey results.
In 1998, a further expansion of IT support for the School of Medicine was manifested in the merger of a research IT unit, the Research Computing Resource, with Educational Computing to form Academic Computer. The new unit expanded its activities to include the development of databases for clinical research and, with the advent of PDAs, began development for mobile platforms.
In 2001, coincident with a new mandate to design and develop a core curriculum for surgery, Academic Computing was separated into two independent units: Advanced Educational Systems (AES), a department of the Deans area, and the Research Computing Resource, a molecular biology research resource. AES engaged in two major activities: the creation of new formats for hypermedia instruction and, the creation of a novel IT infrastructure to both produce and use the hypermedia instructional materials.
Eventually, AES became the Division of Educational Informatics (DEI) in 2007 and proved enormously successful for NYU. DEI was largely responsible for creating several new technologies and e-learning resources currently being used by medical schools and health professions schools across the country i.e. the Virtual Microscope and the WISE-MD learning modules for surgical education. In addition, NYULMC faculty and staff were instrumental to the development of the Biodigital Human.
In November 2013, responding to internal and external drivers affecting the fields of technology, higher education and health care, NYULMC established the Institute for Innovations in Medical Education (IIME). IIME will be responsible for the development, validation and support of teaching and learning innovations throughout the educational continuum of NYULMC.