Belmont Pharmacy Students Find Patterns in COVID-19 Data using Amazon and Microsoft Analytics Tools

Healthcare Informatics team on Zoom

Belmont College of Pharmacy Healthcare Informatics team members April Pepper, Phuong Truong and Karen Le have recently become database analysts using Amazon Relational Database Services (RDS) and Microsoft Corporation’s Structured Query Language (SQL).

The team’s analytics work focused on COVID-19-related data which was obtained from Data.Gov, the home of the U.S. Government’s open data. Under the OPEN Government Data Act, government data is required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while continuing to ensure privacy and security. The Big Data tools from Amazon and Microsoft make it possible to analyze and manipulate the large data repositories stored there.

Le analyzed COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds, Pepper compared COVID-19 deaths to the total of all deaths (by county and state) and Truong analyzed COVID-19’s impact on mental health in the U.S.

“The students’ findings may be used to further research at a later date,” said Dr. Anthony Blash, the team’s professor. “But our primary goal was to develop the skills necessary to effectively ask questions of large clinical datasets. Our team was very successful in that regard.”

The Healthcare Informatics team at Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy collaborates with interested organizations to provide competent graduate student healthcare informaticians. Collaborating is of no cost to the partnering organization and can help to advance the organization’s healthcare informatics initiatives currently underway or in the planning phase. This collaboration also benefits the Learning Health System as companies work with future pharmacists on projects that identify new or expanded healthcare informatics services in the pharmacy profession. To find out more about partnering with the student healthcare informatics teams at the College of Pharmacy at Belmont, please contact Dr. Blash at