February 16, 2013
William Hersh, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology had a very successful year in 2012, consisting of both national leadership activities and receiving awards. We sat down with him for a recent Q&A:
Q: What national leadership activities did you carry out in 2012?
I served as Scientific Program Committee Chair of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2012 Annual Symposium, This is the largest and most important academic meeting of the year, attracting researchers and others from around the world to present the latest science of the field. This year's meeting, held in Chicago over November 3-7, set a record for number of submissions and presentations.
I also served as General Conference Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) 2012 Conference. This is a meeting of individuals mainly of researchers from the field of computer science but also others (such as those from biomedical informatics) who focus on information retrieval (also known as search). The August 14-18 meeting brought over 500 attendees to Portland, along with major search companies as sponsors, such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
In addition, I was named as Course Director for the AMIA Clinical Informatics Subspecialty Board Review Course in 2012. This will be the first board review course for the new medical subspecialty of clinical informatics, which was recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 2011 and will have its first board exam in October, 2013. The course will help those who are eligible for this new subspecialty certification to prepare for the exam, which I hope to take (and pass!) myself. One unique aspect of this subspecialty is that physicians from an primary specialty (in my case, internal medicine) will be able to be a subspecialist in clinical informatics.
Finally, I was appointed to the Workforce Subgroup of the Certification and Adoption Workgroup of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Policy Committee. The Health IT Policy Committee is the leading advisory board to the federal government for ONC, the agency overseeing the "meaningful use" program to spur adoption of electronic health records.
Q: What awards did you receive in 2012?
For the third year in a row, I was named among the Top 25 Clinical Informaticists by Modern Healthcare magazine. This award is mainly given to clinical leaders in the field, mostly Chief Medical Informatics Officers (CMIOs). I was recognized for my groundbreaking academic and educational achievements.
I was also named an "EHR Game Changer" by Health Data Management magazine (slide show and article). This award recognized four individuals whose work has led to major advances in the electronic health record (EHR). Again, I was recognized for my contributions in education and research leadership.
And, on a lighter note, I was named as a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatimusicology (ACMImimi). This is a group that is recognized for musical contributions to the informatics field. I was recognized for playing my guitar and singing at national informatics meetings.
Q: What other accomplishments can you report for 2012?
Our Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology continues to be one of the many beacons of success for OHSU. The department continued its achievements in publishing its research in high-profile journals, receiving funding to continue our research, and disseminating our knowledge through our large and successful educational programs. Many faculty have also been involved in the School of Medicine curriculum transformation that will, among other things, enable OHSU-trained 21st century physicians to practice in a data-rich, information-driven world.
Another achievement I am proud of is the high visibility and frequent citation of my blog, The Informatics Professor. It provides me a venue to write about a myriad of critical topics in my field and their impact in the larger healthcare world. Some of my recent entries include:
- Implementing the Learning Healthcare System Can Be Facilitated Using the Principles of Evidence-Based Medicine
- The Health IT "Grand Experiment": Mid-Study Check-Up
- What Do Twenty-First Century Healthcare Professional Students Need to Learn About Informatics?
- Eligibility for the Clinical Informatics Subspecialty