Headshot photo of Heidi D. Nelson

Heidi D. Nelson

  • Professor Emerita of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, School of Medicine


Dr. Nelson served on the faculty at the OHSU School of Medicine from 1991 to 2020, most recently as Professor and Vice-Chair of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology. She is currently Professor of Health Systems Science at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine in Pasadena, California.

Dr. Nelson has expertise in clinical epidemiology and population health, screening and prevention, women’s health, and health care guidelines and delivery. Her work connects research and clinical practice through methods of systematic review, clinical guideline development, and evidence-based health care. Dr. Nelson has led nearly 100 systematic reviews and meta-analyses for the US Preventive Services Task Force, HRSA-sponsored Women’s Preventive Services Initiative, NIH, AHRQ, VA, and other partners for over 20 years including a review on achieving health equity for preventive services for the NIH published in 2020. This work has led to clinical practice guidelines, health policy, and coverage decisions affecting millions of Americans including innovative recommendations on contraceptive care, and screening for breast cancer, domestic violence, osteoporosis, newborn hearing, and anxiety, among many others.

As a medical director for women’s health and cancer prevention and screening in a large multi-state health system, Dr. Nelson’s work involved developing patient data registries, and planning, implementing, and evaluating health care programs and practices across the system. She has served on influential national panels including the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention Services for Women, Women’s Preventive Services Initiative, PROSPR Committee for the National Cancer Institute, and NIH Advisory Committees; and was an investigator for the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, Breast Pathology Study, and Melanoma Pathology Study. As a medical educator, she directed a women’s health training fellowship at the VA; developed and directed Scholarly Projects at OHSU, a 4-year curriculum to guide over 500 medical students in their undergraduate research projects; and currently develops and teaches a new medical school curriculum in health systems science.



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