Photo of William R Hersh, M.D.

William R Hersh M.D.

  • (503) 494-4563
    • Professor of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology School of Medicine

William Hersh, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, USA. Dr. Hersh is a leader and innovator in biomedical informatics both in education and research.

Dr. Hersh’s main research efforts are in the area of information retrieval (also known as search) applied to biomedicine. He has authored over 200 scientific papers and abstracts as well as the book, Information Retrieval: A Health and Biomedical Perspective (Springer, 2009), which has an associated Web site. His current work focuses on the application of search techniques to electronic health record data, aiming to improve patient cohort discovery and amplification of signals of rare diseases.

His research activities have also included conducting systematic reviews of the efficacy of informatics interventions, including telemedicine and health information exchange. He has also investigated the quantity and characteristics of the workforce needed to implement health information technology, especially in clinical settings.

Dr. Hersh is also a leader in informatics education. He serves as Director of OHSU’s Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program, which is one of the oldest and largest in the world, and offers Master’s and PhD degrees as well as a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Informatics. He also spearheaded OHSU’s efforts in distance learning for biomedical informatics.

Dr. Hersh has led a number of innovations in biomedical informatics education. He conceptualized and implemented the first offering of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 10x10 (“ten by ten”) program, which has been completed by over 2500 health care professionals and others in biomedical informatics. He has also been funded by the US Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to develop national curricula for health IT and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program to develop open educational resources in biomedical data science. He is Co-Editor (with Robert Hoyt, MD) of the introductory textbook, Health Informatics: Practical Guide (7th Edition).

Dr. Hersh has won numerous awards for his educational innovations. These include the OHSU Faculty Senate Distinguished Faculty Award for outstanding teaching in 2007, the 2008 AMIA Donald A.B. Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics, and the 2015 Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Physician Leadership Award. He was also listed among the Top 25 Clinical Informaticists by Modern Healthcare Magazine when it was awarded in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Dr. Hersh has also been active in the development of the physician subspecialty of clinical informatics. He was among the first cohort of physicians to be certified in the new subspecialty in 2013. He also has been the Course Director of the AMIA Clinical Informatics Board Review Course (CIBRC) since its inception. He also served as the Founding Program Director of OHSU’s Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited Clinical Informatics Fellowship.

Dr. Hersh received his BS in Biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1980 and his MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1984. After completing a Residency in Internal Medicine at University of Illinois Hospital in 1987, he completed a Fellowship in Medical Informatics at Harvard University in 1990. Since that time, he has been a faculty member in the OHSU School of Medicine.

More information about Dr. Hersh can be found on his Web site. He also maintains the Informatics Professor blog.

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  • B.S., University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Illinois United States 1979
  • M.D., University of Illinois, Chicago Illinois United States 1984
  • Residency:

    • Internal Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, IL
  • Fellowship:

    • Medical Informatics, Harvard University, Boston, MA
  • Certifications:

    • Internal Medicine, Diplomate of ABIM, 1987
    • Clinical Informatics, Diplomate of ABPM, 2013

Honors and awards

  • Donald AB Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics, American Medical Informatics Association, 2008
  • Physician IT Leadership Award, HIMSS, 2015

Memberships and associations

  • American Medical Informatics Association


  • "Factors associated with success in searching MEDLINE and applying evidence to answer clinical questions" Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association May 2002
  • "Automatic indexing of abstracts via natural-language processing using a simple thesaurus" Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making  1991
  • "A standards-based approach for facilitating discovery of learning objects at the point of care." AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium  2005
  • "CliniWeb" Emerging Infectious Diseases July 1996
  • "Implementation and evaluation of a distance learning introductory course in medical informatics."   2001
  • "Barriers and drivers of health information technology use for the elderly, chronically ill, and underserved." Evidence report/technology assessment November 2008
  • "Evaluating the AMIA-OHSU 10x10 program to train health care professionals." AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium  2007
  • "Ubiquitous but unfinished" Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making March 2005
  • "Automated semantic indexing of imaging reports to support retrieval of medical images in the multimedia electronic medical record" Methods of Information in Medicine  1999
  • "The Oregon IAIMS" Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA July 1999
  • "Evaluating the AMIA-OHSU 10x10 program to train healthcare professionals in medical informatics." AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium  2008
  • "A stimulus to define informatics and health information technology" BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making  2009
  • "Factors associated with successful answering of clinical questions using an information retrieval system" Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA  2000
  • "Medication errors" Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management February 2006
  • "Diagnosis, access and outcomes" Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare September 1 2006
  • "Towards new measures of information retrieval evaluation"   1995
  • "A medical informatics distance-learning course for Latin America" Methods of Information in Medicine  2010
  • "Development and evaluation of an electronic health record configuration and customization laboratory course for clinical informatics students"   2013
  • "Examination Scores Fall With Time" JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association January 15 1992
  • "A tale of two professions health information management and biomedical/health informatics converge at OHSU" Journal of the American Health Information Management Association October 2013
  • "Adopting e-learning standards in health care" AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium  2006
  • "Reviewer merits" Library and Information Science Research  2006
  • "Informatics" JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association January 1 1992
  • "Using media fusion and domain dimensions to improve precision in medical image retrieval"   2010
  • "Adding value to the electronic health record through secondary use of data for quality assurance, research, and surveillance" American Journal of Managed Care June 2007
  • "Knowledge integration" Journal of healthcare information management : JHIM  2001
  • "Identifying patients for clinical studies from electronic health records"   2011
  • "Overview of the ImageCLEFmed 2008 medical image retrieval task"   2008
  • "The CLEF 2005 cross-language image retrieval track"   2005
  • "System and user attributes associated with successful searching"   1999

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