Headshot photo of William R. Hersh, M.D.

William R. Hersh, M.D.

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


William Hersh, MD, FACP, FACMI, FAMIA, FIAHSI is a Professor in the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, USA. He served as the inaugural Chair of DMICE from 2003-2022. Dr. Hersh is a leader and innovator in biomedical informatics both in education and research.

In education, Dr. Hersh served as Director of OHSU’s Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program, which is one of the oldest and largest in the world, from its inception in 1996 through 2023. The program has awarded nearly 1000 degrees and certificates. He remains Principal Investigator of OHSU’s NIH National Library of Medicine T15 Training Grant, which is the largest and second-longest training grant at OHSU. Dr. Hersh also spearheaded OHSU’s efforts in distance learning in biomedical informatics. He has taught in person and online widely around the world.

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 provides the equivalent of an introductory graduate-level course and has been completed by over 3000 health care professionals and others. He is Editor of the introductory textbook, Health Informatics: Practical Guide, 8th Edition (Lulu.com, 2022), which has an associated Web site.

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 is the Course Director of the AMIA Clinical Informatics Board Review Course (CIBRC) and also served as the Founding Program Director of OHSU’s Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited Clinical Informatics Fellowship.

Dr. Hersh is also an accomplished researcher. His main efforts have been 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 Biomedical and Health Perspective, 4th Edition (Springer, 2020). 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. He has also led a number of IR challenge evaluations under the guise of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).

His other 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 has won numerous awards for his innovations. These include the 2007 OHSU Faculty Senate Distinguished Faculty Award for outstanding teaching, the 2008 AMIA Donald A.B. Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics, the 2015 Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Physician Leadership Award, the 2022 AMIA William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics, and the 2023 HIMSS Oregon Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Hersh is an elected fellow of several honorific societies, including the American College of Physicians (FACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI), the International Academy of Health Science Informatics (FIAHSI – founding Fellow), and American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA – inaugural Fellow). He is also an Elected Member of the ACM Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval (SIGIR) Academy.

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.

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • B.S., 1979, University of Illinois
    • M.D., 1984, University of Illinois
  • 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

Memberships and associations:

  • Fellow, American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA)
  • Fellow, American College of Physicians (FACP)
  • Fellow, American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI)
  • Fellow and Past President, International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI)
  • Member, ACM SIGIR Academy

Honors and awards

  • Donald AB Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics, American Medical Informatics Association, 2008
  • Physician IT Leadership Award, HIMSS, 2015
  • William Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics, American Medical Informatics Association, 2022
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, HIMSS Oregon Chapter, 2023



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