William R. Hersh, M.D.

  • 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 Biomedical and Health Perspective (Springer, 2020), 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 spearheaded OHSU’s efforts in distance learning for biomedical informatics. In addition, he serves as Director of OHSU's National Library of Medicine T15 Training Grant in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science, which is the largest and second-longest-running training grant at OHSU.

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 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.

Education and training

    • 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:

  • American Medical Informatics Association

Honors and awards

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



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