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Stead honored by American Medical Informatics Association

Dec. 5, 2013, 9:32 AM

On the evening of Nov. 16, in Washington, D.C., William Stead, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and chief strategy officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, received a welcome surprise. The setting was the National Press Club and the occasion was the annual leadership dinner of the American Medical Informatics Association, where the field’s top awards are presented.

William Stead, M.D.

It was a well-kept secret — this year’s ceremony would feature a new award: the William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics.

And the first recipient would be William Stead.

“I’m almost speechless,” he told the crowd.

Stead “has for decades led the nation in thinking about how biomedical informatics methods and architectures can improve health care systems.” The new award “acknowledges people who have influenced our thinking about informatics, especially improving health and health care in ways that are visionary and transformative,” says the announcement on AMIA’s website.

“It is hard to put into words what it means to have my peers create an award in my honor and to be able to bring the inaugural award back to Vanderbilt,” Stead said. “The award is a tribute to our collaborative culture and our unique capacity to work out innovation in practice locally in ways that are adopted globally.”

AMIA has four other Signature Awards, including one recognizing innovation, which was given to Stead in 2005, and one recognizing career achievement (bestowed by AMIA’s American College of Medical Informatics), which was given to Stead in 2007.

“This award was created by Bill’s peers to recognize his extraordinary contributions to the field of biomedical informatics. It is an expression of deep respect for his vision that has moved from concept to practice and is impacting patients and health care providers here at Vanderbilt and across the nation. There can be no greater form of recognition,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I want to congratulate Bill on this wonderful achievement. We are privileged to have him in our midst, conceptualizing the game-changing advances in science and health care that will impact patients for decades to come,” Balser said.

Stead received his B.A., M.D., and training in internal medicine and nephrology from Duke.
At Vanderbilt, the teams he mentors translate novel informatics techniques into information technology capable of handling the complexity and pace of change in biomedical science and health care.

The resulting enterprise-wide electronic health record, clinical communication and decision support tools, and population-scale research resources, support Stead’s current focus on improving system-wide evidence-based care while incorporating the distinctive characteristics of all patients, in support of Vanderbilt’s world leadership in personalized medicine.

Stead is McKesson Foundation Professor of Biomedical Informatics and professor of Medicine.
He is a founding fellow of both the American College of Medical Informatics and the American Institute for Engineering in Biology and Medicine, and an elected member of both the American Clinical and Climatological Association and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, where he serves on the institute’s governing council.

He was the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and served as president of the American College of Medical Informatics, chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine, presidential appointee to the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, and as chair of the National Research Council Committee on Engaging the Computer Science Research Community in Health Care Informatics.

He is also a member the Division Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences of the National Research Council, and the National Committee for Vital Health Statistics.

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