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VUMC forms new Center for Improving the Public’s Health Using Informatics (CIPHI)

Jun. 20, 2019, 10:28 AM


Vanderbilt University Medical Center is forming a new Center for Improving the Public’s Health Using Informatics (CIPHI, pronounced “Sci Fi”) to be co-directed by Michael Matheny, MD, MS, MPH, and Melissa McPheeters, PhD, MPH.

It will focus on providing a bridge between public health and health care to mutually develop and test critical informatics capacity for improving population health and expanding critically needed capacity in graduate education in public health informatics.

CIPHI will coordinate with state and national public health agencies to offer services and expertise in developing key informatics and analytics capacity and to develop new research programs and expand research faculty capacity, particularly in the areas of public health reporting and data exchange with health care, integration and use of evolving data systems, real-time predictive analytics, population surveillance and risk-adjustment and medical product surveillance.

“To protect and improve the public’s health, the public health system and health care must work closely together, and academic health centers have a tremendous opportunity to help bridge the gap and support our public health partners. We will do this through innovative projects and research to test best practices, as well as filling a tremendous need for capacity in the public health informatics workforce,” McPheeters said.

“With the explosion of data science and increasing access to public and private data sources, we can innovate with new methods and frameworks to improve methods and processes in areas of analytics, reportable conditions, and medical product surveillance, and to work with operational partners to disseminate these developments,” said Matheny.

McPheeters is a research professor in the Departments of Health Policy and Biomedical Informatics. She was recently recruited back to VUMC after serving three years as an assistant commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Health, where she built an informatics program that included multi-system interoperability, advanced analytics and data governance, with a particular emphasis on using advanced analytics to counter the opioid epidemic. She previously led the Vanderbilt Evidence-based Practice Center during her prior 11 years at VUMC.

Matheny is an associate professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics and Medicine. He has been at VUMC for the last 12 years and has developed a research program in risk prediction modeling, natural language processing, and medical product surveillance.

The center is being jointly supported by the Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Institute for Medicine and Public Health including the Center for Health Services Research.

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