Stead receives Duke Medical Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus AwardNov. 20, 2019, 2:55 PM
by Kathy Whitney
William Stead, MD, Chief Strategy Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is a 2019 recipient of Duke Medical Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
He is a pioneer in the application of communication and information technology to improve the practice of medicine and is considered a founder of the field of biomedical informatics and a contemporary thought leader.
In the 1970s, first as a medical student and then while a nephrology fellow and member of the faculty at Duke, Stead worked with Ed Hammond, PhD, director of Duke Center for Health Informatics, and others to build The Medical Record, one of the first practical electronic medical record systems. He also contributed to the development of one of the first patient-centered hospital information systems.
Stead received his BA, MD, and residency training in internal medicine and nephrology from Duke University. He came to VUMC in 1991 and holds appointments as the McKesson Foundation Professor of Biomedical Informatics and professor of Medicine. For two decades, he guided development of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and operational units providing information infrastructure to support health care, education and research programs of the Medical Center. He aligned organizational structure, informatics architecture and change management to bring cutting-edge research in decision support, visualization, natural language processing, data mining, and data privacy into clinical practice.
His current focus is on system-based care, learning and research leading toward personalized medicine and population health management.
A member of the National Academy of Medicine and chair of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, Stead served as chair of the National Library of Medicine’s Board of Regents and was honored by the American College of Medical Informatics with its lifetime achievement award, the Morris Collen Medal, in 2007. He was a leader in the merger of three organizations to create the American Medical Informatics Association. In 2013, the association created the William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics, and honored Stead as the inaugural recipient. In 2016 he was chosen to serve as chair of the National Committee on Vital & Health Statistics (NCVHS) for a two-year, renewable term.