Huang Joins Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Department



Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD recently joined Duke as Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine’s Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Department. Dr. Huang earned his MD and PhD in Genetics from Duke and served as both a junior faculty member in the Department of Surgery and an Investigator in the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) before taking a position with a nonprofit research organization in Seattle.

His research focuses on the development and testing of quantitative models of oncogenic pathway activation. Additional information about Dr. Huang’s work can be viewed in his Scholars@Duke profile.

Duke Medicine to Train Health Care Professionals in Health Informatics

December 2, 2009

In response to the increasingly critical role of health care information technologies in the evolving health care delivery system, Duke Medicine has created the Duke Center for Health Informatics (DCHI) to provide a campus focus for health informatics. DCHI will oversee an innovative interdisciplinary approach to education that will produce a new generation of physicians, nurses, and health care administrators with an expertise in the use of informatics to improve human health.

The DCHI is a collaboration among the nationally recognized Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing and the Fuqua School of Business and will reflect a synergy resulting from the various areas of informatics excellence across the three schools.W. Ed Hammond, PhD, one of the world’s pioneers in health care information technology, has been named the director of the DCHI.; “There is little question that succeeding following health care reform will require health care professionals and executives to have an understanding of health informatics and how informatics can be applied using specific tools and capabilities,” said Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs at Duke and CEO, Duke University Health System. “I believe the DCHI will play a significant role in advancing the pragmatic application of informatics in many health care settings.”

DCHI will have a strong focus on the outcome of improving human health, a tight integration between health system operations and research programs, and a distinctly interdisciplinary curriculum and training environment. The program will, in all of its components, emphasize the use of information and information systems to improve human health. Educational offerings are being planned and reviewed across the campus to advance this new center’s academic mission. “Bringing these strong resources of Duke University together with an emphasis on applied health informatics is a unique vision, and one that will help meet the national demand for trained informaticists to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of health IT for the betterment of human health,” said Asif Ahmad, vice president, diagnostic services, Duke University Health System, and chief information officer for DUHS and Duke University Medical Center.; “Students at Duke will be able to use the Duke Health Technologies & Systems as a ‘living lab’ in which to learn how to deploy and analyze these tools and technologies.”

The DCHI will be administratively housed in the Duke Translational Medicine Institute led by Robert Califf, MD, vice chancellor for clinical research and director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. “The interdisciplinary nature of the Center and strong connection with the Translational Medicine Institute and the health system is a distinct statement of our commitment to leveraging health informatics to improve human health,” said Califf.

Over the past forty years, DCHI’s Hammond has held virtually every leadership position of significance in the world of health information technologies, and is widely recognized as having made seminal contributions to the field. He is a past president of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the American College of Medical Informatics. He served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Patient Safety Data Standards, served on several National Institutes of Health review committees, and has published over 300 technical articles. The DCHI will bring together more than 50 Duke faculty and its initiation will be supported by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Duke Trustees Approve Clinical Informatics Graduate Program

December 4, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. — The Duke University Board of Trustees on Friday approved a Master of Management in Clinical Informatics degree to be offered by The Fuqua School of Business in partnership with the Duke Center for Health Informatics.

The one-year degree program draws on the university’s resources in health informatics and management education, and will allow students to develop business knowledge in tandem with advanced health information technology skills. The program will prepare students for IT management careers in such settings as health care, medical research, government and consulting.

“It is expected that these career opportunities will increase as a result of the federal government’s efforts to increase the adoption of health information technology within the health care system,” said Dr. Kevin Schulman, director of Duke’s Health Sector Management program.

The new program will be administered by Health Sector Management and overseen by an advisory board representing Duke University Health System and the Fuqua school. “There is no question that information technology is critical to improving health care research and delivery around the world,” said Provost Peter Lange, the university’s top academic officer. “This type of interdisciplinary program provides students integrated access to some of Duke’s finest resources across the spectrum of health care, IT and management, with a focus on developing managers who will play a critical role in improving health outcomes via information technology.”

Curriculum requirements include seven management courses and five informatics courses, including a new practicum experience to be completed in a real-world setting at Duke.

“We expect to attract students with experience and interest in a range of health care IT settings,” Schulman said. “By developing management expertise within an information technology setting, graduates will be uniquely qualified to address the IT challenges facing health care providers, payers and regulators in health systems around the globe.”

The program is expected to enroll students beginning in August 2010, with the first class graduating in May 2011.

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Informatics Research Seminar: Visual Analytics Approach to Practice Evidence-Based Medicine

September 16 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speakers: Ketan K. Mane, PhD and Chris Bizon, PhD



Current evidence-based approaches take substantial time to make informed decisions. Here we discuss a novel visual analytics approach that helps to quickly determine viable treatment options at the point of care based on comparative models. In this approach, visual cues reduce information overload and help guide the data interpretation process. Inbuilt visual interactions can be used to retrieve details for additional insights. We also discuss our investigations into differing approaches to construct the comparison population sets that treatment options are based upon.

RENCI Project Members: Ketan K. Mane, Chris Bizon, and Charles Schmitt


Ketan Mane is a Senior Research Informatics Developer in Biosciences and Health Team at Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). His work is focused on applying visual analytics approach to practice of evidence-based medicine. His research interest include: information visualization, evidence-based medicine, visual analytics, public health using web 2.0 technologies, and knowledge domain visualization. Prior to this, he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) on emergency information synthesis and awareness related projects. Ketan has a background in biomedical engineering, and holds a Ph.D. in Information Science from Indiana University, Bloomington, 2006.

Chris Bizon original training is as a physicist. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied the numerical modeling of nonlinear phenomena. Following a postdoc at Colorado Research Associates simulating atmospheric turbulence, he worked as a software developer at webslingerZ, Inc in Chapel Hill. He later joined the Cheminformatics group at GlaxoSmithKline in RTP, where he worked on statistical modeling in drug discovery. He is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Renaissance Computing Institute.

Informatics Research Seminar: The State of Health Informatics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Clinical & Translational Research

November 18 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker:  David L DeMets, PhD



With the arrival of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Marshfield Clinic, established the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). ICTR includes several schools on the Madison campus as well as other sites around the state.

The CTSA focused efforts on many opportunities and gaps, including informatics, and stimulated activity to address those needs. For informatics, several areas were identified including bioinformatics, image analysis,clinical/health informatics and public health informatics that were either existing strengths to be made stronger or gaps that needed attention.

In addition to the activity on the Madison campus,there is a challenge to establish data exchange with the other ICTR sites in the
state, especially the Marshfield Clinic campus. For some goals, considerable progress has been made, and for others,work is in progress. The accomplishments and plans for the future will be described.


Dr. David L DeMets is the Assistant Director for Biostatistics and an Informatics Professor of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Informatics Research Seminar: PEDIGENE® A Proven Comprehensive Approach to Information Management for Genetic Studies

February 18 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Carol Haynes



PEDIGENE® A Proven Comprehensive Approach to Information Management for Genetic Studies

Ms. Haynes will describe the PEDIGENE® information management system for human genetic studies. This Oracle-based system has been developed
over the past 20 years at the Center for Human Genetics and has played a key role in localizing or mapping more than 50 genes involved in diseases. PEDIGENE® emphasizes data integrity while managing and automating many repetitive tasks involved in genetic studies. The system’s streamlined integration of clinical and high dimensional genetic data (GWAS, CNV, -omics) makes for easy data entry and retrieval and includes robust security to rigorously guard access to confidential genetic research data.

More info about PEDIGENE:

Carol Haynes is the Systems Project Manager at the Center for Human Genetics in the Department of Medicine at Duke Medical Center. She designed the first version of PEDIGENE® and has been instrumental in adapting the software to the changing genetic landscape. She has guided more than twenty genetics projects from the initial clinical ascertainment through the final statistical genetic analysis.


Informatics Research Seminar: Applying human factors methods to health informatics design and evaluation

March 18 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Nora Segall, PhD


The development of health information systems should take into account not only the hardware and software involved, but also the context in which they will be used. Sociotechnical factors such as task characteristics, workflow, system usability, and team communication can impact the usage of an application in unexpected ways and determine its success or failure. Incorporating human factors methods in different stages of the design process can improve the final product by considering system users, their capabilities and limitations, and environmental constraints. Dr. Segall will present several such tools and examples of their implementation in healthcare.

Noa Segall, PhD, is an assistant professor in Duke’s department of anesthesiology and a human factors engineer at the Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center. She has experience in a broad range of human factors methods, including task analysis and interface design and evaluation, and has applied them to many healthcare applications and processes. Applied projects she has worked on include a usability inspection of specimen labeling software; analysis of issues underlying an emergency department-lab specimen management process; and pharmacy consults with respect to changes in medication mixing practices, workspace layouts, and drug labeling. Dr. Segall recently completed her dissertation on a project that involved the development and evaluation of a decision support tool for anesthesia provider management of perioperative myocardial ischemia and infarction. Her research interests include human performance in medical systems, health information technology design, and the use of technology in care provider training and assessment.


Informatics Research Seminar: On-line genomic resources for researchers

May 20 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Simon Gregory, PhD 


The finished sequence of the human genome represents an invaluable resource that will greatly accelerate scientific research. However, the bewildering array of genomic information, analysis tools, and ancillary databases are difficult to navigate without being properly equipped with skills necessary to make optimal use of these data. The major factors that will influence the use of this vast amount of data is the awareness of the diversity of data that is publicly available and the skills required to make full use of it. This lecture will touch on the content, i.e. utilization of evolving biological databases and the innovative tools with which they are queried, and the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the analyses they perform.


Simon G. Gregory, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Medical Genetics, Department of Medicine. Dr. Gregory’s role in the Duke CHG is to apply the experience gained from leading the mapping of the mouse genome and sequencing human chromosome 1 to elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying multi-factorial diseases. His primary area of research involves the identification of the complex genetic factors that give rise to the development of cardiovascular disease and the detection of genes involved in multiple sclerosis. Dr. Gregory’s group is also pioneering the application of high-resolution genomic micro arrays for the discovery of chromosomal abnormalities and identification of epigenetic factors associated with human diseases such as cancer and autism. This project aims to correlate copy number profiles and factors such as methylation, with clinical phenotypes and differential levels of gene expression. His areas of special expertise are genome mapping, positional cloning and determining the effect that sequence variation has upon the etiology of genetic disease. Dr. Gregory is also director of the CHG Molecular Genetics Core facility and the Duke Bioinformatics Workshop, a forum for researchers to gain in-depth experience of using publicly available molecular genomics databases.

Informatics Research Seminar: The integration of knowledge resources into EHR systems

December 16 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Guilherme Del Fiol, MD, PhD



In this seminar, Dr. Del Fiol will focus on the integration of knowledge resources into EHR systems. He will present his experience with the design, implementation, and evaluation of the Intermountain Healthcare Infobutton Manager software component. He will also provide a quick overview of the HL7 Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval (Infobutton) Standard, which has been widely adopted in the healthcare IT industry. Finally, he will summarize his ongoing research efforts on knowledge integration at Duke.


Guilherme Del Fiol, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Clinical Informatics in the Duke Department of Community and Family Medicine. Dr. Del Fiol has over 14 years of experience in health informatics, including roles in the implementation of healthcare IT systems and applied clinical informatics research. Before joining Duke in August 2008, Dr. Del Fiol served as one of the lead architects of a corporate-wide clinical knowledge management infrastructure at Intermountain Healthcare, a large integrated healthcare network based in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Intermountain, he was also the lead architect of a software component (“Infobutton Manager”) that enables the integration of knowledge resources into electronic health records.
Dr. Del Fiol is an active member of the Health Level 7 (HL7) standard development organization, where he has bee leading the development of the HL7 Infobutton Standard. Within Duke, Dr. Del Fiol has been working on a number of grant-funded research projects devoted to the design, implementation, and evaluation of clinical decision support applications via Web services. He is also the lead informatician on the development of an application to support the MURDOCK Study. More recently, Dr. Del Fiol received a career development award from the AHRQ and a contract with the Veterans Hospital Administration which will fund the initiation of his independent research on knowledge integration into EHR systems within Duke.

Informatics Research Seminar: The caBIG CTMS Knowledge Center– Clinical Research Informatics Support Finds a Home

April 15 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speakers:  Robert Annechiarico & Mohammad Farid, MS


This presentation describes the basic framework of the CTMS Knowledge Center and the Enterprise Support Network, which offers a variety of integrated solutions and standards developed through the caBIG® program for adoption by the larger research community. Software, bundled in the caBIG® Clinical Trials Suite v.1.1, includes: Cancer Central Clinical Participant Registry, cancer Adverse Event Reporting System, Patient Study Calendar, caXchange, Labviewer and the Cancer Central Clinical Database Connector, with more to come. The presentation will provide a snapshot of the first full year of the project, detailing NCI’s deployment efforts, including challenges and lessons learned, as well as how community members can learn more about caBIG® CTMS tools. In addition, we will describe the local implementation of some of the caBIG® tools within the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as future plans.


(with introduction to caBIG from Dr. Edward Helton, Associate Director, Clinical Trials Programs and Products, Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, NIH/NCI ,USDHHS) Robert Annechiarico.
In his 30th year of clinical research, Mr. Annechiarico heads the Cancer Center Information Systems (CCIS) Shared Resource at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center (DCCC). In early 2005, Mr. Annechiarico was recruited to Duke from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where he was the Director of Medical Research Informatics for the Division of Clinical Research. He has over twenty-seven years of experience in the conduct of a wide variety of clinical trials (drug and device) and has directed clinical research computing operations at The Cleveland Clinic (2000-2005), Wake Forest University (1992-2000), and the University of Rochester (1979-1992). ). In May 2008, Mr. Annechiarico was awarded the 5-year NCI contract to direct the new caBIG Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS) Knowledge Center. He is also involved in a variety of other cancer research programs in Brain, Breast and Hyperthermia, just to name a few.

Starting as a developer for Clinical Trials Application System, Mohammad Farid has worked in different roles in past 15 years of his career. He worked as Systems Analyst on various clinical trials and also fulfilled the role of a Database Administrator at Cleveland Clinical Foundation. At Duke University Medical Center, Cancer Center Information Systems (CCIS), he was responsible for establishing the primary Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) for the Department. Currently he is the Operations Manager for the Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS) Knowledge Center, which provides support for seven different applications with more to be added in the near future. He received his MS in Computing and Information Science from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio and is currently working on his Masters in Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School.