Rachel Richesson, PhD, Associate Professor, Duke University School of Nursing, has been appointed Associate Director of Research at the Duke Center for Health Informatics (DCHI). She has a PhD and MS in Health Informatics and an MPH in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas.. She is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics. She edited the first and only textbook on the topic of Clinical Research Informatics, published in 2012 (Springer). Director of the DCHI Ed Hammond, PhD, expressed his enthusiasm about Dr. Richesson joining the leadership of DCHI: “We are so excited to include her as part of our leadership team, her expertise in informatics will be invaluable as we strive to promote research in the field .”
Dr. Richesson lectures on various topics related to data standards and interoperability for a number of programs at Duke. During her extensive research career, she has directed the identification and implementation of data standards for multi-national multi-site clinical research and epidemiological studies, including the NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN), Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, and The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study. She also helped to design and implement the RDCRN Contact Registry for over 150 rare diseases and supports various patient and disease advocacy organizations to develop patient registries for a number of other conditions. Dr. Richesson served as co-chair the RDCRN Standards and Registry Committees, and has interacted with a number standards development organizations to represent the clinical research perspective. As part of her original informatics research, she has implemented and evaluated specific standardized coding systems (e.g., SNOMED CT, RxNorm and NDF-RT) in research settings and explored the coverage of these coding systems for various research projects. Further, she works with a number of multi-disciplinary teams to demonstrate how these and other data standards can be used to facilitate the analysis of large data sets to answer important population health questions.
Dr. Richesson currently leads the Phenotype & Data Quality Core for the NIH Health Systems Research Collaboratory, which is developing standards and quality metrics for clinical phenotyping using EHR data in pragmatic clinical trials. As part of the PCORnet Coordinating Center, she participated in developing and promoting standardized approaches for cohort identification using EHRs, including the development of “gold standard” definitions and measuring the predictive value of EHR query algorithms. She also co-led the PCORnet Rare Diseases Task Force with Dr. Priya Kishnani (Duke School of Medicine).
Dr. Richesson is the PI of NLM-funded research to develop a decision support readiness assessment model using specific data requirements for a number of clinical guidelines recommended for emergency medicine, and a co-investigator on a study aiming to improve patient outcomes for individuals with sickle cell diseases that includes the use of a national registry. She has served on a number of leadership roles at the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), including the Publications Task Force and the Clinical Research Informatics Working Group. She was Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 2014 Clinical Research Informatics Summit, and is on the planning committee for the 2016 AMIA Policy Invitational Summit and the American College of Informatics annual meeting in 2017. Currently, Dr. Richesson is co-chair of the AMIA HIT Standards Advisory Group with Dr. Christopher Chute (Johns Hopkins University).
In her role as Associate Director of Research for DCHI, Dr. Richesson will help promote biomedical informatics research at Duke by collaborating with DCHI on its interdisciplinary approach for education and research designed to bring together informaticians, physicians, nurses, and health care administrators with expertise in aggregation, analysis, and use of informatics to improve human health.