Richesson Appointed DCHI Associate Director of Research

Richesson Appointed DCHI Associate Director of Research

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.

NEW Master’s (MS) Degree in Interdisciplinary Data Science (MIDS)

The Duke University Board of Trustees has approved a new MS Degree in Interdisciplinary Data Science for the Fall 2018.  Co-hosted by the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), the program will be train students from a variety of disciplines to be data scientists who are proficient in the management, security and communications of data as well as team-based sciences.  For more information, visit the Duke Today article.

Hammond Honored with Endowed Chair

“Building Bridges” is an apt term to describe the gift William Stead, MD and his wife, Janet, have recently made to endow a professorship at the Duke University School of Medicine to honor W. Ed Hammond, PhD, Professor of Community and Family Medicine and Director of the Duke Center for Health Informatics. The endowment is focused on “advancing knowledge by bridging disciplines.”  Dr. Stead, the chief strategy officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a former Durham native, Duke Alumni and physician has been a colleague and friend of Dr. Hammond for forty years.  Together Drs. Hammond and Stead were integral in the creation of the field we now know of as Biomedical Informatics.

Tenenbaum Selected as New Fellow of American College of Medical Informatics

staff with the Duke Translational Research Institute pose for a group photo and some individual portraits

Jessica Tenenbaum, PhD(link is external),  Assistant Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, will be inducted into the American College of Medical Informatics on Nov. 13, 2016. She is one of 23 new fellows elected by peers this year.

ACMI is a professional society of elected Fellows from the United States and abroad who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics and who have met rigorous scholarly scrutiny by their peers. Incorporated in 1984, ACMI dissolved its separate corporate status to merge with the American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics (AAMSI) and the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (SCAMC) when AMIA was formed in 1989. The College now exists as an entity within AMIA, with its own bylaws and regulations.

The College originated in 1984 when five pioneers in informatics, including Ed Hammond, MD, director of the Duke Center for Informatics, decided to establish an honorific society to recognize expertise in biomedical Informatics. Today, there are nearly 300 Fellows.

Informatics Research Seminar: Data Integration Framework for the Identification of Complex Disease Subtypes

November 2 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Speaker: ClarLynda Williams-DeVane
Presented from NCCU

Broadcast Link: Seminar



The focus of this seminar is on the use of computational systems and analytics in research, specifically how research can impact and change health care and knowledge of disease. The journey from data science research to applied health sciences can be complex. Methods to capture data in the laboratory setting for future data integration and how multiple domains of data (algorithm development, modification, and application) concerning health are aggregated will be discussed.



ClarLynda Williams-DeVane, PhD, completed her doctorate in bioinformatics at NC State University. She is an assistant professor of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and also directs the Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Computational Chemistry Core at NCCU. Appointed a BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s health) scholar at NCCU/Duke University, Dr. Williams-DeVane is focusing her research on women’s health.  She is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a Translational Systems Science for Disparate Cancer Research (TSSCDCR) system for the capture of Breast Cancer and Melanoma Data in Genetically Engineered Murine Models (or Mouse Phase 1 Unit).


Informatics Research Seminar: Looking Beyond Patient Portals: Patient Engagement via an Online Breast Cancer Survivorship Tool

October 19 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Akshat Kapoor, PhD
Presented from ECU

Broadcast Link: Seminar



The presentation will discuss alternative means of engaging and empowering patients using personalized e-health apps. The design, development and the usability and acceptance evaluation of an online breast cancer survivorship app will be presented. In addition, the potential value and benefits of integrating patient reported outcomes and quality of life measures with an online, interactive breast cancer survivorship care plan will be discussed.

Speaker Bio

Akshat Kapoor, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Services and Information Management at East Carolina University. Prior to earning his PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he received an M.S. in Bioinformatics from Marquette University, His research focuses on improving patient engagement via use of innovative technologies, such as apps, social media, and interactive educational resources, to aid patients in the self-management of their medical conditions. His research emphasizes how healthcare organizations can innovate and effectively engage patients and communities in playing an active role in their own health.

Informatics Research Seminar: Fixing the “Garbage In” Dilemma Through Transformation of Clinical Workflows (aka Structured Reporting)

October 5 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: James Tcheng, MD
Presented from Duke University

Broadcast Link: Seminar




There is a longstanding tradition in medicine that values verbose, prosaic documentation of clinical encounters, which is more often than not imprecise and incomplete, particularly from the perspective of computation. This hampers the ability to use the information in performance assessment, clinical decision support, metrics reporting, and other data-requiring analyses. Cardiology procedures are particularly data intensive. The potential for data in key cardiology procedures in addition to the standard documentation parameters requires tens of thousands of data elements. From an analytics perspective, the many sources of data are key for understanding both individual and population health outcomes while improving institutional and operational efficiency.

A formatted report generated via a structured reporting process accomplishes the goal of capturing clinical information as data, but structured reporting is only slowly being adopted despite prior recommendations and endorsements. This presentation will describe the structured reporting paradigm and identify the stakeholders (and their respective roles) that must contribute to successfully adapt structured reporting in health care.

Speaker Bio

James E. Tcheng, MD, is a Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Community and Family Medicine (in Informatics) at Duke University. He is a practicing interventional cardiologist and is faculty in the Duke Center for Health Informatics, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the FDA-sponsored Medical Device Epidemiology Network (MDEpiNet) Coordinating Center. He serves as Director of the Duke Cardiovascular Databank, is Chair of the Informatics and Health IT Task Force of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and is a member of the ACC/AHA Task Force on Clinical Data Standards. His current work focuses on harmonizing the informatics of clinical and operational definitions for cardiovascular concepts across academia, FDA, the life sciences industry, professional societies, and standards organizations, to improve the capture, communication, interoperability, and analysis of healthcare information.

Informatics Research Seminar: Building a Novel Population Health Analytics Strategy for Mecklenburg County

October 26 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Mike Dulin, MD, PhD
Presented from UNC-C

Broadcast Link: Seminar




That Analytics needs to support initiatives in Public and Population Health are rapidly emerging given exponential growth of health data and related technology. This talk will cover the framework being used in Mecklenburg County, NC to use data visualization to support strategy development and to implement tactical changes in the delivery of care.

Speaker Bio

Michael Dulin, MD, PhD is currently the Director of the Academy of Population Health Innovation at UNC Charlotte-a collaborative designed to advance community and population health. In addition, he is a Professor within the Carolinas Healthcare System’s Department of Family Medicine; Director of a primary care practice-based research network (MAPPR), and serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Tresata Health.

Dulin started his career as an Electrical Engineer and Biomedical Engineer and then received his PhD in Neurophysiology. After medical school, Dulin started his clinical career as a primary care physician. He has held a number of leadership positions including the Director of Research and Chair within the CMC Department of Family Medicine. He helped develop the population health management framework that was instrumental in achieving top decline performance in chronic disease management for over 150 primary care practices. Prior to moving into his current roles, Dulin helped to design and implement a centralized analytics team (The Dickson Advance Analytics Group, DA2) for one of the largest government non-profit healthcare systems in the country. Dulin’s work to build DA2 was highlighted by a Harvard Business School case study published in 2015.

Dr. Dulin is a nationally recognized leader in the field of health information technology and application of analytics and outcomes research to improve care delivery and advance population health. He has led projects in this domain funded by AHRQ, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Duke Endowment, and NIH. His work has been recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal, NCHICA and The Cerner Corporation. He has been an invited speaker in over 30 national meetings including HIMSS Big Data & Analytics and the American College of Healthcare Executives as well as being featured in the press by Wired Magazine, Frontiers Magazine, Fierce Health, and Harvard Business Review.