December 15, 2011

Message from the Vice Chancellor: New chair named for the Department of Biomedical Informatics

Dear Colleagues,
It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I announce Kevin B. Johnson, M.D., M.S., vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), as the department’s new chair. His appointment is effective Jan. 1.

Dr. Johnson, who also holds the title of professor of Pediatrics, has been the DBMI vice chair since joining Vanderbilt in 2002. During Kevin’s tenure, his accomplishments and contributions to our success have been numerous and broad-based. His expertise and leadership span our organization’s missions to include the development and implementation of new informatics tools now benefiting our patients, scholarly research and administrative programmatic growth.

Already, Kevin has been essential to the development and implementation of important clinical tools widely used every day in our hospitals and clinics, such as RXStar, our e-prescription platform, medication reminders and numerous other advancements that have improved our delivery of care and capacity for research.

Vanderbilt’s DBMI is currently home to more than 70 faculty, making this department the nation’s largest, most exciting and prolific within academia. The DBMI collaborates effectively across our institution with our clinical and basic sciences faculty and staff to develop and implement amazing advancements in information technology that have helped position Vanderbilt on the world stage.

As the new chair for the DBMI, Kevin will be responsible for a department essential to our core missions, and one that holds great promise to be a key catalyst as we bring exciting new discoveries to our hospitals, clinics and laboratories all while advancing the delivery of health care on the national and international stages.

Kevin graduated in 1983 from Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pa., and is a 1987 graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He underwent post-graduate training at Johns Hopkins and Stanford University School of Medicine, earning an M.S. in medical informatics. He remained on the faculty at Johns Hopkins for 10 years before joining Vanderbilt.

Kevin’s appointment comes as the result of an extensive national search for the very best and brightest within the field of biomedical informatics. The search committee was chaired by Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Pietenpol and other members of the search committee: Robert Dittus, M.D., MPH, associate vice chancellor for Public Health and Health Care and senior associate dean for Population Health Sciences; John Gore, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science; Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education; William Pao, M.D., director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology; David Piston, Ph.D., Louise B. McGavock professor; Dan Roden, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Personalized Medicine; Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; and Mary Zutter, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Integrative Diagnostics.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the DBMI is poised for significant programmatic growth. I have the greatest confidence that as our new chair he will guide Vanderbilt to propel the next phase of world leadership in biomedical informatics.

Please join me as I welcome him into this new role.

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine