Columbia University’s Hripcsak Wins Morris F. Collen Award

The American College of Medical Informatics will present the 2022 Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence to George Hripcsak, M.D., M.S., Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University.

ACMI is a college of elected fellows who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of biomedical informatics. The organization noted that Hripcsak has made significant contributions in multiple areas in informatics, including the creation of clinical systems, the use of automated decision support to improve care, computational techniques that characterize and make use of electronic health record data for phenotyping, the evaluation of natural language processing, incorporation of techniques from physics into informatics, the creation of observational databases that facilitate discovery of knowledge from data, and the advancement of electronic records adoption. 

Given in honor of Morris F. Collen, M.D., a longtime Kaiser Permanente physician executive and a thought leader in the field of medical informatics, this award is presented to an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting impression on the field. The award is determined by ACMI’s Awards Committee.

The award will be presented during the opening session of the American Medical Informatics Association 2022 Annual Symposium held November 5-9 in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, ACMI President Genevieve Melton-Meaux, M.D., Ph.D., praised Hripcsak’s work. “ACMI is pleased to recognize Dr. Hripcsak for his substantial accomplishments to the field of biomedical informatics,” said Melton-Meaux, who is a professor of surgery and health informatics and director of the Center for Learning Health System Sciences, University of Minnesota and chief analytics and care innovation officer, Fairview Health Services. “Dr. Hripcsak’s contributions have stretched around the globe and his collaboration with those both inside and outside of our field has expanded the reach and impact of informatics. As a mentor, Dr. Hripcsak reminds his peers to ‘Do good work.’ I am grateful for the guidance and mentorship he has provided to me and many others in biomedical informatics.”

Hripcsak has been chair of biomedical informatics at Columbia, one of the country’s strongest National Library of Medicine-funded informatics programs, since 2007. The program has approximately 50 Ph.D. and master’s students, and many of his past students are now directing research labs, centers, and departments nationally and internationally. 

He has led the charge in promoting open, collaborative tools for clinical knowledge sharing, via the development of the Arden Syntax, and for scientific discovery, through the creation of the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics Initiative (OHDSI). His success in creating and promoting these open, collaborative tools has enabled countless informatics professionals, scientists, health IT vendors, and healthcare systems to participate in collaborative knowledge sharing and discovery, ACMI said.

The Arden Syntax was conceived in the late 1980s by an inter-institutional group of researchers that included Hripcsak. His early implementation of Arden Syntax at Columbia—and demonstrations of knowledge sharing with other institutions—showed the syntax’s potential. The early results helped propel Arden into becoming an ASTM standard in 1992. In the late 1990s, the Arden Syntax was integrated into HL7 and approved by ANSI, which has been coordinating its development ever since. 

Most recently, Hripcsak co-created OHDSI in 2013 with the goal of producing a suite of open-source applications and standards that move the field closer to the goal of generating reliable evidence about all aspects of healthcare. OHDSI started with a few dozen members. In a few short years, participation ballooned with 3,000 collaborators, and regional OHDSI chapters now exist in China, Europe, Australia, Japan, South Korea and India. During the COVID-19 pandemic, OHDSI provided evidence for vaccine safety and efficacy in Europe and the U.S., and OHDSI has produced substantial evidence in hypertension treatment.

He was elected to fellowship in ACMI in 1995, and to membership in the National Academy of Medicine. He previously served as a member of the AMIA board of directors and several AMIA committees. He was honored by AMIA with the William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics in 2018.

 

 

 

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