Assuming the Presidency of the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics

William Hersh, MD, Professor and Chair, OHSU
Blog: Informatics Professor
Twitter: @williamhersh

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my work in biomedical and health informatics is the opportunity to interact with colleagues from around the world. As I wrote early on in the history of this blog, informatics is a field of global truths. Countries may have different healthcare systems and different resources for information technology, but informatics is driven across the planet by the goal of using information and data to improve all aspects of health and healthcare. Those of us in the academic portion of the field are also driven by research to push the boundaries of what can be done and by education to disseminate knowledge to current and future practitioners, researchers, and leaders in the field.

It is from this perspective that I am gratified to have been elected President of the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics, or the Academy for short. I am assuming this role from my esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Reinhold Haux, who has served as the Inaugural President of the organization. My main disappointment in starting my role is that I will need to do so virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I would much prefer to have been in attendance with my friends and colleagues from around the world at the Plenary session of the Academy this weekend in Hamamtsu, Japan.

The Academy was established in 2017 by the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). As noted on its Web site, the Academy “serves as an honor society that recognizes expertise in biomedical and health informatics internationally. Academy Membership is one of the highest honors in the international field of biomedical and health informatics. The Academy will serve as an international forum for peers in biomedical and health informatics. The Academy will play an important role in exchanging knowledge, providing education and training, and producing policy documents, e.g., recommendations and position statements.” With the recent election of the Class of 2020, there are now 179 fellows from around the world, diverse in their gender, ethnicity, and nationality.

I have had the pleasure of participating in almost all of the plenary sessions of the Academy so far. I am also guided by the vision for the Academy as published by Dr. Haux as well as the strategic focus document by the initial Board that was recently published. I will draw on the latter document as a launching point activities of the fellows. My guiding principles will be to organize working groups accountable to the larger Academy and to be collaborative and non-duplicative with other informatics organizations and efforts. I look forward to this exciting two-year journey.

This article post first appeared on The Informatics Professor. Dr. Hersh is a frequent contributing expert to HealthIT Answers.