Read the May 2023 issue of the DBMI Digest.
Read the May 2023 issue of the DBMI Digest.

A Letter from the Director of the Center of Excellence in Applied AI 

Dear DBMI,

First, I offer a big CONGRATULATIONS to the DBMI students who are graduating in all our programs this month!
Speaking for the faculty, I’d like to say that we are very, very proud of you and your hard work. Now more than ever, healthcare and society need people who are trained in biomedical informatics to make sense of and act on the opportunities (and threats) introduced by new technologies. We will always be a home for you – please stay in touch with us!
Thank you to all who attended Nancy Lorenzi’s retirement event or sent her a message. She is not only a longstanding pillar in our department, but also a true icon in the field of biomedical informatics. She was one of the early pioneers in our field, and she delivered some hard truths to her physician and computational contemporaries about how their technology products would be received in organizational settings.
At her retirement party on May 10, she spoke about how difficult it was to advocate for a focus on organizational change in that era. It now seems silly to think that there would be resistance to organizational features as critical informatics topics.
My questions for you are: "What are the hard truths we need to face now?" "What are the 'elephants in the room' that in 30 years will seem so obvious as we look back?" I’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions in the Breakroom on DBMI Teams!

Best wishes to everyone for a fantastic summer!
— Laurie Novak, PhD, MHSA, FAMIA
Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Director, Center of Excellence in Applied AI
Pictured: Laurie Novak, Nancy Lorenzi (gift in hand) and Kim Unertl at Nancy's Retirement Party, May 10.

Table of Contents

  1. Admin Updates & Reminders
  2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  3. Faculty News 
  4. Education
  5. DBMI Spotlight: Jennifer Martellotti
  6. MyVUMC
  7. Funding Opportunities
  8. Upcoming Events

Admin Updates & Reminders

REMINDER: Reporting PTO in Workday

REMINDER: Exempt staff should no longer use Kronos to report PTO at the end of each month. This is now reported in Workday (prior to taking the time off). Employees can log into Workday here: (
  • Here is the associated Learning Exchange module: WDHR 201 Workday Time Off 
  • If you have questions, post in our DBMI Workday Teams Group or email Jennifer Martellotti at

Conference Poster Templates

For those of you attending conferences and presenting posters, the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC) team created a poster template on their Confluence page. We highly recommend checking this out! 
NOTE: You have to be on the VPN or on the network at VUMC to access.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

VIDEO: AAPI Pioneers in Medicine Panel (May 10)

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. VUMC's HAAPI (Healthcare Alliance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Employee Resource Group hosted a panel event, “AAPI Pioneers in Medicine at VUMC” on May 10 that featured a few of our influential AAPI healthcare leaders. Speakers include our colleagues: Sunil Kripalani (moderator), Ben Ho Park (VICC), Wei Zheng (Epidemiology), Danxia Yu (Epidemiology) and Stephen Kim (VEI).

Faculty News

Happy Retirement to Nancy Lorenzi!

Paul Harris & Alex Cheng Part of VUMC Group Coordinating National Effort to Reduce ARDS, Pneumonia & Sepsis

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received a six-year, $31.6 million federal grant to lead a national effort to better understand acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia and sepsis, which together kill hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year.

Grant HL168478 is jointly funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant will support the Vanderbilt Coordinating Center for the NHLBI/NIGMS ARDS, Pneumonia and Sepsis (APS) Phenotyping Consortium. The center will operate out of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR).
Paul Harris, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, and Alex Cheng, Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, who will lead the bioinformatics work. Click to read more!


VBISP 2023 Students Begin End of May!

This year's Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics Summer Program (VBISP) will begin on May 30. We will welcome 15 VBISP students to DBMI, including three high school students11 undergraduate students, and one graduate student. Final presentations for the summer will be on July 31August 1, and August 2 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, and all of DBMI is welcome to attend these presentations in person or virtually!
Our new NLM R25 collaboration is with Fisk University and Meharry Medical College. VBISP will include one graduate student in biomedical data science from Meharry and two undergrads from Fisk this summer, and we’re coordinating several other summer program activities with Fisk and Meharry colleagues. If you'd like to know more, email and

Paul Harris & Qingxia "Cindy" Chen Instructing "Introduction to the All of Us Research Program" Course for the 2023 CQS Summer Institute (July 2023)

The 2023 Center for Quantitative Sciences (CQS) Summer Institute will be held in person on the VUMC campus at 2525 West End Avenue.bThese great weeklong courses will sharpen your quantitative research skills and deepen your understanding of biostatistics and bioinformatics. Participants are highly encouraged to enroll in multiple courses. Food and parking included with registration. More info here.
The "Intro to the All of Us Research Program" course (July 17-21) will offer participants (1) an overview of the Researcher Workbench and its built-in tools, (2) guidance on how to identify and extract variables, and (3) demonstrations of and practice in analyzing different types of data using Workbench. See the course plan for more about what to expect. Space is limited to 30 participants.
  • Register for this course at Eventbrite 
  • Early registration discount pricing: $360 for VU/VUMC students, trainees, and postdocs; $560 for VU/VUMC faculty and staff; $760 regular tuition

DBMI Spotlight: Jennifer Martellotti

Each month, we will feature one of our DBMI faculty, staff, students, trainees or alumni. If you or someone you know is new to the department, has an interesting backstory, or is making an impact at work or in their personal lives, email Mia Garchitorena at!  
Jennifer Martellotti joined DBMI in July 2022 as our newest HR Program Manager. She works alongside Elizabeth Brown on numerous and important HR/admin-related tasks and initiatives. Most notably, she's been a tremendous source of help for DBMI during the Workday launch! 
Prior to moving to Nashville, she lived in downtown Chicago and worked as a Senior Clinical & Academic Administrator at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Before that, Director of Philanthropy at WGIRLS Chicago and Medical Office Manager at The Geldner Center in Chicago. She received her BA in Business Administration and Management at the Columbia College of Chicago and her Master of Laws from the Texas A&M University School of Law. 
Below, she shares her story:
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Madrid, Spain making me a dual citizen. I lived in Cincinnati before moving to Geneva, a suburb of Chicago. Prior to moving to Nashville, I called the West Loop of downtown Chicago home.
Pictured: Young Jennifer dressed in a Spanish dress, Jennifer with her siblings, Jennifer bundled up in the Swiss Alps with her Mom and sister. 
What subjects were you interested in school?

I've always enjoyed academia and still find ways to challenge myself through professional development and educational opportunities. If I could, I would opt to be professional student. Currently exploring doctorate programs. If I had to choose, I'd say I was most drawn to English, philosophy, and science courses growing up. 
Pictured (left to right): Jennifer's Dad, who inspired her to pursue a career in health care. Jennifer with her Dad and Grandpa.
You worked in law with a focus in health, policy, compliance and risk management as well as real estate in downtown Chicago prior to working in health care. What inspired you to pivot to health care?
Health care continued to find me during me young adult life. First, when I lost my dad at the age of sixteen to an undetected congenital heart defect. And next, when I became a caregiver for my grandparents in my early 20s. Through these experiences, I became passionate for patient care, early detection, compliance, protocols, patient advocacy, and risk management. I always thought I would pursue a career in law; however, this redirected my interest to focus on the laws and policies within health care.
Pictured: Jennifer Martellotti, Sotheby's International Realty (June 2015-Feb 2021)
How did you come to hear about DBMI? What inspired you to come to Nashville/DBMI?
Having completed my MLS with an emphasis in Health Law, Policy, and Management, I was looking for new opportunities to challenge me as well as a new city to welcome me. And having family in the Nashville area made the decision to move easier.
Before coming to VUMC, I worked at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago as both a clinical and academic research administrator and found that research administration better aligned with my interests and skills, which led me to look for jobs within DBMI.
Pictured: Jennifer with her mother, siblings and niece in Nash.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging part of your position in DBMI?
The people I've been able to provide guidance and support to has been the most rewarding part of my position thus far. Likewise, I enjoy that each day presents new challenges and opportunities, no two days are the same. I have enjoyed the opportunity for professional and personal growth, even in my short time here so far. And I have felt welcomed from leadership on down. Moving to a new city and starting a new job was both an exciting and overwhelming adventure last summer. I am happy to report that it has been a rewarding experience so far.
Tell us about your bernedoodle!

McGuire – name meaning "son of the brown haired one". He is my 2nd bernedoodle (a Bernese poodle mix) from a small town outside of Toronto, ON. And yes, I road tripped to pick him up. I grew up with Bernese Mountain Dogs and having always loved the breed. Our first Bernese came from our time living in Europe during a trip to Bern, Switzerland. It would be rare to see me on the weekends without McGuire. He is my true partner in crime.
What are your favorite books/podcasts/shows right now?
I am in what I call my bibliotherapy era. Most recently I have read: Commonwealth; The Unexpected Spy; These Precious Days; Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make it Home; My What If Year; Book Lovers; The Stories We Tell; Lessons in Chemistry; Collective Wisdom; to name a few.  
You’re a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado. Any favorite coffee brands or tips on what makes the best coffee?

I typically like to keep it simple: black coffee with cinnamon. Local recommendations: The Well, 8th & Roast, Fido, Frothy Monkey, Onyx & Alabaster, Southerner’s Coffee. 
Other facts about you?
I am very involved in philanthropy, having served on the board of directors and advisory boards of four charities: WGirls, the Brent Sopel Foundation, Rosecrance, and Chicagoland Cardiac Connections.

Workplace Violence Policies Apply to All Employees, Patients

Aggressive behavior toward health care providers is on the rise nationally, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center is reminding employees and patients there is zero tolerance for workplace violence.

The VUMC Workplace Violence Prevention Committee has recently developed stronger policies to help protect employees. The effort is strongly supported by VUMC’s senior leadership. The committee wants to equip all employees with tools to prevent, respond to and report incidents of workplace violence. Updated information is now available at Click to read more.

Funding News & Opportunities

REMINDER: Contact Terri DeMumbrum When Considering a Grant Submission

All grant proposals require approval of the Office of Sponsored Programs prior to submission. Terri will review the opportunity announcement and prepare a submission timeline/checklist as well as help with the submission. Email her at
NIH Funding Opportunities & Notices. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers funding for many types of grants, contracts and even programs that help repay loans for researchers. To view current funding opportunities, visit here

Update Your DBMI Bio Page

REMINDER: Please review your DBMI bio page and notify us of any changes. Updates can include:
  • New headshot
  • Updated degrees, professional titles
  • Updated bio information
  • Adding Google Scholar, PubMed, LinkedIn URLs
Email Mia Garchitorena ( and Wil Comstock (

Upcoming Events

Visit here for more details on upcoming summer events and previously recorded DBMI seminars.
Suggestions? Email