The March 2024 issue of the DBMI Digest is now available!
The March 2024 issue of the DBMI Digest is now available!

New ADVANCE Center Focused on Advancing Health AI at VUMC

On Friday, March 8, 2024, the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) launched its groundbreaking center for health Artificial Intelligence (AI) – "ADVANCE" (AI Discovery and Vigilance to Accelerate Innovation and Clinical Excellence). The ADVANCE Center represents a pivotal milestone in the evolution of innovations at the intersection of health care, biomedicine and informatics, aiming to transform patient care, research and training through the power of cutting-edge, proven and trustworthy AI.

Co-directed by Peter Embí, MD, MS, and Bradley Malin, PhD, in DBMI, ADVANCE leverages state-of-the-art AI technologies and expertise to drive innovation and excellence in research and health care. Through advanced data analytics, machine learning, predictive modeling and generative AI capabilities, ADVANCE will empower health care professionals, scientists and patients to make informed decisions, accelerate biomedical discoveries and improve clinical outcomes.
Read more about ADVANCE in the VUMC Reporter here:

RECAP: ADVANCE Center Launch at Langford Auditorium (March 8)

In case you missed the event, a recording will be made available soon!
Please enjoy some event photos! Thank you to all who attended in-person and online.
Thank you to our moderators!
Jeff Carr (AI Research), Michael Matheny (AI in Clinical Practice), Laurie Novak (AI Ethics & Equity)
Thank you to our speakers!
Bennett Landman (VU Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer Science)
Amir Asiaee (VUMC Biostats)
Sharon Davis

Dara Mize (CMIO)
Jeff Upperman (VUMC Pediatric Surgical Services)
Dan Brown (VUMC Radiology)

Ellen Clayton, Martin Were,
Susannah Rose

A Message from VUMC's African American Employee Resource Group

March is an exciting month, with many important events and celebrations, including Women's History Month, International Women's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and the start of spring.
Women's History Month which is celebrated annually in March to recognize and honor the contributions of women throughout history. The celebration began in the United States in 1981, when Congress declared a week in March as National Women's History Week. In 1987, the week was expanded to the entire month of March. Women's History Month recognizes the achievements of women in various fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), politics, sports, arts, and literature. It highlights the impact of women in shaping society and encourages the continued pursuit of gender equality.

Women's History Month provides an opportunity to learn about the struggles and triumphs of women who have made significant contributions to society and to inspire future generations of women to achieve their dreams. Let us celebrate Women's History Month with a renewed commitment to advancing the rights and opportunities of women and to creating a world where everyone is valued and respected, regardless of gender. See some upcoming events celebrating Women's History Month below!

Women's History Month Events

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2024: "How to Build Money & Career Success" Fidelity Webinar with VIOLA DAVIS
Going after your money and career goals? We’ve got ways to help you get started and we’re breaking it all down during our free event, How to Build Money & Career Success, on Thursday, March 21 at 12 pm CT. Join Fidelity’s Women Talk Money team and award-winning actress and producer Viola Davis, as we talk steps for creating a money and career game plan and share ways to advocate for your worth in the workplace. Register here.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2024: Women’s History Month Panel Discussion and Storytelling (A VUMC Employee Resource Group Collaboration)

Please join this virtual panel discussion and storytelling event to celebrate Women’s History month. This event will include women from several of VUMC’s ERGs speaking and sharing their personal stories about how women can continue to thrive and grow in the workplace. Wednesday, March 27 from 12-1pm CT on Microsoft Teams. A registration link will be sent prior to the event. 

Table of Contents

  1. ADVANCE Center Launch Recap
  2. Celebrating Women's History 2024
  3. Grand Rounds 2024
  4. HR & Admin Updates
  5. VUMC Honors & Accolades
  6. DBMI Spotlight: Susannah Rose
  7. Open Positions & Upcoming Events

DBMI Grand Rounds Spring 2024

Our next DBMI Grand Rounds features our own Jessica Ancker, who will discuss "Evaluations of Telehealth in Primary Care during the COVID Public Health Emergency" on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 from 12-1 pm CT. Contact with questions. 
On March 6, former DBMI member Lindsey Knake presented the DBMI/VCLIC Grand Rounds "A Guide to Exploring Epic’s Cosmos Universe: Insights from Studying Tiny Babies". She enjoyed some quality time with her DBMI colleagues. Great to see you, Lindsey!
REMINDER: The DBMI Grand Rounds for Spring 2024 take place every Wednesday from 12-1PM CT in 2525 West End Avenue, Room 8110 (unless otherwise noted). Microsoft Teams links are available for remote attendees. Please see the DBMI Events Page for the most up-to-date information on upcoming speakers and topics:
NOTE: Formal invites for each talk are sent out via Outlook closer to the event date. Contact and with questions and/or feedback.
Grand Rounds Spring Series: January 24 – April 24, 2024
Lunch provided first-come, first-served
CME available

HR & Admin Updates

Nominations for 2024 VUMC Administrative Professionals Award

Due TODAY, March 18

The VUMC Administrative Professionals Award is presented each year typically during national Administrative Professionals Week and highlights the contribution of the Medical Center’s administrative professionals.

Any VUMC employee can nominate an admin professional for the 2024 award. Click here for more information about the award, to see the criteria and for a link to the nomination form. The deadline for nominations is Monday, March 18.

Celebrate Rischelle Jenkins' 40th VU/VUMC Work Anniversary!

Our beloved Rischelle Jenkins, Program Manager for the DBMI MS/PhD Program, will be celebrating 40 years at Vanderbilt University on April 16!
Please join us in celebrating Rischelle following our DBMI All-Hands Meeting on April 25, 2024. A reception will be held in the Centennial Perk Breakroom on the 8th floor of 2525 West End Ave. from 1-2pm CT. Catering/light snacks will be provided.
Please contact and if you have questions.

Kelly Hammonds Got Engaged!

Kelly Hammonds and Justin Collins, her boyfriend of five years, got engaged on March 14, 2024, at the beautiful Pensacola Beach in Florida. Congrats!! 

DBMI Honors & Accolades

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Top 10 in NIH Funding—Thanks to DBMI & Biostatistics!

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranked 10th in the nation in total research grant support provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2023, according to figures compiled by the nonprofit Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.
VUSM, which received $527.7 million in direct and indirect NIH grant support in FY23, has been among the top 10 U.S. medical schools in NIH funding for six of the last 10 years. The school’s clinical, research and teaching missions are provided largely through its affiliated, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

While the Blue Ridge Institute did not rank departments of biostatistics or informatics, the contributions of VUMC’s Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics were crucial to the Department of Medicine achieving its top ranking. Read more in the VUMC Reporter!

GE HealthCare & Vanderbilt Publish Data on AI Models Predicting Patient Response to Immunotherapy

The results from a research partnership between GE HealthCare and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to enable safer and more precise cancer immunotherapies show that the models they developed predict patient responses with 70% to 80% accuracy.

The study was published March 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Clinical Cancer Informatics. To the authors’ knowledge, this approach is the first attempt to design AI models capable of assessing the risks and benefits of immunotherapy using only routinely collected electronic health record data. Read more in the VUMC Reporter here.
A primary advantage of the models used in the study is that inputs are readily available in patients’ medical records, such as diagnosis codes and medication. Only two features — smoking status and number of prior immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs — were drawn from manually collected data. These additional features are easily obtainable by clinicians and could be readily entered into the model.

“We focused primarily on this routinely collected structured data to build predictive models with the goal that these models would be able to be implemented in any clinical setting,” said Travis Osterman.
Other Vanderbilt authors on the study are Kathleen Mittendorf, Michele LeNoue-Newton, Protiva Rahman, Cheng Ye, Neha Jain, Marilyn Holt, Douglas Johnson, Ben Ho Park, Christine Micheel, and Daniel Fabbri.

VUMC Joins New Consortium of Health Care Leaders in Formation of Trustworthy & Responsible AI Network (Train)

New Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities have the potential to transform the healthcare industry by enabling better outcomes, improving efficiency and productivity, and reducing costs.

At the HIMSS 2024 Global Health Conference, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and other leading academic medical centers joined as Microsoft announced the formation of a new consortium, the Trustworthy & Responsible AI Network (TRAIN).

TRAIN serves as one of the first health AI networks aimed at operationalizing responsible AI principles to improve the quality, safety, and trustworthiness of AI in health. Additionally, the network is collaborating with OCHIN, which serves a national network of community health organizations with solutions, expertise, clinical insights, and tailored technologies, to help ensure that every organization, regardless of resources, has access to the benefits TRAIN offers. Read more in the VUMC Reporter here

Trent Rosenbloom to Chair Scientific Review Committee at National Library of Medicine

Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, professor of Biomedical Informatics, Medicine, and Pediatrics, on July 1 will begin a one-year term as chair of the Biomedical Informatics, Library and Data Sciences Review Committee of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
“It’s been an honor to represent Vanderbilt and to serve the field of biomedical informatics in the scientific review process at NLM, and I look forward to this expanded role on the committee,” Rosenbloom said. Read more in the VUMC Reporter here!

Siru Liu Discusses K99/R00 Project with NLM!

Siru Liu Discusses K99/R00 Project with NLM
Congrats to Siru Liu on being featured by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for her K99/R00 project "Using Explainable AI to Improve Clinical Decision Support (CDS)"!

Dr. Liu has been working at the intersection of CDS and machinelearning. Her research has already improved the quality of care at VUMC, and she’s also made important basic discoveries in both informatics and artificial intelligence. As a #postdoc and now faculty member, Dr. Liu has made a name for herself as "2023 Postdoc of the Year at Vanderbilt University", 2023 STAT Wunderkind, 2022 Google Cloud Research Innovator and more. WATCH HERE:
More DBMI News:

DBMI Spotlight: Susannah Rose

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!  
For Women's History Month, we're profiling one of our new faculty members, Susannah Rose, PhD, MSSW.
She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and is Core Faculty in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at VUMC and VU. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Health Policy and is a Faculty Scholar in the Center for Health Services Research. Prior to VUMC/VU, she was a Full Professional Staff (faculty) member at Cleveland Clinic, and she served in many leadership roles, including as the Director of Research for the Center of Bioethics, the Director of Research for Safety, Quality and Patient Experience, and the Associate Chief Experience Officer. Her current research focuses upon the ethics and impact of medical technology innovations, improving patient experience, and developing data-driven approaches to improve patient care. 
Regarding Women's History Month, Susannah Rose said the following:
As a woman who has benefited from the fight for equality, Women's History Month holds a special significance. It's a chance to celebrate the women in my life, past and present, who have shaped me and countless others. It also serves as a call to action, reminding all of us to support women-led initiatives and to work towards a future where all women's voices are equally heard. 
Read her story below:
Where did you grow up? What memories from growing up stand out to you?
I grew up in rural Ohio, the daughter of academics, and I have family roots in Kentucky. I have fond memories of my parents hosting visiting scholars and artists from all over the world – my father was a poet and English professor, so our house was filled with vibrant discussions of philosophy, the arts, new films and books, mathematics, and so much more. 

Tell us about your family. What did your parents/guardians/siblings do for work?
Almost my entire family – parents, aunts, uncles – are academics, either at the university level, or in high-school public education. My siblings went a different route – one of them was a social worker, another is a stay-at-home father, and my sister is a successful business leader. My maternal grandparents were raised in rural KY, with strong Appalachian heritage, and moved to Ohio as young adults in order for my grandfather to work in a factory, after serving in WWII. In fact, both of my grandfathers served in that war, and my father in the Korean War, and those experiences have had a lasting impact on our family. My grandmothers were leaders of the family, also working and as homemakers. All of these family members are strong role models for me – they taught me about hard work, creativity, resilience and the importance of relationships.

What subjects were you interested in as a kid? Did you have an early idea that you wanted to pursue STEM?
I have always had an interest in combining the arts, humanities and science – I was a psychology and philosophy major as an undergraduate at Furman University in South Carolina, and I conducted research related to honeybees’ memories, and on prospective memory formation. I was also known to host student debates on bioethics topics, such as animal rights in neuropsychology research and the ethics of cognitive enhancement.
Where did you go to college/grad school etc.? What made you choose your degrees?
I was interested in philosophy and psychology at a young age – in fact, I started reading philosophy around age 13. I was a Philosophy and Psychology double-major in college at Furman University. Because I wanted to practice as a psychotherapist, I then earned a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and spent almost a decade providing individual, group and family therapy to people with cancer (at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)). I wanted to further integrate my philosophy background into my career, so I subsequently completed a Master of Science in Bioethics at Albany Medical Center/Union College. That degree was so fun and interesting that I pursued a PhD in Health Policy with a concentration in Ethics at Harvard University. I got my second big dose of economics, research and philosophy. I loved it! 
What moments from your early career stand out to you or impacted you?
The moments of my early career that impacted me the most were focused on helping people cope with a new diagnosis of cancer when I was a clinical social worker at MSKCC – being able to help people in the most stressful time of their lives was an honor, and something that I will never forget. I take those early experiences with me now, as I focus on making technology integration into healthcare more patient-centered, equitable and ethical.
Pictured: Husband Paul Horst Seiler; Daughter: Sophia (19); Step-daughter: Stella (17); Daughter: Alex (13) 

What research were you interested in pursuing? When/why/how did you gravitate towards ethics, informatics etc.?

During my time as Associate Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic, I evaluated the use of a wide range of technology innovations aimed at improving patients’ lives and the lives of doctors and nurses. I quickly realized that these technologies often lacked empirical testing and also raised important ethical issues, such as fairness, beneficence, autonomy and non-maleficence. However, these issues were not getting the attention they deserved, so I made it my mission to work to solve these problems – to ensure that technology innovation and implementation in healthcare are aligned with the highest standards of evaluation, ethics and patient-centered care.
Tell us about Cleveland Clinic, Harvard, MSKCC and more!
Wow, my time at MSKCC, Harvard and Cleveland Clinic were exceptional experiences. At each stage of my career, these outstanding institutions taught me how make meaningful differences in people’s lives, as a clinician, a leader, a researcher and an innovator.
Pictured: Susannah with her dog, Pearl, during a hike and a picture of her other Aussie-husky rescue, Togo. Susannah has two more rescue dogs: One more Aussie-husky puppy, Rose, and a 12-year-old pit bull named Maple."
What did you love about Ohio, South Carolina, New York and Boston?
Cleveland, Ohio: People are friendly – and the support of the arts – theater, the symphony and art museums – is stunning. 
Greenville, South Carolina: Wow, amazing food, and gorgeous campus (Furman University)
NYC: The energy, the people, the food ... well, I love everything about NYC!
Boston: The rich history, bioethics friends and colleagues and research. 

What challenges have you come across in your career/personal life? How did those moments influence you?
People and mission are the two most important factors in my career and personal life. No matter what, the people around me are the most important part of my life. Relationships and empathy drive my path forward to greatest extent possible. My strong sense of mission to serve has also been my guidepost for my entire career.

What brought you to DBMI?
As a bioethicist and researcher focused on AI in healthcare, there is no better place for me than DBMI. The ethics expertise related to AI in healthcare here is unparalleled. DBMI has the *people* and the *mission* that make this the ideal place for me to be at this point in my career. I am so happy here.

What do you like about working at VUMC and in DBMI?
Within the first hour of arriving on my first day here at VUMC, I was greeted by Drs. Brad Malin and Ellen Clayton outside my office on the 4th floor in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. They were both so enthusiastic and welcoming – and we immediately started talking about AI and ethics in healthcare. Then, within the following hour, I was participating in a national meeting about ethics and AI that they invited to me to attend. This kind of proactive collaboration and teamwork is unique and is why I am here – again, people and mission!
Similar invigorating interactions happen weekly here at VUMC – in DBMI and also within The Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and the Department of Health Policy, where I hold a secondary appointment. Drs. Keith Meador and Peter Embi are leaders that pave new roads – in fact – highways and freeways – to find effective ways to tackle the most critical ethical issues at the intersection of ethics and informatics. I am humbled to be here under their leadership.

What are you most excited about with the ADVANCE Center? What challenges do you foresee with ADVANCE on the ethics/equity side?

I have to chuckle, because, again, I am going to say that *people* and *mission* are the critical factors for success in ADVANCE and what draw me to my work with the Center. At ADVANCE, we seek to make AI safe, ethical and robust – and to solve critical problems that impact patients, clinicians, hospital leaders and researchers. I am particularly excited about leading the newly-created AI Ethics Consultation Service, supported in partnership with the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.

What’s something about yourself that DBMI members would find surprising? What are your hobbies outside of work?
I am a certified yoga instructor – while I don’t teach, this training has been critical to my overall wellbeing and focus. I also love hiking, spending time with new and old friends, reading, and exploring Nashville! I welcome suggestions for new things to do in this awesome city. I have three daughters who are each creative, intelligent, and fun to be around, and I am grateful for them. I am married to a Brazilian chemical engineer, so I enjoy great grilled steak at home, given that Brazilians are known for their incredible steak.
Tell us about your husband!
We got married in Vegas in October 2022. We also got engaged in Vegas! We have a lot of fun there, even though I don’t enjoy gambling!! We love the fabulous shows, cool hotels, and over-the-top restaurants. 

Thank you for allowing me to share my story, and I look forward to working with the DBMI family and beyond to help shape the future of informatics in healthcare.
Contact if you want to talk about AI ethics, hiking, yoga, and/or Brazilian steak!

Open Positions

Feel free to share our DBMI Open Positions with your friends and colleagues! 
Contact Jennifer Martellotti with questions. 

REMINDER: 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 events and previously recorded DBMI seminars.
Suggestions? Email