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

 A Message from VUMC's African American Employee Resource Group

February is Black History Month! As we commence the celebration of this month, the African American Employee Resource Group (AAERG) would like to remind everyone about the purpose behind the creation of Black History Month. This month was created to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to American society. African Americans have been pioneers in various fields, including science, technology, medicine, and the arts, with figures such as Mae Jemison, Langston Hughes, and Louis Armstrong.
The idea for the Black History Month was first proposed by Carter G. Woodson, a renowned historian, and educator, in 1926. He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent figures in the fight against slavery and for equal rights for African Americans. Initially, Black History Month was only celebrated in the United States, but over time, it has become a global event. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling on Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Since then, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month.

So, the AAERG highly recommend marking your calendar for the numerous events taking place this month. Please see below:

Black History Month Events

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2024: AAERG Bowling Event at Dave and Busters
Join the AAERG Networking committee at Dave and Busters in Opryland Mall on Saturday, February 10,2024. You will be responsible for paying for your own games and if you have a shirt with Positive Black Affirmations, please wear. Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm; Location: Dave and Buster's (540 Opry Mills); RSVP here

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2024: AAERG Black History Program: Celebrating Black Excellence in Healthcare

Join the AAERG as we have an in-depth conversation with two great VUMC contributors to health equity and diversity in healthcare, Arie Nettles and Jeffrey Upperman! Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm; Meeting Link: AAERG Black History Program: Celebrating Black Excellence in Healthcare

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2024: FIDELITY’s Black History Month Webinar: How to Shift Your Money Mindset

In recognition of Black History Month, employees are invited to a free, virtual webinar to learn how to manage money, deal with debt and build a financial legacy. Join Fidelity’s leading African American representatives and Tiffany "The Budgetnista" Aliche as they discuss pressing issues and propose real solutions, explore industry insights, deliver actionable information and share personal perspectives that may help you get more out of your money. Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm; Registration is limited, so act now. Click here to register.
Fidelity Financial Check-Up
Our VUMC Fidelity reps have reserved time on Feb. 19Feb. 20Feb. 22 and Feb. 28 to give the AAERG members an opportunity to sign up for 30-minute one-on-one retirement counseling sessions via Zoom. To schedule your session, visit

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2024: AAERG Lunch-n-Learn: Grow Your Career with FREE Tools

Join the AAERG Professional Development committee as we welcome VUMC Learning Consultant Lisa Williams, who will give us a tour of Percipio and tips on making the most of the tool. Learn how to use Percipio, VUMC’s free training and professional development tool to learn new skills or hone existing ones in order to grow your career. Time: 11 am – 12:00 pm; Click here to join the meeting.

VUMC February DEI Chat Room Series:

Standing Against Racism—Feb. 21

The VUMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) invites you to join us for our February Chat Room Series: Standing Against Racism. As shared by Dr. C. Wright Pinson during the January Leadership Assembly, the first two modules of Standing Against Racism (Antiracism Education Training) have been launched on the learning exchange. You will be automatically enrolled in the training by February 7. This aligns with Vanderbilt's multi-year Racial Equity Plan.
During our February Chat Room on February 21st, the ODI will facilitate a discussion around the training and have time for you to share your feedback, ask questions, and hear about the modules that will be released later this year. We hope you'll join us! 

To register:

Please share with your teams and networks as you are able. 
The VUMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion Team

Table of Contents

  1. Celebrating Black History Month 2024
  2. Grand Rounds 2024
  3. HR & Admin Updates
  4. Kudos!
  5. DBMI Spotlight: Mingjian Shi
  6. Open Positions & Upcoming Events

DBMI Grand Rounds Spring 2024

Our next DBMI and VCLIC Grand Rounds presentation TODAY, Wednesday, February 7, 2024 from 12:00-1:00 pm CT at 2525 West End, Room 8110 (and streamed on MS Teams) will feature several VUMC Clinical Informatics researchers (physicians, and leaders). Adam Wright will provide an overview of the state of the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC) and the programs that VCLIC coordinates. Eddie Qian will review the ACORN trial, a pragmatic trial in the EHR published recently in JAMA. Siru Liu will review efforts to improve CDS using generative and explainable AI. Dara Mize will review HealthIT's activities and roadmap. Contact with questions.
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 will be 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

Mid-Year Conversations will run through March 31, 2024, in Workday! 

To make this process easier for you, we have developed a flexible template that allows you to choose the focus of the conversation that works best for each staff member. The template is located in Workday, allowing you to keep track of these discussions to ensure that you have a record of your team's progress. In addition, we have created resources and quick reference guides to help you through the new Workday process. Email if you have questions. 

New Login Credentials Needed for KRONOS 

Access to Kronos now requires you to sign-in using your VUMC email address instead of your VUMC ID as your username. If you encounter issues logging into Kronos using your VUMC email address, then follow the steps below first to correct the issue.
When not connected to VPN, access to Kronos now requires VUMC Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Clear browser history. Instructions for common browsers can be found below. 
Ensure you are using the updated link to access Kronos login. Replace any old Kronos browser favorites with the following:
If you continue to have trouble logging into Kronos, email In your email, please include a detailed description of the issue, your employee ID number, and a screenshot of the issue if possible.

Complete your Annual Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure 

It is time, once again, for all VUMC staff to complete their annual Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure. All VUMC faculty and staff must complete a disclosure at least annually.  If you are a Medical Center staff member, this disclosure is normally completed with your annual compliance training. Once your disclosure has been submitted and approved, VUMC's Compliance Portal will automatically reflect your compliance. You must complete your COI form by June 30, 2024 to be considered for any potential merit increase.
Please do the following to complete your disclosure:
  • To log into the system with your VUMC ID and e-password, copy and paste into your browser the url:
  • Click the Create Disclosure button
  • Follow the instructions, answering all questions and acknowledgments
  • Using the Continue button on the lower right side of the page, select the person who will approve your disclosure. This is normally your immediate supervisor or the person who completes your performance evaluation.
  • If there are no error messages on the last page of the disclosure process, you will see a Submit button on the right side of the page
  • You MUST click the Submit button in order for your disclosure to be submitted to your approver. Your approver will receive an email notifying him/her that your disclosure has been submitted.
  • Users will need to connect to the Medical Center's Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the COI system if they are outside of the VUMC network. For instructions on how to connect to the VPN, visit:
If you have any questions about completing the process or need help using the system, please email:

Kensington Garage Reminder

Kensington Parking Reminders: GOLD STAR spaces are reserved for the people who paid to have a special spot for Vanderbilt Basketball, Baseball, & Football games. Some games might play during business hours & others in the evening. There’s a sign posted on the 2nd floor at least a day or two prior to the game. Refer to the website for the upcoming game schedule.

If you have renewed your vehicle’s license plates this month or last month, or if you recently purchased a new vehicle, please do not forget to update your Metropolis account. You can add three different vehicles that you drive to your account. This will avoid having to pay a huge fee of $70.00 in the future. Website: If you have questions, please contact


VUMC Establishes Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation & Dissemination in Learning Health Systems

(RAPID-LHS) Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been awarded a $5 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to establish a multidisciplinary center focused on training scientists and supporting research to minimize gaps between the generation of clinical evidence, implementation of proven interventions and development of informed public health policy.
The new Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation, and Dissemination in Learning Health Systems (RAPID-LHS) Center at VUMC will be led by principal investigators Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH, Peter Embí, MD, MS, and Russell Rothman, MD, MPP. The Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health, directed by Rothman, will provide additional center support. Read more in the VUMC Reporter here

DBMI Celebrates Years of Service 

Congratulations to the following DBMI members who celebrated noteworthy work anniversaries recently! 

Kudos to Terri DeMumbrum on 30 Years at Vanderbilt!

Terri DeMumbrum
, our DBMI Grants Manager, recently celebrated 30 years at Vanderbilt University Medical Center! We're so grateful to her and all of her dedication and hard work in grants management. 
Send her a congratulatory message by emailing!

DBMI Spotlight: Mingjian Shi

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!  
Mingjian Shi, PhD, is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Department of Biomedical informatics (DBMI) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a member of DBMI's Center for Precision Medicine. In January 2024, he was awarded the DBMI Research Staff Award of Excellence! Read his story below:
Where were did you grow up?
I grew up in Wuhan, in the heart of China along the Yangtze River. The city is famous for its delicious breakfast foods like savory noodles, warm soy milk, and all kinds of tasty street snacks.
What was childhood and young adulthood like for you?
My father worked as a technician in a company and my mother was a farmer and part-time midwife. I have 3 siblings who I grew up with—we studied hard in school and sometimes helped my mom around the farm when we weren't in class. We usually did light work like transplanting seedlings, weeding out weeds, and pulling grass to feed pigs.

What early memories stand out to you?
I remember when all my siblings and I would wake before sunrise to trek several miles to school, chatting and laughing together along the dusty village roads. After school, we'd race back home to help my mother tend the vegetables in our small family garden, competing to see who could pull the most weeds. 
What subjects in school did you gravitate towards? Did you know early on that you wanted to work in STEM?
I was always ambitious and wanted to be a doctor, so I worked hard focusing on science in middle and high school. I excelled in biology and chemistry courses to prepare for medical school and achieve my goal of curing diseases (In China, you can go to medical school immediately after graduating from high school). 
Where did you go to school?
I attended Wuhan University School of Medicine for my undergraduate degree. As China was starting to focus more on research in the early 1990s, I became very interested in medical research, especially in pharmacology. So I continued on at Wuhan University to earn both my master’s degree and PhD in Pharmacology, focused on researching new drug discoveries and treatments during this pioneering time in China's research development. 
Pictured: Mingjian (far right) at the Department of Pharmacology at Wuhan University School of Medicine in China, 2001.

What was your early career like?

I began my career at Wuhan University School of Medicine. I taught pharmacology, conducted drug discovery research, mentored medical students with their own research, and developed new medicines - combining training the next generation of doctors with innovative impactful treatments. 
When did you come to the US?
I came to the US from Wuhan in 2001 to learn more about advanced science and technology. I believed that the US, with its cutting-edge innovations, was the best place for me to grow in my field.
Pictured: Mingjian working as a visiting scholar in 2002.

How and when did you come to DBMI? What do you love most about DBMI?
I came to DBMI in 2018 because I was doing tedious neurological image analysis in my previous research and knew machine learning could make that process more efficient. I have become increasingly interested in bioinformatics and precision medicine. The interdisciplinary environment brings together top talent in computer science, health sciences, statistics, biology and more to tackle complex problems as a team. The passion of my colleagues at DBMI to make a real difference through innovation inspires me. 

What are your research interests?  
My research applies functional and translational genomics approaches to leverage large biomedical datasets from sources like electronic health records and DNA biobanks. This enables me to identify applications of polygenic risk scoring and genomic insights to precision medicine and improved clinical care. Specific projects have involved assessing polygenic risk scoring utility for conditions like prostate cancer, investigating links between genetics and diagnostic factors like PSA levels, using genome-wide association studies to analyze relationships between novel metabolites and cardiometabolic diseases, identifying genetic risk factors and subtypes for heart failure, and defining mediating factors connecting genetics, thyroid hormones, blood pressure, heart rate and atrial fibrillation risk. My goal is to demonstrate the potential of genomic risk stratification and precision medicine to provide earlier diagnosis, optimized treatment selection, reduced healthcare utilization, and ultimately improved patient outcomes. 

You received the DBMI Research Staff Award of Excellence. How did it feel to receive that award?
Receiving this prestigious award was incredibly humbling. To have my passion, efforts, and contributions behind-the-scenes be recognized meant so much. It motivates me to continue innovating impactful approaches to advance predictive, preventive, and precision medicine together with my amazing colleagues. 

What advice do you have for research staff?

My advice for research staff is to approach complex problems by breaking them down into simpler, more manageable parts with the simplicity of a 0 or 1. Complicated concepts or results in research can feel overwhelming. However, breaking them down to the fundamental parts, the “yin” and “yang”, provides clarity and empowers innovative solutions. 

What studies are you particularly proud of?
One specific study I published recently that I'm quite proud of is titled 'A polygenic risk score for prostate cancer risk prediction' in JAMA Internal Medicine (2023). I'm pleased our work helps pave the way for more personalized medicine, while also elucidating crucial areas needing improvement in future risk prediction models. 
Jonathan Mosley, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine & Biomedical Informatics, shared his his thoughts on Mingjian's research and DBMI award:
It has been my pleasure to work with Mingjian over the last five of years. The Research Award of Excellence is a fitting recognition of his hard work, commitment to our team and positive attitude. I have enjoyed working on our projects together, including on his most recent first author paper examining how genetic regulation of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels can make some men vulnerable to escalations in diagnostic care that are apt to lead to more harms than benefits ( He is an essential member of our team.
Pictured: Mingjian with Jonathan and Kerry Schaffer, MD, MSCI, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology.
Tell us about your daughters!
I am a proud father of three daughters. Helen, my eldest, is 31 years old and works as an OB/GYN in the DC area. My middle daughter, Rena, is 20 years old and currently studying at Dartmouth. My youngest, Sophia, is 17 years old and a junior at Hume-Fogg High School.
Pictured: Mingjian with two of his daughters at Centennial Park, 2009.
What are some of your hobbies or favorite activities outside of work?
My hobbies outside of work are jogging on trails in the Warner Parks area. The lush greenery, well-maintained trails, and peaceful environment make it the perfect place to exercise and unwind. I also enjoy watching football games to relax—my favorite football team is the Tennessee Titans. Getting exercise and enjoying sports helps me refresh so I can refocus on my research.

What’s something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
People might be surprised to know that despite my peaceful and calm demeanor, I enjoy the thrill of competition! The wins and losses, except when it comes to gambling. I steer clear of that, as I don't gamble.
Contact if you want to talk football or jogging!

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 summer events and previously recorded DBMI seminars.
Suggestions? Email