A message from Trent Rosenbloom, a profile of Jodi Dedeyan, and more.
A message from Trent Rosenbloom, a profile of Jodi Dedeyan, and more.

A Letter from a Vice Chair: Trent Rosenbloom

Good morning team, and happy Friday. I wanted to share a few updates with you. 
First, Nashville's Davidson County COVID rating was downgraded to medium yesterday, and Vanderbilt is seeing a continued decline in outpatient cases and hospitalizations. This is generally good news and we are seeing venues going "mask optional" around town. There is still no update about mask guidance or work location guidance just yet, but I understand that conversations are ongoing with leadership, including Peter. 
Speaking of Peter, his operation for persistent diverticulitis took place earlier this week, as he had shared with us. The operation was a success, and he is actively recovering now. He sent me an update just this morning, including some details that only a health care provider could enjoy :-) I will spare you those. He is still on course to return in the next couple weeks, and I’m happy to help you with anything you may need until then.
Spring is springing. The daffodils are now in full bloom, and the cherry trees and early magnolias are beginning to bloom. Red buds should follow soon. As much as I enjoy the winter, I equally enjoy watching everything wake up and pop.
Last night I took some time to enjoy the weather by watching the sunset at the Shelby Bottoms pedestrian bridge, which you can reach from off Two Rivers Parkway near Opry Mills (pictured above). This bridge was built in 2007 as part of some of Nashville‘s earliest efforts to prop up their greenways. I have always found it and iconic and beautiful piece of architecture, and it’s a great place for watching the sunset or sunrise. We should have nice weather over the next couple days, and I highly recommend a visit at the start or end of the day.
— Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and Professor in DBMI

Table of Contents

  1. Department Announcements, HR Reminders
  2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  3. Faculty News
  4. DBMI Spotlight: Jodi Dedeyan
  5. MyVUMC
  6. Funding Opportunities
  7. Open Positions + Upcoming Events

DBMI Announcements, HR Reminders


Inform Coda Davison by March 15

In order to retain our portable defibrillator certification, our department is required to provide Promedics with a list of CPR-certified volunteers who can act as responders in a potential emergency in which a defibrillator needs to be used. Volunteers are not required to respond. It is simply to show that we have qualified people in the department in case of an emergency. Anyone in the area can respond, volunteers just show we have an additional level of support. 
We need to provide a list of 2-3 people who are CPR-certified. Preferably, at least one person on the 14th floor, and one person on the 15th floor.
If you are currently CPR-certified, please inform Coda Davison (coda.davison@vumc.org) BY MARCH 15 and provide answers to the following questions and information:  
  • Are you CPR-certified? 
  • Are you willing to be listed as a potential responder in the case of an emergency? 
  • Date you received your CPR-certification. 
  • Date your CPR-certification expires.   

Mental Health & Wellness Resources

This week, Colin Walsh, Kim Unertl, and Jessica Ancker shared a message with DBMI on available resources for students, trainees, staff, and faculty at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 
Those resources have been posted in the Wellness channel in DBMI's Microsoft Teams group. View the resources here.
Remember: Your mental health matters and we are here to support you in any way possible. If you’re not sure who to reach out to or who to talk to, reach out to Colin Walsh (colin.walsh@vumc.org; 615-936-5684) or Kim Unertl (kim.unertl@vumc.orgkim.unertl@vanderbilt.edu). 

Blood Donations Urgently Needed — Donation Opportunity Monday, March 7

We continue to face a blood shortage across the region. In partnership with VUMC, Blood Assurance will be collecting blood on campus Monday, March 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm in the former EPIC training area across from the cafeteria. 
Appointments for Monday can be made through here. NOTE: 23 out of 35 spots need to be filled by Monday, March 7! 
Every donation helps ensure that patients can receive the excellent care they need here at VUMC. One unit of blood can save as many as three lives, and VUMC uses 200 units of blood products on a typical day. Please consider giving the gift of blood on behalf of our patients. View more donation dates here.

REMINDER: Schedule Mid-Year Staff-Supervisor Conversations Until March 31

Mid-year staff conversations between staff and their supervisors must be scheduled between now and March 31. Elizabeth Brown provided questions via email that will help guide these discussions. Contact Belinda Ballard if you have any questions.

4 VUMC Health Plan Members Can Get Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

In January 2022, the Biden Administration announced that as of Jan. 15, private insurance companies are required to cover the purchase of at-home COVID-19 tests to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the VUMC health plan can have their at-home COVID-19 tests covered through the Navitus pharmacy benefit. Below are four ways to receive your free at-home COVID-19 test: 
  • Visit your local pharmacy, including national and regional chains.
  • Get free federal or state issued at-home tests.
  • Check out Direct-to-Consumer options available through select pharmacies.
  • Purchase at retailers including grocery stores, warehouse stores, and online shopping sites.

Babies of DBMI!

Love was certainly in the air last month as two members of DBMI celebrated their babies and newborns!

Happy Belated V-Day from Baby Morgan (and Storm)!

Sara Block, Pharmacogenetics Project Manager in the Center for Precision Medicine, shared this Valentine's Day picture of her six-month-old daughter, Morgan Lynn, and six-month-old show dog, Storm. 
Morgan Lynn Block was born on July 22, 2021.  

Thomas Brown Welcomed Baby Sophie 

PhD student Thomas Brown recently welcomed a baby girl!
Sophie was born in mid-February, 2022
Congratulations to Thomas and his family!

DBMI Quarterly Kudos

Congratulations to Coda DavisonFACHE, PMP, MPA, BBA, Director of the DBMI Project Management Office, who won this quarter's DBMI Kudos and a $100 Amazon gift card!

Coda Davison – nominated by Mia Garchitorena

“Coda has been incredibly supportive throughout my time in DBMI - even going back to before I officially joined the department. He is not only a fantastic manager, but he's also an excellent Manager of Project Managers and an innovative employee of VUMC. He always comes up with creative solutions to complex problems. He is also incredibly kind and patient and he has proved time and time again that he has my back and everyone else's in the department. He is the most outstanding manager I've had in my career. I am eternally grateful for him and the opportunity he gave me to work in DBMI!”
Congratulations to these nominated staff who were recognized this quarter:
Belinda Ballard – nominated by Paul Harris
“Belinda recently helped our team with some important and time-sensitive immigration work. As always, her help was invaluable and her attitude and flexibility to help in time of need was very appreciated.”

Henry Ong – nominated by Sara Block
“He is a powerhouse who juggles a mountain but always finds a way to follow-up and finds time to help, all with a positive attitude.”

Wil Comstock – nominated by Cynthia Williams
“Wil Comstock is always happy to go above and beyond his assigned duties to assist, no matter how menial or complicated the task may be. He is a pleasant and professional gentleman. His sense of humor always brightens my day. It is a joy to have Wil as a colleague. He is more than worthy to receive the DBMI Quarterly Kudos Award!”

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the Kudos program! Remember, you can always nominate someone anytime by submitting your entries here

Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC) Hosted its Inaugural Mental Health Innovation Challenge & Hackathon: February 25-26, 2022

On February 25th and 26th, 2022, the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC) held its inaugural Innovation Challenge and Hackathon. By their nature, hackathons provide a space for groups of people from diverse backgrounds to come together and creatively problem solve, usually in a condensed period of time (like a weekend). VCLIC’s 2021-2022 theme is “Innovative Care Delivery Models for Mental Health,” and as such, this event centered on a Mental Health theme.  
Groups of participants with backgrounds as diverse as undergraduate freshmen engineers, MIDP students, DBMI students, VUMC project managers, and nurses from the Osher Integrative Health Clinic, came together and developed novel applications with the help of VCLIC Member Mentors, who staffed the event to provide clinical, technical, and informatics input as the teams worked toward their solutions. At the conclusion of the event, the teams had seven minutes to pitch their work to a panel of judges and get feedback.  
The atmosphere of the hackathon was inspiring, and we think both the teams and mentors learned a lot through their participation! We were impressed to see the final products of the weekend’s work and look forward to continued partnerships with participants across VU and VUMC. See pictures here! And read more in the VUMC Reporter here— VCLIC Team
Team Projects: 
  • Team Bridger: C.A.R.ES Bot and P.A.D promote patient engagement and improve outcomes.
  • Team Zany Zebrafish: Epiphany app, integrated into the electronic health record (EHR), passively collects data through a mobile-facing app and used gamification and escalation to prevent suicide.
  • Team AxonBlast: Python app monitors neurodegenerative diseases. 
Congratulations to: 1st place winners Team Bridger (left), 2nd place winners Team Zany Zebrafish (middle), 3rd place winners Team AxonBlast (right). 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: March 2022

Celebrating Women's History Month

Vanderbilt University celebrates Women’s History Month (WHM) each March. WHM celebrates the struggles and achievements of women of all nations and cultures. To recognize WHM, VU is hosting a ton of events throughout this month. Click here to view all VU WHM events throughout March!

Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is also Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) and partners like the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) work together to highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. This year, they launched the #DDAM2022 campaign (pictured right).
The VKC supports and applies research to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities through services and education. Follow the VKC Twitter account @Vanderbilt_KC and on Facebook to learn more about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month as well as events, resources, and news stories. Share your own posts on social media and use the #DDAM2022 hashtag!

DBMI Recognized Black History Month: Feb. 2022

In recognition of Black History Month, we asked a few of our DBMI employees what the month means to them & how informatics & those working in health care can improve health equity. See the profiles below.

Martin Were, MD, MS, FAMIA, FIAHSI

Martin Were shared stories about his medical career path (beginning at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School), the impactful informatics work he's doing at VUMC and in Africa, the importance of mentorship, and why informaticians and clinicians have a duty to improve health equity. 

Jodi Dedeyan

Throughout her nearly 20 years' of working in various administrative roles across VUMC, Jodi Dedeyan has always been an advocate for educating staff on Black History Month and celebrating BHM as an ally. She shares some perspective about living in France versus the US, and how her time in Europe further influenced her desire to support minority and underserved communities. 

Faculty News

Brad Malin Among 26 Faculty Honored at Inaugural Endowed Chair Investiture Ceremony, Feb. 24, 2022

Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver honored faculty from across the university at an endowed chair investiture ceremony on campus Feb. 24, conferring the university’s highest scholastic rank on those who had received the designation during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
A total of 26 distinguished scholars from seven colleges and schools were recognized and presented by the deans of their college or school with a specially designed medallion that symbolizes their attainment of this position and will become part of their official academic regalia. Additional endowed chair honorees from 2020 and 2021, including Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos and Provost Raver, will be honored at a second investiture ceremony on Wednesday, Mar. 30.
Brad Malin, PhD, FACMI, FAIMBE, FIAHSI, Accenture Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics, and Computer Science; and Vice Chair for Research Affairs in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, was among the honored faculty. Congratulations, Dr. Malin! Click here to read more

VCLIC Team Published JAMIA Paper on Clickbusters Initiative

Members of DBMI and VCLIC described the Clickbusters initiative, which was implemented at VUMC and designed to improve safety and quality and reduce burnout through the optimization of clinical decision support (CDS) alerts. Click to read more.
Authors on the study include: Allison McCoy, Elise Russo, Jonathan Wanderer, Dara Mize, Thomas Reese, Tina French, Scott Nelson, Wael Alrifai, Adam Lewis, Sharidan Parr, Aileen Wright, Adam Wright, Kevin Johnson, Robert Turer, Neal Patel and colleagues

Trent Rosenbloom & Sarah Rossetti of Columbia University Discussing Next Steps from 25x5 Symposium — March 7

Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, Interim Chair, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and Professor in DBMI; and Director of My Health at Vanderbilt, will be discussing output and next steps from the 25x5: Symposium to Reduce Documentation Burden on US Clinicians by 75% by 2025 during the Clinical Information Systems WG webinar.
This webinar is hosted by AMIA and will take place on March 7 at 12 pm ET. Click here for Zoom info

Yaa Kumah-Crystal Discussed Benefits of Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant for Hey Epic! with Nuance 

Yaa Kumah-Crystal, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Pediatic Endocrinology, spoke with Nuance (a computer software technology corporation) about how she and her colleagues are using Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant for Hey Epic! to automate frequent workflows, access electronic health record information quickly and focus on improving the patient experience. Click to read more

Zhiyu Wan, Brad Malin & Colleagues Published Study on Sociotechnical Safeguards for Genomic Data Privacy

Zhiyu Wan, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in DBMI, Brad Malin and colleagues published a review that appraised existing and emerging threats to genomic data privacy and discussed how well current legal frameworks and technical safeguards mitigate these concerns. The piece was published in Nature Reviews Genetics. Click to read more.

Douglas Ruderfer Published Study on Leveraging EHRs to Inform Genetic Counseling Practice Surrounding Psychiatric Disorders

Douglas Ruderfer, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Biomedical Informatics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, published a study in the Journal of Genetic Counseling, titled "Leveraging Electronic Health Records to Inform Genetic Counseling Practice Surrounding Psychiatric Disorders." Click to read more.

DBMI Spotlight: Jodi Dedeyan

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 mia.garchitorena@vumc.org!  
Jodi Dedeyan traveled around the world and back again before beginning her new role as Assistant to the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Peter Embí.
She has nearly 20 years’ experience working as an administrative assistant in various departments across VUMC, including trauma, surgery, gynecology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, nursing, and ophthalmology, as well as Human Resources – specifically Talent Acquisition. 
This decorated career path has taken Jodi across the globe, from Cincinnati to Palm Springs and from Tennessee to Paris!
Despite working in DBMI for a brief time so far, Jodi has made progress supporting Dr. Embi and getting to know more people in the department. She’s excited to meet more of us virtually.
“I’m looking forward to becoming that ‘open door’ in which people can come to me for anything,” she says. “I love being a communicator – I learned that from being in France as the French overcommunicate. I’m happy to talk anytime. Chat me on Teams!”
Jodi grew up in the Cincinnati area. As a child, she was interested in choir, art, and band class. She also had an early desire to study abroad later in life as she was fascinated by different cultures, and often befriended international students in her classes.
Volunteering was also a passion of Jodi’s – she won an award in high school for doing 600 hours of volunteer service. This desire to serve others stemmed from her experience being a caregiver to her father, who had Parkinson’s disease.
“I was a caregiver at an early age, and it made me grow up fast,” she explains. “But it led to my developing an interest in working in health care.
Jodi later attended Ohio Valley University, a small college near Ohio State University, where she studied business administration and management
“When we’re 18, we don’t know what we want to do,” she says. “I was searching what I wanted to do with business and working with people."
College was enjoyable for Jodi, and she filled her time outside of class with participating in the choir and painting. However, after two years, she returned home due to family reasons. 
“I was back home caregiving for my dad and helping my mom,” she explains. Family comes first!
After a few years back home, Jodi began planning her next move. “I was in my 20s, and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything for myself,” she says. I later married a miliarty man in the Army and he took me to California. She set her sights on California, where her aunt lived and worked in hospitals.
She moved to California in the late 90s and worked as a Convention Services Coordinator and Executive Secretary for the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. There, she got involved in hospitality, event planning and fundraisers. It was common for her to encounter celebrities while hosting events, including Francis Ford Coppola!
She joined the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2003 to do similar event coordinating work, but after a couple of years, Jodi decided to find a job in health care.

“That life, especially when you become a mom, isn’t ideal because hospitality is nonstop, and you even work nights,” Jodi explains. She began working as a switchboard operator, then moved on to home health services and later became a coordinator for nurses. 
She then moved to Tennessee and joined VUMC, where she started temporarily to assist physicians in Trauma, including Richard Miller, MD, Chief of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Vanderbilt. By 2005, Jodi began working full-time in gastroenterology as a senior administrative assistant.
In 2007, Jodi received the opportunity of a lifetime: she got a position to assist the Director of Admissions at The American University of Paris, a private liberal arts university in Paris. “Lots of movie stars and princesses sent their kids there,” Jodi says with a laugh. “It was a trip doing that job.”
When asked how fluent she is in French, Jodi says that she can speak as well as a junior in college. “I can’t write it, but I can speak it! And I can order my croissant and talk to doctors about my health!” she says.
Jodi, her husband (who is originally from France and also Armenian, works as a business analyst in IT, and is helping the State of Tennessee onboard a MyHealth system for Medicare/Medicaid patients), and their five children (who are all bilingual) lived in Paris until 2014, when they moved back to Nashville. (Pictured above: Jodi with her family living in Europe.)
Jodi rejoined Vanderbilt and worked as a senior administrative assistant in psychiatry, then an administrator in Human Resources, and a lead administrative assistant for the Social Work Team of Transition Management and later for the Vanderbilt Eye Institute.
Around the time that she was looking for a new opportunity, she saw the announcement about Dr. Embi joining as the new Chair of DBMI. She was curious about what biomedical informatics was and reviewed our website to learn more. There, she found a job posting for an Assistant to the new Chair, which she applied to shortly afterwards. The rest is history.
“The department overall has been super friendly,” she says. “I also love to see that there’s longevity here, you don’t see that across Vanderbilt.”
Jodi recently completed her bachelor’s degree, receiving a BA in psychology, from Trevecca Nazarene University. She’s also in the process of completing her certificate for dual citizenship in France & continuing her passion in Psychology. She is beginning a Masters in Counseling with Trevecca University! With this she hopes to specialize in working with TCK kids (Third Culture Kids). Congratulations, Jodi!

FlexPTO Rollover Extended for Next 3 Fiscal Years

The popular option for staff to roll over up to 40 hours of unused flexible paid time off (flexPTO) to banked sick time has been approved for fiscal years 2023, 2024 and 2025, with a cap for the total number of sick hours to be 160 hours.

If you currently have more than 160 hours in your sick bank, you will be able to keep those hours but not add any additional hours to it. The flexPTO rollover option is not available to union and/or employees in states with sick leave programs.

The deadline to use your allotted flexPTO is June 30, 2022. If you do not use all your flexPTO, any unused hours (up to 40) will automatically be moved to your sick bank by the end of August. You do not need to take any additional action. Click here for more info

2022 Postdoctoral Awards Call for Nominations —  Deadline is March 11

Each spring the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) partners with the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association (VPA) to recognize postdocs who demonstrate excellence in research, service, mentorship, and a commitment to the postdoc community, as well as their mentors who demonstrate a willingness to share expertise and advice, service to the community at large, along with other mentoring activities. Nominations close on Friday, March 11, 2022. Click here for more info.
Nominations are open for:
  • Postdoc Service Award
  • Postdoctoral Mentor of the Year Award
  • Postdoc of the Year Award
  • Faculty Mentor of the Year Award

Funding 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 terri.demumbrum@vumc.org.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) — PROPOSALS ACCEPTED ANYTIME UNTIL APRIL 1, 2024. The S&CC program supports integrative research that addresses fundamental technological and social science dimensions of smart and connected communities and pilots solutions together with communities.This S&CC solicitation will support research projects in the following categories:
  • S&CC Integrative Research Grants (SCC-IRG) Tracks 1 and 2. Awards in this category will support fundamental integrative research that addresses technological and social science dimensions of smart and connected communities and pilots solutions together with communities. Track 1 proposals may request budgets ranging between $1,500,001 and $2,500,000, with durations of up to four years. Track 2 proposals may request budgets up to $1,500,000, with durations of up to three years.
  • S&CC Planning Grants (SCC-PG). Awards in this category are for capacity building to prepare project teams to propose future well-developed SCC-IRG proposals. Each of these awards will provide support for a period of one year and may be requested at a level not to exceed $150,000 for the total budget.
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

Open Positions

Visit here to view current open positions throughout DBMI and its Centers. If your team has a job opening, please email Mia Garchitorena at mia.garchitorena@vumc.org.

Upcoming Events

Visit here for more details on the upcoming DBMI webinars and research colloquiums in March 2022.
Suggestions? Email dbmicomms@vumc.org.