Read the June issue of the DBMI Digest.
Read the June issue of the DBMI Digest.

A Letter from Trent Rosenbloom

Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs

Many of you know that I am fortunate to be able to work remotely from rural northern Wisconsin this summer so that I can be available to advise a summer camp on medical issues that arise, including managing Covid in this communal environment.
A major point the Camp Director makes every summer to the campers is that they have an opportunity to write their own book, with each page reflecting a story from camp.
As the summer progresses, their book gets longer. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we – as scientists – also write our own stories. Our stories take the form of research articles and case reports, or in shorter forms like tweets and blogs. Our stories communicate our work to our colleagues and to the public. 
For me, writing is hard; story telling is easier. When I write about real-world science that I am conducting or tools I have implemented, thinking about it as a story makes the writing easier. Some of my favorite papers I have written were the easiest to produce, driven by my excitement for the story I wanted to share. 
— Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs and Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics; Director, Clinical Effectiveness Research for VHAN; Director, My Health at Vanderbilt; Associate Director, Medical Innovators Development Program; and Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Nursing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center 
Pictured below: One of the Lakeside trails at dusk. 

Table of Contents

  1. COVID-19 Updates
  2. Department Announcements, HR Reminders
  3. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  4. Faculty News
  5. Education
  6. DBMI Spotlight: A Message from Nancy Lorenzi
  7. MyVUMC
  8. Funding Opportunities
  9. Open Positions + Upcoming Events

COVID-19 Updates

Annual Performance Evaluations—DUE AUGUST 31, 2022

It is time for Annual Performance Evaluations again. An evaluation must be completed for any staff member who joined VUMC prior to April 1, 2022 and whose end of orientation evaluation falls between April 1, 2022 and June 22, 2022. 
NOTE:  Annual evaluations are required for all employees in staff roles. Please refer to the email Elizabeth Brown sent on Thursday, June 30. If you have any questions, email her at

REMINDER: Please Follow COVID-19 Masking Policies

VUMC recently reimplemented required masking in all indoor, non-clinical areas of VUMC regardless of vaccination status due to “rising COVID-19 infections in our community and medical center”. See the following detailed information below: 
  • As before, masking will be required at 2525 West End Avenue, as well as in all clinical areas and on shuttles. The reimplemented requirements apply to all employees, patients, trainees, and visitors.
  • Masks may be removed when alone in one’s office, in private workspaces separated by at least 6 feet or by physical partitions, and when eating or drinking. However, VUMC officials recommend refraining from eating together if unable to socially distance.
  • Masks are not required outdoors, and we encourage using outdoor spaces to eat and drink.
  • There is no restriction on size of indoor or outdoor gatherings. So, we will continue to have in-person professional gatherings (conferences, meetings, etc.) for those who are able to do so, but recognize that in-person conferences and meetings must again include mask-wearing for our collective safety.
  • Students should stay tuned for any additional guidance from VU that would affect them on other parts of campus. Meanwhile, the VUMC masking guidance applies to everyone in the 2525 building.
  • NOTE: The 14th floor cubicles are not considered private offices, so masking is required while working in cubicles.
Remember to get your second booster shot, if eligible, at VUMC or another location near you and order free rapid tests here from the US Postal Service. 

DBMI Announcements, HR Reminders

DBMI Town Hall: "Holding Space" for Each Other, Follow-Up

On Wednesday, June 29, our Chair Peter Embí hosted a DBMI Town Hall to reiterate his messages of support and solidarity following recent decisions made by the Supreme Court and to hold space for anyone who has been feeling overwhelmed lately. 
We thank those who participated during the meeting, including our in-house Wellness Champion Colin Walsh, who shared advice on taking care of one's mental health, checking in on your colleauges and advocating for others. In case anyone is interested, check out this May 2022 WebMD article in which Brad Malin discussed privacy concerns related to Roe v. Wade.
If you have any thoughts you'd like to share with Dr. Embí, please email him at Please direct any HR-related questions to Elizabeth Brown at

RSVP for the 2022 DBMI Annual Retreat ASAP

The 2022 DBMI Annual Retreat will take place at the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens on Wednesday, August 17, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CST. Below is the schedule so far:
  • 8:00-9:00 am - Breakfast will be served
  • 9:00 am - Start of the Retreat
  • 4:00-5:00 pm - End of the Retreat and informal reception
We will have food and refreshments, prizes will be given out and games will be availale. You will also be able to spend time meeting our Chair, Peter Embí! The goals for this event include: 
  • To build community spirit and visit among the many members of DBMI
  • To include everyone in the Strategic Planning for our department moving forward
  • To share the excitement about our efforts, so that everyone knows about the interesting things DBMI faculty, staff, and students are working on.
  • To have the opportunity to work and learn from each other beyond the "work" area. 

DBMI Catalyzing Informatics Innovation (CI2) Program—Applications Due August 1, 2022

We are excited to open this year's application window for the DBMI Catalyzing Informatics Innovation (CI2) program. The CI2 program supports faculty in the development of early-stage, innovative and impactful informatics-based projects that have the potential to improve health, healthcare, or discovery.
The CI2 Program awardees receive not only modest funding to pursue their proposed project, but also join a cohort of CI2 Fellows who work closely with faculty and VUMC leadership. Details on the program and the simplified application process can be found here:
The application deadline is August 1, 2022. If you are interested in learning more, I am happy to set up time to tell you about the program, help refine potential ideas and discuss best-practices to go from idea to impact.
Daniel Fabbri, PhD, FAMIA, DBMI Director of Informatics Innovation, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science 

Welcoming New DBMI Staff

The following new staff member will be joining DBMI in the coming weeks:
  • Jennifer Martellotti – Program Manager (Administrative team/HR, reporting to Elizabeth Brown) — 7/11/22
Be sure to welcome Jennifer!

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Apply for the AIM-AHEAD Leadership Fellowship Program by JULY 6, 2022

The AIM-AHEAD Fellowship Program in Leadership will engage a diverse group of participants from under-represented populations to actively participate in mentored didactic and experiential educational activities to convey the leadership competencies necessary to promote and achieve the strategic imperatives of AIM-AHEAD.
Interested in applying for the AIM-AHEAD Leadership Fellowship Program? Join this workshop on July 6th from 3pm-4pm! This engaging workshop will review all the steps needed, equip applicants to move through all the logistical hurdles, and complete the application materials well ahead of the deadline. Click here more for info on the programRegister here for the workshop:

Faculty News

Applied Clinical Informatics (ACI) Special Issue: CALL FOR PAPERS — DEADLINE: OCT. 16

Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and Professor in DBMI and Director of My Health at Vanderbilt; Bryan Steitz, PhD, Intructor in DBMI; and Marianne Sharko of Weill Cornell Medicine are guest editors of a Special Issue of Applied Clinical Informatics. 
The title of the Special Issue is “Adolescent Privacy and the Electronic Health Record”Submissions are due October 16, 2022. Click here for more information

This Week Health Podcast: "How are Clinical Informatics Fellowships Setting up Hospital Systems for Success?" Featuring Dara Mize & Jake Lancaster

DBMI alumni Jake Lancaster, MD, MHA, MS, FAMIA, Chief Medical Information Officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care, interviewed Dara Mize, MD, FAMIA, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Informatics and Medicine at VUMC, on the center’s Clinical Informatics Fellowship program. Who can be a part of the fellowship? How does it differ from a traditional clinical fellowship? What are some next steps and challenges she is seeing for the fellowship? Click to listen here.

Colin Walsh Presented "Opportunities for Public Health Policy to Enhance Effective Detection and Response to Suicide Risk" Workshop

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Forum on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders hosted a public 3-part webinar series on Innovative Data Science Approaches to Assess Suicide Risk in Individuals, Populations, and Communities: Current Practices, Opportunities, and Risks. 
Colin Walsh, MD, MA, FAMIA, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Medicine and Psychiatry, presented on "Opportunities for Public Health Policy to Enhance Effective Detection and Response to Suicide Risk". Click to read more.

Study Shows Genotype Leads to Discontinued, Decreased Medication

Patients whose race is recorded as Black in their electronic health record (EHR) are more likely to have azathioprine, an immunosuppressant medication, discontinued or its dose reduced because their laboratory results show a low white blood cell count.
Co-authors include: Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD; Sara L. Van Driest, MD; QiPing Feng, PhD; Jonathan Mosley, MD and more. Click to read more.


A Message from Jessica Ancker, Vice Chair for Educational Affairs:

2022 National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 Informatics Training Conference RECAP

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) T15 Informatics Training Conference was our first in-person training conference in two years. DBMI’s T15-supported PhD and postdoc trainees traveled to the University at Buffalo to present their work, meet almost 200 peers at the other T15 institutions, and learn about the NLM’s priorities from director Patricia Flatley Brennan.
Barrett Jones, Alex Becker, Leigh Anne Tang, Yasemin Akdas, and Thomas Brown all gave talks about their research. Hannah Slater and Leigh Anne also joined trainee discussion panels, and Michelle Gomez and Brian Douthit presented posters.
The biggest challenge was the unexpected disruptions and cancellations in air travel that prevented Thomas and KJ Krause from attending in person; the disruptions also meant that Alex and Michelle took almost 24 hours to get home.
However, the students who did make it to Buffalo managed to go out to taste genuine Buffalo chicken wings, and two also went on a Niagara Falls tour! (Pictured below) All in all, a very successful event.
Jessica Ancker, PhD, MPH, FACMI, Professor and Vice Chair for Educational Affairs in DBMI 

2022 Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics Summer Program (VBISP) Students Spotlights 

It's been a month since the 2022 Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics Summer Program (VBISP) began, and students are already in the weeds of their summer research projects under the guidance of their DBMI faculty mentors.This summer, three high school students11 undergraduate students and two graduate students are participating in the program
In this issue and the next two issues of the DBMI Digest, we're highlighting each of the students—beginning with our high school students: Adonaye Woldegebriel, Jacqueline Alvarado and Caleb Donaldson! See their profiles below:

Adonaye Woldegebriel

High School: Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School
Research Project: Correlating inbasket workload to user engagement
What made you decide to apply to the VBISP? 
I decided to join this program because I felt that it would be a great opportunity, and I could have the chance to network with intelligent and great people. I was introduced to this program by my high school AP computer science teacher and was intrigued by the program's description. I thought the concept that medicine and computer science can intertwine was fascinating.  
What are your research interests and career goals? 
I hope to research computer systems and major in computer science.
List a fun fact about yourself or favorite hobby!
A fun fact about me is that I am from Ethiopia. A hobby I recently developed is watching videos of cars from the Japanese Domestic Market or just cars in general. I also like watching basketball in my spare time.
What are your impressions of your students since they began the VBISP a month ago? Adonaye is very well organized and quick learner. Impressive to see this level of work at this early stage of education. 

What are you looking forward to working on with your student during the remainder of their summer internship? Sharing his novel work with the Epic community. This can drive a lot of understanding about engagement and guide how to approaches to overburdened users. 

Jacqueline Alvarado

High School: RePublic High School
Research Project: Human-centered design by doing both design and usability evaluation for a patient facing app including helping with the analysis and conduct of the study
What made you decide to apply to the VBISP? 
I was encouraged by my former computer science teacher Alison Arth to apply to the VBISP. I was intrigued about this program because I wanted to know how health care and computer science could work together.
What are your research interests and career goals? 
My career goal is to major in computer science and become a software engineer.
List a fun fact about yourself or favorite hobby!
My favorite hobby is to binge watch all of the Harry Potter movies!
What are your impressions of your students since they began the VBISP a month ago? Jackie is inquisitive enthusiastic, inquisitive and a joy to work with this summer. I am looking forward to working with Jackie on a more in-depth analysis of the data as well as testing the changes that were made in the interface.  

What are you looking forward to working on with your student during the remainder of their summer internship? I am looking forward to working with Jackie on a more in-depth analysis of the data as well as testing the changes that were made in the interface.

Caleb Donaldson

High School: Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School
Research Project: Reviewing clinical decision support override comments to identify scenarios where alerts could have been suppressed due to improved alert criteria or clinical documentation, or where additional acknowledgment options could be beneficial.
What made you decide to apply to the VBISP? 
I decided to apply to the VBISP because a friend told me that it would be a great opportunity to gain some knowledge on a subject closely related to computer science. I also knew that this program would be good for college preparation. 
What are your research interests and career goals? 
Following high school, I plan to be a computer science major in college and begin my journey of becoming a software engineer. 
List a fun fact about yourself or favorite hobby!
My favorite hobby is playing soccer. 
What are your impressions of your students since they began the VBISP a month ago? I often forget that Caleb is a high school student because he understands the project we're working on so well and has really great suggestions for evaluating the data and improving the alerts.

What are you looking forward to working on with your student during the remainder of their summer internship? I can't wait to see the results of his work and his submission to the AMIA High School Scholars Program! I also look forward to seeing where he ends up the future with college and his soccer career!

A Message to DBMI from Nancy Lorenzi

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!  
Vanderbilt University recently honored several faculty members for their years of service and bestowed on them the title of emeritus or emerita faculty. Among them were 15 from the School of Medicine. 
JULY 1st is Nancy Lorenzi's last day as a full-time faculty member in DBMI as she transitions into her new role as Emerita! 
Nancy M. Lorenzi, PhD, MLS, MA, FACMI, FIAHSI, served as Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Clinical professor of Nursing, and Vice President for Strategic Change Management. In the early 2000s, the Department of Biomedical Informatics was awarded a new train­ing program grant, and she taught in the training program from its inception to the spring 2021.
She has mentored students through their master’s and PhD degrees. Her research, focused on managing technological change related to information technology, was conveyed in more than 200 articles and eight books.
Operationally, Lorenzi’s service to VUMC has focused on planning, designing and implementing clinical information systems. Her initial project was designing a people-process strategy that led to the very successful StarPanel system.
She is the only U.S. citizen elected President of the International Medical Infor­matics Association (2004–07) (pictured below) and Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Medical Informatics Association (2010–11). 

Below, she wrote a brief message to her colleagues in DBMI:

"I am retiring from DBMI with mixed feelings. I am excited about becoming a Professor Emerita and my next phase of life. I am sad to be leaving my VUMC/DBMI efforts and colleagues.
I came to Vanderbilt in 2000 with a goal of 'helping' create the type of Medical Center and Department that the leaders envisioned. My first role was to see about creating an electronic record system for the outpatient area. This started with designing a process for what the practicing clinicians wanted in an electronic health system, outlining their wishes and seeing Dario Giuse design the system for the start of what became known as StarPanel was exciting and rewarding.
As the wheel turns, I worked with the research community at the University of Cincinnati. When the National Library of Medicine issued their BISTI (Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative) opportunity, Bill Stead and I wrote the Vanderbilt proposal. The proposal had an external steering panel was funded. Dan Masys was for the steering panel and because of the opportunities he saw he became the second Chair of DBMI. In this space the only thing to say is 'that the rest is history'!

Working on the People/Process side of informatics is both rewarding and frustrating. Just about everyone acknowledges people and process issues, but there is not as much action as words. Our socio-technical team, which has had multiple names over the years, is strong and is acknowledged for their work. We have been asked to research systems for improvement. While I will not be here, the team of Laurie Novak, Kim Unertl, Chris Simpson, Joyce Harris, Yasemin Akdas, plus the adopted team members of Shilo Anders, Carrie Reale and Megan Salwei, will continue.
Working with Kevin Johnson was creative and productive. One time I told Kevin that the DMBI retreats were boring and people were not coming. He asked me to design a new retreat process. With the help of several DBMI people who are still at DBMI, we designed a new 'system'. By system, I mean the group recommended a more structured retreat with fun built in and separate events at the end of the year for students to show their work. With modifications through the years the separate retreat and student posters continues.  
Most recently, I have spent much of my time working with Wright Pinson and the clinical enterprise on culture change. We can gauge from the patient experience scores and other surveys that VUMC has improved over the year.
My best experience and memories are with people. It is exciting to see students learn, blossom, grow as students and then feel excited for their successes beyond their educational years. I have had former students in my class come back and say that the class is more important to them post-graduation.
It is wonderful to see the accomplishments of young faculty and to be there if they needed to talk or share their work or family stories. VUMC/DBMI has enriched me and, in turn, I hope I have enriched others."

VUMC to Discontinue COVID-19 Hotline

Effective July 1, 2022, the VUMC COVID-19 hotline will be discontinued. As the pandemic has evolved, other resources have become available to patients and staff resulting in a significant decrease in the volume of calls.
After July 1, if the hotline number is called, individuals will receive the following message: “Thank you for calling the Vanderbilt COVID-19 Hotline. The hotline is no longer in service. For any COVID-related questions or assistance, please call your clinician or health care professional.” Patients looking to connect with the Adult Post-Acute COVID Clinic should be directed to the following number: 615-936-1212. Read more in the VUMC Reporter.

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
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

Upcoming Events

Visit here for more details on the previous/recorded DBMI webinars from January to April 2022.
Suggestions? Email