Washington, D.C.AMIA, the association for informatics professionals, honors four leaders in biomedical and health informatics on Nov. 13, 2010, with the annual presentation of its Signature Awards. The awards are to be announced on Monday, Nov. 15 at the Opening Session of AMIA's 34th Annual Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics in Washington, D.C., before an audience of more than 2,000 informatics professionals attending the event. Signature awards highlight extraordinary professionals working in the health industry, whose work transforms how health information and data is gathered, applied, and disseminated, and whose efforts result in elevated standards of care in the United States and beyond.

"The Signature Award recipients have made significant contributions to informatics, and in the process, have helped streamline the way data and information can be applied to patients," said AMIA Chairwoman Nancy M. Lorenzi, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "This group of Signature Award recipients joins an impressive cohort of pioneers in health who are leading the way to more robust biomedical research, a more responsive public health sector, advancements moving more quickly and efficiently from bench to bedside, and more incisive clinical practice—all of which are made possible through the science of informatics," she added.

The Signature Awards and recipients are:

New Investigator Award

Recognizes an individual for early informatics contributions and significant scholarly contributions of scientific merit and demonstrated research excellence.

Adam Wright, PhD, is a research scientist in the Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Wright focuses on clinical decision-support systems and data mining. He develops innovative tools for automated summarization of electronic health records (EHRs), and processing tools to support physicians as they document structured information in real time. He is the principal investigator for the Making Accurate Problem Lists in the EHR (MAPLE) project, which uses structured data in medical records to predict diagnoses and advise physicians of potential gaps in documentation of care. He also conducts research on malpractice, focusing on the use of decision-support systems to mitigate malpractice risk.

Virginia K. Saba Informatics Award

Recognizes a distinguished career that has made significant impact on the care of patients and the discipline of nursing. Recipient must demonstrate: use of informatics as transformative in patient care; visionary leadership; and enduring contribution to professional practice, education, administration, research, and/or health policy.

Judy Ozbolt, , PhD, RN, is a nursing informatics pioneer, whose long career includes faculty positions at the Universities of South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Virginia, and Maryland, and at Vanderbilt University, and service as a Scholar at the Institute of Medicine. She led Nursing Terminology Summits from 1999 to 2008, which contributed substantially to the adoption of standards for nursing data by national and international standards organizations. Most recently, she chaired a Technical Expert Panel of a project commissioned by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to predict and mitigate unintended consequences of EHR adoption. Dr. Ozbolt was a founding board member of AMIA, the first chair of its Nursing Informatics Working Group, and a founding member of the editorial board of JAMIA. She also is a Fellow and past president of the American College of Medical Informatics, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Don Eugene Detmer Award for Health Policy Contributions in Informatics

Recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution over the course of a career in health policy, conducted in accordance with the philosophy that all citizens and populations deserve a state-of-the-art health system that provides safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable health care services. The recipient exemplifies visionary leadership in the health policy realm, action-oriented advocacy work producing a regional, national or global result, advancement in thought leadership, and generating a sustainable contribution to the health system.

David Bates, MD, MSc, is chief of the Division of General Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; medical director of Clinical and Quality Analysis, IS; and a professor at both Harvard's Medical School and its School of Public Health. Dr. Bates has done extensive work evaluating the incidence and prevention of adverse drug events, and in improving efficiency and quality of diagnostic testing using information systems. He is currently evaluating the impact of guidelines on the delivery of quality of care, using electronic medical records. His work focuses on how to help clinicians make better decisions to produce more efficient, higher quality, and safer care, using information technology.

Donald A.B. Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics

Recognizes an individual for a specific technological, research, or educational contribution that advances biomedical informatics. The recipient's work will have been conducted in a nonprofit setting, and the adoption of the particular advance will be on a national or international level.

Carol Friedman, PhD, is a professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University. Her work has demonstrated that a general natural language processing system could be used to improve clinical care and to advance understanding of medicine. Dr. Friedman developed a comprehensive natural language extraction and encoding system for the clinical domain called MedLEE, which has been in use at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and which has been shown not only to behave similarly to medical experts but also to improve actual patient care. In collaboration, she adapted MedLEE into a natural language processing system called GENIES, which extracts biomolecular relations from journal articles to obtain data on molecular pathways. From there, she went on to co-develop the BioMedLEE system, another adaptation of MedLEE, which extracts a broad range of genotypic-phenotypic relations from the literature, and maps the extracted information to an ontology appropriate for biology. Dr. Friedman is currently working on research in the area of patient safety, using data from clinical narrative notes to detect novel adverse drug events.