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U of U Health Names New Chair of Biomedical Informatics at School of Medicine

Yves Lussier, MD, FACMI

Yves Lussier, MD, FACMI, has been named Chair of Biomedical Informatics at University of Utah School of Medicine. The appointment, effective February 1, 2021, was announced by Michael L. Good, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of U of U Health.

"We are fortunate to bring Dr. Lussier to U of U Health to chair our distinguished department of biomedical informatics," Good says. "He brings two decades of leadership experience in top public and private universities and companies. Dr. Lussier is the ideal leader to build on the great legacy of this department, which in 1972 became the first biomedical informatics department in the nation. Today, it is home to some of that nation's top BMI faculty. He will serve and empower faculty, staff, and students to realize the future of bioinformatics."

A professor at University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Lussier also serves as Associate Vice President for Health Sciences and Chief Knowledge Officer. He is currently Director for the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics and Associate Director for Informatics at the university's Bio5 Institute.

"We are standing in the lobby of the fourth industrial revolution with the convergence of digital, biological, and physical innovations," Lussier said. "Machine learning and nanotechnologies impacting medicine provide a glimpse of the coming progress. We have a unique opportunity to set a vision for the Department of Biomedical Informatics that leverages the expertise of the entire School of Medicine and catalyzes innovation and education opportunities in pioneering, emerging clinical subspecialties."

Lussier considers the faculty at U of U Health to be pioneers in translational informatics: "We want to augment the translational pipeline in the learning health system for growth and impact in health care."

As chair, Lussier will recruit and retain faculty while leading faculty development and mentorship across the department. He will promote faculty participation in leadership development, grantsmanship, and performance improvement across the field, applying it to the university's clinical, research, education, and community engagement missions. "In a participative and inclusive way, I am eager to work with faculty, staff, and students to influence and multiply their strategic initiatives and ensuing achievements," Lussier says. "Paradigm-shifting opportunities abound."

Early in his tenure in academic medicine, Lussier credits research by University of Utah DBMI scientists and clinicians for shaping and inspiring his career and those of many others. "This is one of the top informatics departments in the world," he says. "For me, it's a unique opportunity to serve with the best in the field." Throughout his career, Lussier says he has been fortunate to work with colleagues who have Utah ties: "I think of them as collaborative, hard-working, smart people."

Lussier was born in Montreal and, except for a few years in Philadelphia, was raised and educated in Canada. He received a Bachelor of Applied Science and his MD degree at University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Arizona, Lussier was a professor at University of Sherbrooke, Columbia University, The University of Chicago, and University of Illinois. From 1990–1994, he was Vice President of Research at Development Purkinje Inc., a private health care technology company he co-founded. Lussier was one of ten American scientists invited to the White House in 2016 for the Precision Medicine Initiative Summit.

Lussier succeeds Karen Eilbeck, PhD, who since 2019 has served as interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. She will return to her role as vice chair of the department and continue as professor of biomedical informatics and adjunct associate professor of human genetics.