Biomedical Informatics Chair, Joyce A. Mitchell, Ph.D., Named to National Library of Medicine Board of Regents

Biomedical Informatics Chair, Joyce A. Mitchell, Ph.D., Named to National Library of Medicine Board of Regents

Sep 30, 2009 9:40 AM

SALT LAKE CITY-Joyce A. Mitchell, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University of Utah School of Medicine's Department of Biomedical Informatics, has received a national appointment to the Board of Regents of the world's largest repository and distributor of medical information-the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Mitchell is one of the country's leading experts and scholars in biomedical informatics, the science of using computers to gather, manage, and analyze biomedical and patient information to improve individualized patient health care. She was asked by NLM Director Donald Lindberg, M.D., to join the library's Board of Regents and her appointment was approved in August by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The appointment distinguishes not just Mitchell, but the University as well, according to Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences. "National appointments such as this are given with great consideration. Dr. Mitchell's appointment speaks highly not only of her reputation but also of our Department of Biomedical Informatics, which is undisputedly one of the finest anywhere," Betz said. "I'm sure Dr. Mitchell's expertise in biomedical informatics will be of great use to the National Library of Medicine."

As a member of the Board of Regents, which comprises 10 appointed and nine ex officio members, Mitchell will help advise and guide the NLM as it manages a worldwide flow of medical information. The NLM houses not only rare 11th Century manuscripts and the latest scientific journals, but also holds vast computer records of the latest research and  discoveries in everything from the human genome project to information on toxic spills in the environment.

Assembling such information is only the start of what the NLM does, according to Mitchell, who is also president of the American College of Medical Informatics. The library also acts as a worldwide clearinghouse for information about medicine, biological sciences, genetics, the environment, clinical trials, health care, clinical research, electronic medical records, and other scientific and biomedical topics. 

"All of what the National Library of Medicine presents has biomedical informatics at its core," Mitchell says. "Being on the Board of Regents is an incredible opportunity to help guide that remarkable institution as it goes into the future."

Mitchell, who joined the U of U Department of Biomedical Informatics as professor and chair in 2005, also is U of U health sciences associate vice president for information technology services. The biomedical informatics department, part of the U of U School of Medicine, is the oldest and one of the most respected biomedical informatics departments in the country. The former department chair, Homer R. Warner, M.D., Ph.D., pioneered the discipline of biomedical informatics, establishing the U of U as a leader in the field.

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