UTHealth professor elected to medical informatics board

Published November 27, 2012 by Sarah Kelly


HOUSTON - (Nov. 27, 2012) - Dean Sittig, Ph.D., professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Biomedical Informatics, was elected to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) board of directors.

“A member of the board holds a prestigious position and is elected by all AMIA voting members. Dr. Sittig being elected represents the impact of the contributions that he has made to the informatics community,” said Jiajie Zhang, Ph.D., Doris L. Ross Professor and interim dean of the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics. “We are very proud of his election to the board. It strengthens our school’s position as a national leader and innovator in informatics.”

Before deciding to run for election to the board of directors, Sittig has had many roles and honors as an AMIA member, starting when he joined in 1989.

Sittig has served as the assistant editor of JAMIA—AMIA’s journal—and as the associate editor of the new journal of Applied Clinical Informatics. He was on the program committee for the fall symposium and the spring meeting several times and served on other AMIA committees, task forces and as an active reviewer for JAMIA, the AMIA student paper competition and the annual fall symposium.

In addition, Sittig has won many awards including the 1987 Martin Epstein Award for best student paper and distinguished paper awards in 2008 and 2009. As a newly-elected member to the board of directors, he plans to continue his momentum.

“I was excited and proud for the opportunity to serve the organization that has been my professional home for the last 25 years,” said Sittig. “It is a great chance to help shape the future of the organization as the field continues to mature.

“I am particularly interested in continuing to develop the informatics certification program for non-board certified informaticists as well as the new AMIA distinguished member program, which seeks to identify and acknowledge those members of our society who have distinguished themselves in the field of biomedical informatics in the form of professional service, leadership, and/or scholarship.”

Sittig also plans to represent the wide-ranging views of both clinically and technically-focused informaticists working in academia and the informatics industry. He hopes to increase interaction between these two groups so that practicing informaticists can provide insight about the clinical systems that help implement informatics techniques and technologies and academic researchers can teach practicing informaticists about the history and intellectual basis of the field. He will begin serving on the board in 2013.

“We are at the beginning of the golden age of biomedical informatics,” said Sittig. “I cannot imagine a better time or venue (the AMIA board of directors) from which to help push the field of biomedical informatics to the next level of national prominence.”

Sittig is a member of the UT-Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality & Safety. He received his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in medical informatics from the University of Utah in 1988. In 1992, he was elected as a fellow in The American College of Medical Informatics.

Sittig's research interests center on the design, development, implementation and evaluation of all aspects of clinical information systems. In addition to his work on measuring the impact of clinical information systems on a large scale, he is working to improve our understanding of both the factors that lead to success as well as the unintended consequences associated with computer-based clinical decision support and provider order entry systems.

About the AMIA Board of Directors

The Board of Directors oversees AMIA, guides the organization’s policies and objectives and publishes monthly summaries of board meetings for members. Supported by dozens of committees that provide recommendations, the board meets monthly by telephone and twice per year in person.