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Robert L. Davis, MD, MPH, Named Director of Center in Biomedical Informatics at UTHSC and UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair in Biomedical Informatics


14th Governor’s Chair Appointed in the UT System

Robert L. Davis, MD, MPH
Robert L. Davis, MD, MPH

David M. Stern, MD, executive dean for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine and vice chancellor of Health Affairs, has appointed Robert L. Davis, MD, MPH, as founding director of the UTHSC Center in Biomedical Informatics and the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair in Biomedical Informatics.Dr. Davis is the 14th Governor’s Chair appointed in the UT System. He will also serve as a professor in the UTHSC Department of Pediatrics. Based on the UT Health Science Center’s main campus in Memphis, Dr. Davis plans to assume his new responsibilities in December.

Bringing more than two decades of public health, epidemiology and data management experience to UTHSC, Dr. Davis will focus on major initiatives that include developing a premier program in biomedical informatics in partnership with faculty at UTHSC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); serving as supervisor of the research component of the Center of Biomedical Informatics via development of research programs and research recruitments; building collaborative relationships with clinicians and researchers who are interested and have the skill set to do research in biomedical informatics; providing guidance and oversight of the research activities in the center; and developing educational programs for campus faculty in the area of informatics as applied to a wide range of research disciplines, including clinical research, health services research, epidemiology and patient-centered outcomes research.

“Improving the health of our community for both the short and long term means we have to analyze and understand more disease-specific data as it relates to the clinical care our patients receive,” Dr. Stern said. “Being able to bring together vast databases, like the one for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with the well-established computing capability of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UTHSC with expertise in study design and epidemiology is an exciting opportunity. In the hands of experienced informatics professionals like Dr. Davis, research data becomes an invaluable tool to measure the effectiveness of therapeutics and their impact on human health.”

Dr. Davis comes to UTHSC from his position as director of the Center for Health Research Southeast with Kaiser Permanente Georgia, a position he held since 2007. He has also served as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, Ga., since 2007 and as affiliate faculty in the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health since 2006. Prior to these posts, he held a number of research, academic and clinical appointments, with increasing levels of responsibility, in the areas of immunization safety, health services, human development and disability, group health, pediatrics and epidemiology.

Earning his MD at the University of California at San Diego, he then pursued a transitional internship at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore., and a pediatrics residency at Oregon Health Sciences University. His postgraduate training includes two years as a member of the Centers for Disease Control Epidemiology Intelligence Service Division of Field Services, Washington State Department of Health. Dr. Davis holds an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle, Wash.

An engaged clinician, academician and researcher, Dr. Davis has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on some 40 grants. He has penned more than 150 articles for scientific publications; contributed chapters to and written several books, plus produced a wide range of manuscripts, abstracts and scientific technical reports. Among his many industry honors, he received the National Research Service Award from 1991-1993; the Outstanding Scientific Contribution of Public Health Award to Group B Streptococcal Prevention Team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2000, and; the Best Article Award from Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety in 2007.

Dr. Davis’ special national responsibilities include serving on the Vaccine and Related Biologics Products Advisory Committee from 2007-present; Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines from 2006-2007; Reviewer for “Risk-Based Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration” reports – National Research Council Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology in 2010, and; Advisory Committee, Secretary’s Advisory Committee Heritable Disorders Newborn and Children from 2008-2012.