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Randi Foraker, PhD

Current Affiliation

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Washington University, St. Louis


PhD, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MA, Health Promotion, University of Iowa
BA, K-12 Education and Spanish, University of Iowa

How do I describe my work to those outside the field

At the Institute for Informatics I² at Washington University, I direct the Center for Population Health Informatics. I apply my background in epidemiology – which includes expertise in study design and data analysis – to improving population health. My definition of “population” may be as granular as the patients seen in a particular clinic in our medical center or broadened to include those residing in the St. Louis region or entire countries. Doing this work requires interdisciplinary collaborations, specifically in the fields of public health, health services, and computer science, among others. Partnering with experts from distinct disciplines allows our work to be particularly innovative.

Years of experience:

I’ve been a faculty member for nine years, first at Ohio State University and now at Washington University.

Why Informatics? 

My passion is learning how to collect, analyze, and interpret data to benefit population health and to improve healthcare delivery. Informatics is the science which enables just that.  

What are your ambitions? At the end of your career, what do you hope to have accomplished?

I want to be known for applying novel approaches to solve problems in the population health domain, particularly among underserved populations. In the immediate term, I would like to strategically connect researchers and practitioners to ameliorate current threats to population health while training the next generation of scientists to address new issues that arise.

Who or what are your “key sources” in the informatics field?

I benefit greatly from connecting with colleagues and immersing myself in the science at AMIA meetings. I enjoy meeting with and learning from colleagues who “found” informatics along a different path than the one I have taken to get here.

Articles that spotlight my research interest

  1. Roth C, Payne PR, Weier RC, Shoben AB, Fletcher EN, Lai AM, Kelley MM, Foraker RE. The Geographic Distribution of Cardiovascular Health in the Stroke Prevention in Healthcare Delivery EnviRonmEnts (SPHERE) Study. J Biomed Inform. 2016;60:95-103. (PMCID: PMC4836963)
  2. Bower JK, Bollinger CE, Foraker RE, Hood DB, Shoben AB, Lai AM. Active use of electronic health records (EHRs) and personal health records (PHRs) for epidemiologic research. eGEMs. 2017;5(1):1263. (PMCID: PMC5340503)
  3. Foraker R. Opportunities for epidemiologists: from precision medicine to population health. Current Epidemiology Reports. 2017;4(4):266-268.
  4. Foraker R, Mann DL, Payne PRO. Are synthetic data derivatives the future of translational medicine? JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2018;3(5):716-718. (PMCID: PMC30456342)

Hobbies/Interests outside AMIA

My colleagues say it takes me less than five minutes within meeting someone to start talking about cars. I’ve always had a love for cars but in the last few years my passion has become drag racing. I use my data background to analyze weather and track conditions before and on race day.

AMIA is important to me because

It provides a great platform to interact with colleagues, learn about cutting-edge research, and shape the future of informatics as a discipline.

I am involved with AMIA

I am on the planning committee for the AMIA 2019 Informatics Educators Forum, hosted in St. Louis. I see the meeting as a great opportunity to learn best practices in education, particularly as curriculum delivery shifts to online or hybrid formats.

It may surprise people to know

I am a living kidney donor. It has given me a new perspective on life and has helped me to focus my work on making people healthier and preventing disease.