AMIA Annual Symposium Student Paper Competition

The AMIA Student Paper Competition is held annually at the AMIA Annual Symposium.  Student papers are selected by the Scientific Program Committee and forwarded to the Student Paper Advisory Committee (SPAC) which nominates eight finalist papers for presentation during the meeting. Based on a combination of the quality of the written paper and the subsequent clarity of the oral presentation, the judges select first, second, and third place award winners in recognition of the best student papers.  The first place paper is known as the Martin Epstein Award.

The judging of student paper presentations is held at a special session, normally just in advance of the opening session at the AMIA Symposium.  Each year the session features a collection of the very best research presented at the meeting. The student paper competition is supported by the Journal of Biomedical Informatics.

Current and past winners


  • 3rd Place: Mental Health Comorbidity Analysis in Pediatric Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Rhode Island Medical Claims Data, K. Brown, Brown University; I. Sarkar, Brown University, Rhode Island Quality Institute; E. Chen, Brown University
  • 2nd Place: Characterizing Database Granularity Using SNOMED-CT Hierarchy, A. Ostropolets, Columbia University; C. Reich, IQVIA; P. Ryan, Epidemiology Analytics, Janssen Research & Development; C. Weng, Columbia University; A. Molinaro, F. DeFalco, Epidemiology Analytics, Janssen Research & Development; J. Jonnagaddala, S. Liaw, University of New South Wales Sydney; H. Jeon, R. Park, Ajou University Graduate School of Medicine; M. Spotnitz, K. Natarajan, Columbia University; K. Kostka, G. Argyriou, IQVIA; R. Miller, A. Williams, Tufts Medical Center, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies; E. Minty, University of Calgary; J. Posada, Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research; G. Hripcsak, Columbia University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  • 1st Place: (Martin Epstein Award): Do Traditional BMI Categories Capture Future Obesity? A Comparison with Trajectories of BMI and Incidence of Cancer, C. Watson, University of Manchester, Manchester Cancer Research Centre, NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre; N. Geifman, University of Manchester


  • 3rd Place: An Interprofessional Approach to Workflow Evaluation Focused on the Electronic Health Record Using Time Motion Study Methods, Jessica Schwartz, Jonathan Elias, Cody Slater, Kenrick Cato, Sarah Collins Rossetti, Columbia University
  • 2nd Place: Assessing the Validity of a a priori Patient-trial Generalizability Score Using Real-world Data from a Large Clinical Data Research Network: A Colorectal Cancer Clinical Trial Case Study, Qian Li, University of Florida; Zhe He, Florida State University; Yi Guo, Hansi Zhang, Thomas J. George, William Hogan, University of Florida; Neil Charness, Florida State University; Jiang Bian, University of Florida
  • 1st Place: Comparison of Prediction Model Performance Updating Protocols: Using a Data-driven Testing Procedure to Guide Updating, Sharon E. Davis, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Robert A. Greevy, Vanderbilt University; Thomas A. Lasko, Colin Walsh, Michael Matheny, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


  • 3rd Place: Incorporating Knowledge-Driven Insights into a Collaborative Filtering Model to Facilitate the Differential Diagnosis of Rare Diseases, F. Shen, H. Liu, Mayo Clinic
  • 2nd Place: Low Screening Rates for Diabetes Mellitus Among Family Members of Affected Relatives, F. Polubriaginof, N. Shang, G. Hripcsak, N. Tatonetti, Columbia University; D. Vawdrey, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University
  • 1st Place: When an Alert is Not an Alert: A Pilot Study to Characterize Behavior and Cognition Associated with Medication Alerts, T. Reese, K. Kawamoto, G. Del Fiol, F. Drews, T. Taft, H. Kramer, C. Weir, University of Utah


  • 3rd Place: Routine Self-tracking of Health: Reasons, Facilitating Factors, and the Potential Impact on Health Management Practices, Mayara Costa Figueiredo, Clara Caldeira, Yunan Chen, Kai Zheng
  • 2nd Place: Formative Evaluation of CareNexus: a Tool for the Visualization and Management of Care Teams of Complex Pediatric Patients, Pallavi RanadeKharkar, Chuck Norlin, Guilherme Del Fiol
  • 1st Place: Classifying Acute Ischemic Stroke Onset Time Using Deep Imaging Features, King Chung Ho, William Speier, Suzie M. El-Saden, Corey W. Arnold


  • 3rd Place: Plexlines: Tracking Socio-communicative Behaviors Using Timeline Visualizations, J. Lee, H. Kong, K. Karahalios, S. Lin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2nd Place: SMASH: A Data-driven Informatics Method to Assist Experts in Characterizing Semantic Heterogeneity Among Data Elements, W. Brown, C. Weng, Columbia University; D. Vawdrey, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Value Insitute; A. Carballo-Diéguez, HIV Center for Clinical Behavioral Studies; S. Bakken, Columbia University
  • 1st Place: Content and Quality of Free-text Occupation Documentation in the Electronic Health Record, R. Aldekhyyel, University of Minnesota; E.Chen, Brown University; S. Rajamani, Y. Wang, G. Melton, University of Minnesota


  • 3rd Place: Desiderata for Major Eligibility Criteria in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials, M. Paulson, C. Weng, Columbia University
  • 2nd Place: Modeling Risk of Cardio-respiratory Instability as a Heterogeneous Process, L. Chen, A. Dubrawski, Carnegie Mellon University; M. Hravnak, G. Clermont, M. Pinsky, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1st Place: Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Prototype of a Learning Electronic Medical Record System, A. King, G. Cooper, H. Hochheiser, G. Clermont, S. Visweswaran, University of Pittsburgh


  • First Place/Martin Epstein Award: A Novel Method to Assess Incompleteness of Mammography Report Content, Francisco Gimenez, Stanford University; Yirong Wu, Elizabeth S. Burnside, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Daniel Rubin, Stanford University
  • Second Place: MedMinify: An Advice-giving System for Simplifying the Schedules of Daily Home Medication Regimens Used to Treat Chronic Conditions, Allen Flynn, University of Michigan
  • Third Place: Could Patient Self-reported Health Data Complement EHR for Phenotyping?, Daniel Fort, Columbia University; Adam Wilcox, Intermountain Healthcare; Chunhua Weng, Columbia University


  • First Place: Crowdsourcing the Verification of Relationships in Biomedical Ontologies, J. Mortensen, M. Musen, N. Noy, Stanford University
  • Second Place: Inferring the Semantic Relationships of Words within an Ontology Using Random Indexing: Applications to Pharmacogenomics, B. Percha, R. Altman, Stanford University
  • Third Place: Semantic Annotation of Clinical Events for Generating a Problem List, D. Mowery, P. Jordan, J. Wiebe, H. Harkema, University of Pittsburgh; W. Chapman, University of California San Diego


  • First place: Prognostic Physiology: Modeling Patient Severity in Intensive Care Units Using Radial Domain Folding, Rohit Joshi and Peter Szolovits; Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Second place: Phenome-Based Analysis as a Means for Discovering Context-Dependent Clinical Reference Ranges, Jeremy L Warner and Gil Alterovitz; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School and Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School
  • Third place: A Qualitative Analysis of EHR Clinical Document Synthesis by Clinicians, Oladimeji Farri, David S Pieckiewicz, Ahmed S Rahman, Terrence J Adam, Serguei V Pakhomov, and Genevieve B Melton; Institute for Health Informatics, College of Pharmacy, and Department of Surgery


  • First place: Evaluating Effectiveness of Clinical Alerts: a Signal Detection Approach, M. Ong and E. Coiera, University of New South Wales
  • Second place: Exploring Schizophrenia Drug-gene Interactions through Molecular Network and Pathway Modeling, D. Putnam, J. Sun, and Z. Zhao, Vanderbilt University
  • Third place: Naïve Electronic Health Record-based Phenotype Identification for Rheumatoid Arthritis, R. Carroll, A. Eyler, and J. Denny, Vanderbilt University


  • First place: Private Medical Record Linkage with Approximate Matching, E. Durham, Y. Xue; M. Kantarcioglu; B. Malin, Vanderbilt University
  • Second place: A Method to Compute Treatment Suggestions from Local Order Entry Data, J. Klann, Regenstrief Institute; J. Klann, Indiana University; G. Schadow, S. Downs, Regenstrief Institute
  • Third place: Disseminating Maternal Health Information to Rural Women: A User-Centered Design Framework, V. Parmar, Delft University of Technology


  • First place: Visualized Data Speeds Review of Potential Adverse Drug Events in Patients on Multiple Medications, Jon Duke, Regenstrief Institute
  • Second place: A Network-theoretic Approach for Translation across Open Biological Ontologies, Chintan Patel, Columbia University
  • Third place: Exploring Variation in User Adoption of Personalized Risk Calculator Estimates, Christopher Harle, University of Florida


  • First place: Using Computerized Provider Order Entry and Clinical Decision Support to Improve Primary-Care Physician Implementation of Consultants Medical Recommendations, Martin Were, Regenstrief Institute
  • Second place: Using Natural Language Processing to Improve Accuracy of Automated Notifiable Disease Reporting, Jeff Friedlin, Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School
  • Third place: Somatic Mutation Signatures of Cancer, Stephen Piccolo, University of Utah

2007 (tie for second place, no third place)

  • First place: SANDS: An Architecture for Clinical Decision Support in a National Health Information Network, Adam Wright, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Second place: Signout: A Collaborative Document with Implications for the Future of Clinical Information Systems, Daniel Stein, Columbia University
  • Second place: Use of Classification Models Based on Usage Data for the Selection of Infobutton Resources, Guilherme Del Fiol, University of Utah


  • Martin Epstein Award: Discovering Biological Guilds through Topological Abstraction, Gil Alterovitz and Marco F. Ramoni, MIT/Harvard, Cambridge, MA
  • Second place: Automated Development of Order Sets and Corollary Orders by Data Mining in an Ambulatory Computerized Physician Order Entry System, Adam Wright and Dean F. Sittig, Oregon Health & Science University, Northwest Permanente Medical Group, Portland OR
  • Third place: Task Analysis of Writing Hospital Admission Orders: Evidence of a Problem-Based Approach, Christopher Johnson and Roni F. Zeiger, Stanford Medical Informatics, Palo Alto, CA


  • First place: Design, Implementation, Use, and Preliminary Evaluation of SEBASTIAN, a Standards-based Web Service for Clinical Decision Support, Kensaku Kawamoto and David F. Lobach, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • Second place: Using Bayesian Networks to Predict Survival of Liver Transplant Patients, Nathan Hoot and Dominik Aronsky, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Third place: Patient-specific Models for Predicting the Outcomes of Patients With Community Acquired Pneumonia, Shyam Visweswaran and Gregory F. Cooper, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


  • First place: Text Categorization Models for Retrieval of High Quality Articles in Internal Medicine, Y. Aphinyanaphongs, and C.F. Aliferis, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Second place: The Cognitive Complexity of a Provider Order Entry Interface, J. Horsky, D.R. Kaufman, and V.L. Patel, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Third place: IndexFinder: A Method of Extracting Key Concepts from Clinical Texts for Indexing, Q. Zou, W.W. Chu, C. Morioka, G.H. Leazer, H. Kangarloo, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA


  • First place: Analysis of Identifier Performance Using a Deterministic Linkage Algorithm, S.J. Grannis, MD, J.M. Overhage, MD, PhD, and C.J. McDonald, MD, Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
  • Second place: Free-text Medical Document Retrieval Via Phrase-based Vector Space Model: W. Mao, MS, and W.W. Chu, PhD, Computer Science Department, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • Third place: Generating a Mortality Model From a Pediatric ICU (PICU) Database Utilizing Knowledge Discovery, C.E. Kennedy, MD, and N. Aoki, MD, PhD, MS, Department of Pediatrics, Critical Care Section, and Department of Information Technology, Baylor College of Medicine, and The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX


  • First place: Building ICU Artifact Detection Models with More Date in Less Time, Christine L. Tsien, PhD
  • Second place: Comparing Syntactic Complexity in Medical and non-Medical Corpora, David A. Cambell, MPhil
  • Third place: A Knowledge Model for the Interpretation and Visualization of NLP-parsed Discharged Summaries, Michael Krauthammer, MD


  • First place: Wendy W. Chapman, Department of Medical Informatics, University of Utah and LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Second place: Stephen Porter, MD, MPH, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Third place: Denise M. Goldsmith, MS, RN, Center for Clinical Computing, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA


  • First Place: Data Mining by Clinicians, Daniel J. Nigrin
  • Second Place: Using the Extensible Markup Lanaguage (XML) in Automated Clinical Practice Guidelines, Anil K. Dubey
  • Third Place: Vector-field Classification in Magnetic-resonance Angiography, Maria A. Tovar


  • John D. Halamka, M.D. -- Halamka JD, Safran C. Virtual consolidation of Boston's Beth Israel and New England Deaconess Hospitals via the World Wide Web. Proc AMIA Annu Fall Symp. 1997;:349-53.


  • Justin B. Starren, M.D., Ph.D. -- Starren J, Johnson SM.Notations for high efficiency data presentation in mammography. Proc AMIA Annu Fall Symp. 1996;:557-61.


  • Michael M. Wagner, M.D., Ph.D. -- Wagner MM, Cooper GF. Evaluation of a belief-network-based reminder system that learns from utility feedback. Proc Annu Symp Comput Appl Med Care. 1995;:666-72.


  • Lucila Ohno-Machado, M.D., Ph.D. -- Ohno-Machado L. Identification of low frequency patterns in backpropagation neural networks. Proc Annu Symp Comput Appl Med Care. 1994;:853-9.


  • Henri J. Suermondt -- Suermondt, H.J., Cooper, G.F. An evaluation of explanations of probabilistic inference, In: Proceedings of the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (1992) 579-585.


  • Thomas D. Wu --  Wu TD. A problem decomposition method for efficient diagnosis and interpretation of multiple disorders. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 1991 Aug;35(4):239-50.



  • R. Martin Chavez -- Chavez, R.M., Cooper, G.F. Hypermedia and randomized algorithms for medical expert systems,  Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 32 (1990) 5-16.




  • Dean F. Sittig, Ph.D. -- Sittig DF, Gardner RM, Pace NL, Morris AH, Beck E. Computerized management of patient care in a complex, controlled clinical trial in the intensive care unit. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 1989 Oct-Nov;30(2-3):77-84.


  • Glenn Rennels - A Computational Model of Reasoning from the Clinical Literature.  Information about the competition: ;  copy of the paper:


  • Gregory F. Cooper -- Cooper, G.F.  A diagnostic method that uses causal knowledge and linear programming in the application of Bayes' formula, Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 22 (1986) 223-237.


  • Atam P. Dhawan, Ph.D. --  Dhawan AP. Early detection of cutaneous malignant melanoma by three-dimensional nevoscopy. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 1985 Oct;21(1):59-68.


  • David J. Brailer, M.D., Ph.D.


  • Tom D. East --


  • Nitish V. Thakor -- Thakor NV, Webster JG, Tompkins WJ.  Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a microprocessor-based portable arrhythmia monitor. Med Biol Eng Comput 1984 Mar; 22(2) :151-9.


Although AMIA offers awards to research contributions by students at many of its events, the oldest Student Paper Competition awards date back to the early days of one of AMIA’s predecessor organizations, the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (SCAMC).  The first SCAMC meeting was held in Washington, DC (actually across the river at a hotel conference center in Arlington, VA) in 1977 and rapidly grew in size and influence.  The group that organized the meeting was eventually incorporated as SCAMC, Inc. and held the meeting every year in the Washington, DC area.  SCAMC was one of the three organizations (the others were the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) and the American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics (AAMSI)) that came together to form AMIA in 1988.  For the first few years of its existence, AMIA continued to call its annual symposium SCAMC, since that name had great familiarity in the informatics community.  Since the mid-1990s, the SCAMC name has no longer been used and today we refer to this large meeting every autumn simply as the AMIA Symposium.

In 1981, the organizers of the SCAMC meeting decided to introduce a competition that would recognize and honor research by students.  An early description of the award and the deliberations that led to its creation is available here.  The first awards were given that year and have continued annually since that time, first at the SCAMC meetings and now at the AMIA Symposium.

The Martin Epstein Award

Beginning in 1983, the first prize award in the Student Paper Competition became known as the Martin Epstein Award.  It was named after a beloved scientist and friend of the informatics community who directed the Medical Computer Science Research Group of the Lister Hill Center at the National Library of Medicine.  He died in early 1983 after a battle with lymphoma and his colleagues and family wanted him to be remembered not only for his professional accomplishments but for his love and support for students.

Dr. Epstein joined the NLM in 1980 but had been a member of the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps since 1964.  His initial assignment was at NIH, but he subsequently spent time in a PHS Traineeship at the University of California in San Francisco and Berkeley.  He also spent two years as a visiting scientist at SRI International in Menlo Park, California and enrolled in the doctoral program in Medical Information Sciences at UCSF, receiving his PhD in 1980.  Immediately recruited to NLM, he then took on the transformation of the research computing facilities and programs there – a project that was still underway when he took ill in mid-1982 and passed away in early 1983.  One of his close colleagues, Donald E. Walker of SRI, accurately said of Dr. Epstein:  “One of his most distinctive characteristics was his selflessness, his willingness to help everyone.  Another was his rigor, his insistence on personally knowing everything about an area before taking a position.  His knowledge of medicine was impressive; taken in conjunction with his familiarity with computer science and his mastery of the current literature in so many areas, his ability to assimilate was remarkable.  It was a privilege to know him.”

It was accordingly fitting that this young individual who was an early trailblazer in informatics should be honored and remembered by associating his name with the top award in the Student Paper Competition.