I hope you are well in these challenging times. I am proud to lead a community demonstrating that data produced across the healthcare spectrum are the driving force of innovation and critical advancements. Many of us are working on the front lines of this pandemic – treating patients, working in public health settings to track its spread across communities, and leveraging data to answer pressing research questions. I know the demands of your time are unprecedented, but I want to provide you with a brief update about what is happening at AMIA. As mentioned in an earlier message, I am committed to transparency between the AMIA leadership and the AMIA membership.
There are a few key items I would like to report to you since our last Board of Directors meeting at the end of March:
Executive Search Task Force
The Board has decided to put a pause on our search for a new CEO. During the next Board meeting in July, the Executive Search Task Force will work with the Board to develop a new timeline to begin the search likely in the last quarter. Due to the financial implications AMIA has faced from the cancellation of the AMIA 2020 Informatics Summit and the move to a Virtual Clinical Informatics Conference, the Board believes this is necessary to reserve needed resources. We have a capable and committed staff and we are fortunate we can pause the search without losing forward momentum in our programming or our excellence in service.
AMIA continues along its path towards creating certification for health informatics professionals and the Health Informatics Certification Commission has been finalizing its plans for the AHIC program, including eligibility, exam development, and recertification. Joseph (Joe) Hales, PhD, FACMI, and Catherine (Cathy) Ivory, PhD, RNC-OB, RN-BC, FAAN, lead the Commission and shared an update on the work with the AMIA Board at the March meeting. Even with several Commission members being directly involved in responding to COVID-19, the Commission is working diligently on AHIC eligibility requirements and other key certification policies with the intent to announce those details as soon as possible. Expanding health informatics certification opportunities for professionals remains a mission critical activity for AMIA. In conjunction with this work, JAMIA will also publish the Health Informatics Practice Analysis (HI-PA). The HI-PA describes the tasks that HI professionals perform, and the knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks, and will be the basis for the HI certification exam.
Virtual Informatics Summit (VIS)
I applaud the efforts of the AMIA 2020 Informatics Summit Scientific Program Committee Leadership and the AMIA staff for an extremely successful VIS. The virtual Summit had more than 2,138 unique attendees over the course of four days, with many who were completely new to AMIA. There has been an overwhelming positive response to the efforts of this virtual event. During the Summit, I held a Virtual Listening Session posing questions to the audience. The audience was able to respond either over the phone during the session or by typing in responses to the chat box. This provided extremely valuable information and I want you to know your responses were heard. One of the main themes I heard throughout this session was the need for AMIA to be more diverse and inclusive. This leads me into my next update.
Strategic Planning Task Force
Over the course of the last several months, the Strategic Planning Task Force has convened to discuss AMIA’s strategic priorities moving forward in the next five years. One of the main initiatives we have been discussing is diversity and inclusion efforts. During the Listening Session at the VIS, the group who was mentioned most often of needing inclusivity were the public health and population health professionals. AMIA needs to do more digging on what diversity and inclusion means for our organization. We are incredibly unique in that we are a multidisciplinary and interprofessional organization. We all have different needs and goals. Our Strategic Planning Task Force continues to focus on this issue and the question: what does diversity and inclusion mean for AMIA? I welcome any thoughts you have in this space.
As noted in the beginning of this message, AMIA’s members are working in all capacities of the COVID-19 space. We created a Coronavirus Resource Center that houses some of the work by our members. We have a COVID-19 Webinar Series with members across all domains sharing their COVID-19 initiatives. We’ve had four webinars in the last two weeks, and we have two this week including an CD2H/NCATS webinar this afternoon and a Nursing Informatics Working Group webinar tomorrow. These webinars are free and open to anyone, so I encourage you to spread throughout your communities. JAMIA and ACI have also expedited the publishing process of any COVID-19 related research. You can find these articles on the AMIA Coronavirus Resource Center page.
Virtual Clinical Informatics Conference (VCIC)
Our registration is rising for the fully virtual Clinical Informatics Conference. Attendees will participate in a live streaming multi-track conference. This will be a full conference with the majority of presentations taking place. Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer at Google Health, will give the opening keynote. We will have late breaking sessions and COVID-19 spotlighted content. I will also host another Listening Session like the one held at the VIS. This is shaping up to be an outstanding event and I encourage you to register.
AMIA LEAD Fund
As part of our ongoing commitment to the development and success of informatics professionals at all stages in their careers, the AMIA LEAD fund is developing plans for targeted programs that will meet the needs of our community during this unprecedented time. Over the coming months, LEAD will be announcing opportunities intended to help our members continue to engage in AMIA-sponsored professional networking, scientific, and educational activities, particularly in those instances where recent economic hardships may otherwise prevent them from doing so. This is unique and essential role for the LEAD fund, in keeping with its objective to “pay it forward”, meeting the needs of members who are facing challenging circumstances
I know that this is an incredibly difficult and stressful time for everyone. I hope that you and yours remain safe and healthy.
Please reach out to me or any of our board members with questions, concerns, and your suggestions for AMIA’s role as we work to advance health care through informatics.