Funding agency perspectives: the current landscape for human factors & social science research within informatics

September 30, 2016
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members
Teresa Zayas-Caban; Valerie Florance; Christine Dymek; Wendy Nilsen

The AMIA People and Organizational Issues Working Group and Evaluation Working Group are proud to co-sponsor this webinar. 
The purpose of this webinar is to learn about federal agency priorities for human factors and social science research within informatics. Leaders from NLM, ONC, AHRQ, and NSF will present their strategic and funding priorities as related to these domains. Webinar participants will be invited to ask questions regarding these priorities.

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to:

  • Describe how research related to human factors and social science in informatics fits into the strategic visions of AHRQ, NLM, ONC, and NSF,
  • Differentiate between funding priorities of organizations supporting human factors and social science research in informatics,
  • Articulate the ways in which their personal programs of research could align with the strategic visions and funding priorities of each organization.  

Speaker Information

1. Teresa Zayas-Caban, Ph.D., Senior Advisor to the Deputy National Coordinator, ONC
2. Valerie Florance, PhD, Associate Director for Extramural Programs, NLM
3. Christine Dymek, EdD, Director, Division of Health IT, AHRQ
4. Wendy Nilsen , PhD, Program Director, Smart and Connected Health, NSF

Teresa Zayas Cabán, PhD is Senior Advisor at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) where she co-leads ONC’s involvement in the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) and assists the Deputy National Coordinator in providing executive oversight for the activities of all ONC offices and supporting the National Coordinator in day-to-day operations and strategy for ONC.  Dr. Zayas Cabán was previously the Chief of Health IT Research Acting Director of the Division of Health IT at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  While at AHRQ she set new directions for their funding opportunities and coordinated with Federal partners such as the National Science Foundation. Dr. Zayas Cabán obtained her doctorate in industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in industrial engineering. While pursuing her doctoral degree, she also worked with Partners HealthCare Clinical Informatics Research and Development, Boston Children's Hospital Informatics Program, and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC)'s Cancer Care in Massachusetts (CAMA) project. Before joining AHRQ, she served as a post-doctoral trainee in the Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine program in at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Valerie Florance, Ph.D., is Associate Director for Extramural Programs at the National Library of Medicine, NIH. There, she has overall responsibility for research, resource, training, career transition and small business grant programs in biomedical informatics and data sciences. At NIH, she represents NLM on the Executive Committee of the trans-NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative and the NIH Common Fund committee that oversees high risk/high reward grant programs. Before coming to NLM in February 2001, she spent 3 years as Project Director for better_health @, a visioning project undertaken at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to help the association’s members understand the power of computers and networks for managing health information, and expanded the scope of participants to include nursing schools. Before that, she held faculty and administrative positions at three academic health science centers. She twice won MLA’s Ida and George Eliot Prize for published articles.  Her research interests are in the areas of knowledge representation for clinical problem solving, intelligent information retrieval systems, and workforce development in biomedical information sciences. She is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics. Dr. Florance has graduate degrees in library science, medical anthropology and information sciences.

Christine Dymek, EdD leads the work of the Division of Health Information Technology (IT) within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement. She is a computer scientist and health IT researcher who is dedicated to advancing the productive use of information technologies within healthcare. Prior to joining AHRQ, Chris was a program manager in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) where she led the HHS effort, supported by the Patient-centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, to build data capacity for patient-centered outcomes research. Chris has also held senior researcher positions within the Westat Center for Health IT and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. Preceding her work at Westat and NORC, she led an electronic medical record implementation for five Adventist Healthcare facilities. She also served as Chief Technology Officer and Product Development Executive at the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. In addition to her work in the health and human services sector, Chris has directed large scale IT implementations as well as re-engineering and organization effectiveness efforts for the electric utility industry.

Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D. is a Program Director for the Smart and Connected Health Program in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering at the National Science Foundation. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology and health.  This includes a wide range of methods for data collection, advanced analytics and the creation of effective cyber-human systems. Her interests span the areas of sensing, analytics, cyber-physical systems, information systems, big data and robotics.  More specifically, her efforts include: serving as cochair of the Health Information Technology Research and Development working group of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program; the lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement; convening workshops to address methodology in mobile technology research; serving on numerous federal technology initiatives; and, leading training institutes. Previously, Wendy was at the National Institutes of Health.