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Historic ACMI Biography

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Stephen Downs received his Bachelors degree in Applied Physics from Yale, and a Masters degree in Technology and Policy from MIT. He joined the U.S. Department of Commerce as a program officer in the Technology Opportunities program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and rose to become the director of that program. In this capabity he guided projects that experimented with community-level data sharing for complex diseases such as TB and HIV & AIDS, facilitating the precursor to contemporary health information exchanges. He also created funding programs to demonstrate the value of Web-based health information for low-income and underserved groups. In 2002 he moved to the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation, where at the time of his election to the College he was Assistant Vice President for Health. At RWJ, Downs has continued stimulation of innovation in information technology in support of public and citizen health through the creation and/or direction of over a dozen demonstration programs, representing more than $45 million of foundation support for projects ranging from Common Ground: Transforming Public Health Information Systems to OpenNotes, an innovative program engaging physicians in sharing progress notes directly with their patients. Downs has played a significant role in pushing the capacity of health information technology in novel directions likely to benefit the health of all. Stephen Downs also has held appointments to several significant Federal policy and advisory bodies including the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology HIT Policy Committee Workgroup on Adoption and Certification, the American Health Information Community (AHIC) Consumer Empowerment Workgroup, an expert panel in public health for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Library of Medicine strategic planning panels. DownsĂ­ collaboration with federal agencies and his commitment to public health resulted in the expansion of the NLM traineeship program to include a thrust in public health informatics. His election to the College recognizes this sustained leadership in establishing Federal and foundation funding for innovation in biomedical informatics.


The American College of Medical Informatics

ACMI is a college of elected Fellows from the U.S. and abroad who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics. It is the central body for a community of scholars and practitioners who are committed to advancing the informatics field.

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