Patricia Flatley Brennan, Nursing Informatics Leader, Appointed New Director of National Library of Medicine

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today NIH director Francis Collins, MD, PhD announced the appointment of Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, as the new Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), successor to Donald, A.B. Lindberg, MD, who held the post with distinction for 30 years and retired in 2015. Dr. Lindberg was the first president of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). Dr. Brennan follows in his footsteps bringing 30+ years of informatics thought leadership to the NLM. Dr. Brennan is a veteran clinician, educator, researcher and author.

Dr. Brennan served as the President (now Chair) of the AMIA Board of Directors (2000-2001) and is currently serving on the Women in AMIA Task Force to study and connect the AMIA strategic plan to an expressed commitment offering opportunities for career advancement and leadership development opportunities. She is the 2015 award winner of AMIA's Virginia K. Saba Informatics Award recognizing an individual’s distinguished career and significant impact on the care of patients, the discipline of nursing and a substantial record of contribution to the field of nursing informatics.

The announcement heralds a generational shift for the 180-year-old institution. The NLM has always focused on information innovation, now even more so with the importance of health data and informatics and the pressing need to translate biomedical research into practice. Dr. Brennan will oversee a staff of 1,700+ for an organization that supports and conducts research, development and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology. Housing the largest biomedical library in the world, Medline/PubMed, the Human Genome Project, and includes nearly 19 million books, journals, manuscripts, and media. The NLM is keeper and disseminator of the nation’s intellectual treasury on biomedical research, disease, and health. It is an international resource and the public face of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Brennan's, most recent academic appointment is as the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor, at the School of Nursing and College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also held several academic positions at Marquette University, Milwaukee; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Dr. Brennan’s commitment to patients, informatics and research makes her appointment to this position ideal. She has been both an important mentor and a friend, and we are so proud of her past accomplishments in the informatics community while looking forward to her continued contributions in her new role. This is a tremendous acknowledgement of her leadership, knowledge and skills,” said Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD, President and CEO of AMIA.

She developed ComputerLink, an electronic network designed to reduce isolation and improve self-care among home care patients and directed HeartCare, a web-based information and communication service that helped home-dwelling cardiac patients recover faster, and with fewer symptoms.

Dr. Brennan directed Project HealthDesign, an initiative designed to stimulate the next generation of personal health records. She also conducts external evaluations of novel HIT architectures, and works to repurpose engineering methods for health care purposes. She leads the Living Environments Laboratory at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, which includes a 6-sided virtual reality CAVE that her group uses to re-create visually every environment on earth, and develop new ways for effective visualization of high dimensional data.

Dr. Brennan received a master of science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is fellow of both the American Academy of Nursing (1991) and the American College of Medical Informatics (1993). Dr. Brennan was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 2001, and in 2009 became an elected member of the New York Academy of Medicine.

About AMIA

AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, is the center of action for 5,000 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. As the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals, AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the effect of health innovations on health policy, and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.