Provost's Interdisciplinary Seminar on Health Informatics

Milton Corn, Ph.D.
Acting Associate Director, Extramural Programs, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

"NIH Funding for Informatics"

April 20, 2001, 12:00 p.m.
Colonial Penn Center Auditorium
(3641 Locust Walk)

Abstract Biosketch

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) was an early adopter of information technology as a means of managing its literature collection, and soon migrated into a more general appreciation of the potential of informatics for medicine. NLM's grant programs in support of informatics research and for training of informaticians began almost 20 years ago. However, NIH in general had little interest and less respect for the "clinical" informatics that was the principal focus of medical informatics during the 1980s, and NLM, one of the smaller Institutes, remained the sole reliable supporter of the new field.

During the 1990s, the need for informatics was forced on the NIH campus by the growing realization that the large datasets generated by genomics and neuroscience research could not be efficiently handled by the primate cortex. The Human Genome and the Human Brain projects were early converts, although their interest was relatively narrow and did not result in a significant increase for informatics in general. In 1999, the BISTI report, which predicted a central role for biomedical computing in almost all future biological research, had an explosive effect on NIH with the result that many of the Institutes have now allocated significant resources to informatics research and to informatics training in a broad variety of programs.

Dr. Milton Corn is Associate Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and Director of the Library's grant programs, a principal source of funding for medical informatics research and training in the U.S. He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Medical School. He was trained in internal medicine at Harvard's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and in hematology at Johns Hopkins. Most of his academic career was spent at Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he held the appointment of Professor of Medicine. In 1984-85 he was Medical Director of Georgetown University Hospital, and subsequently served for four years as Dean of Georgetown's Medical School. He joined N.I.H. in 1990, and administers a broad spectrum of grant programs related to computers and telecommunications in biomedicine.

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