Regenstrief CEO begins new chapter

'Through Bill Tierney's aspirations for better health, he has locally and globally advanced the field of healthcare informatics'
By Bernie Monegain
10:17 AM
William Tierney, MD

After 35 years of research innovation and leadership at Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, William Tierney, MD, Regenstrief's president and CEO, is headed to Austin, Texas, where he will take on population health.

Come January 2016, Tierney will take the Inaugural Chair of Population Health for the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Tierney, an internationally recognized leader in medical informatics and health services research, has devoted his career to creating innovation, value and efficiency in healthcare delivery while at Regenstrief, known as one of the country's top research institutes.

[See slideshow: Meet AMIA's EHR Task Force and What will EHRs look like in 2020?.]

Closely affiliated with Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute is recognized for its role in improving quality of care, increasing efficiency of healthcare delivery, preventing medical errors and enhancing patient safety.

The Dell Medical School's Department of Population Health will partner with strong, existing community and academic programs to create new strategies and programs to improve overall health and well-being among the residents of Austin and Travis County, Tierney said in a news release announcing his move.

In Texas, Tierney plans to assemble a team to work with a range of providers, community organizations and other partners to improve health through increasing access to primary care specialties, enhancing public health activities, improving health services, strengthening community-based participatory research, and developing a state-of-the-art health informatics infrastructure for Austin and Travis County, among other things.

"The Dell Medical School has taken on the responsibility of improving the health of the people of Austin and Travis County, enhancing their happiness and well-being. I fully support that goal," Tierney said in a news release. "The people of Travis County have made a visionary investment in this medical school, and the department of population health will provide dividends on that investment by creating innovative collaborative models to help people get and stay healthy."

Clay Johnston, MD, the Dell Medical School's inaugural dean, said Tierney and his team will improve health across the community in ways that help realize the medical school's vision of a vital, inclusive health ecosystem, while also making Travis County a model for the nation in population health. He noted that the Dell Medical School is among few medical schools nationally to create a department of population health and focus on using teams of health care professionals to improve health of large populations – a crucial goal in trying to design health systems that better serve society.

"The opportunity to transform Austin into a model healthy city is really unmatched, and our ability to bring an international leader like Bill into the School is further demonstration that we are building momentum to make this a powerhouse of innovation in health," Johnston added. "They'll work closely with our partners across the community to ensure that Travis County residents benefit from the most creative, forward-looking health efforts in everything from treating diabetes to improving exercise and nutrition to supporting the elderly population."

In addition to leading the Regenstrief Institute, Tierney is associate dean for clinical effectiveness research at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he attended medical school and completed a residency in internal medicine.

"Through Bill Tierney's aspirations for better health, he has locally and globally advanced the field of healthcare informatics," said Thane Peterson, executive operating officer of the Regenstrief Institute. "Bill is an exceptional leader with an unwavering commitment to reducing disease and improving lives."

[See also: Regenstrief gives clinicians CDS control.]

Tierney has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants and contracts totaling more than $32 million. He has authored or co-authored 290 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and is the past editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and co-editor-in-chief of Medical Care. He is a former president of the Society of General Internal Medicine, is a Master of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).

He led the team of Americans and Kenyans that implemented the first and most successful outpatient electronic medical record system in sub-Saharan Africa.

Although he is working already on his plan for population health in Austin, Tierney will officially join the Dell Medical School team in January.

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