In 2005, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine:
“It is the responsibility of those of us involved in today’s biomedical research enterprise to translate the remarkable scientific innovations we are witnessing into health gains for the nation... At no other time has the need for a robust, bidirectional information flow between basic and translational scientists been so necessary.”
In that publication, Dr. Zerhouni introduced his ideas to re-engineer the way clinical research was performed in the United States, with the realization that this cannot happen without input from the field of biomedical informatics. In addition to the key role that biomedical informatics has in driving translational science, it has an even bigger role in the newly emerging paradigm of BIG DATA in biomedicine. BIG DATA refers to the proliferation of data accruing in high volume, at high velocity, and in great variety. We all know how business exploits BIG DATA to enable financial lenders to rate credit applications, or how government agencies can profile criminal or terrorist suspects. The methods of biomedical informatics promise physicians to profile their patients, to recognize the best treatments for disease, and to help researchers discover potential cures by mining BIG DATA—a paradigm called “data driven medicine.” Accordingly, we have created this scholarly concentration in Informatics & Data-Driven Medicine (IDDM) to introduce students to the fundamental methods of IDDM and the opportunities to apply them in practice.
Students who study IDDM can gain exposure to critical research in areas such as: bioinformatics, medical informatics, medical data mining, computational genomics, structural genomics, pharmacogenomics, systems biology, and decision science.This program draws upon the resources of the Stanford Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR), a division within the Department of Medicine with a 20-year history of research in biomedical informatics, the Information Sciences in Imaging at Stanford (ISIS), a section within the Department of Radiology focusing on cutting edge imaging informatics research, and the Stanford Biomedical Informatics (BMI) Training Program, one of the top graduate programs in the United States for biomedical informatics training.