Health Informatics team wins Distinguished Paper Award at AMIA symposium

V.G. Vinod Vydiswaran

A paper co-authored by faculty members from the Schools of Information and Public Health was honored with the Distinguished Paper Award at the 2014 American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium, held Nov. 19 in Washington, DC.

“Mining Consumer Health Vocabulary form Community-Generated Text” was co-written by V.G.Vinod Vydiswaran, UMSI research fellow and investigator; Qiaozhu Mei, UMSI associate professor; David Hanauer, associate professor at UMSI and the U-M Medical School; and Kai Zheng, UMSI and SPH associate professor, and director of the Health Informatics program.

Roughly 250 papers were submitted for consideration in at the Symposium, which is the leading scientific meeting for biomedical and health informatics research and practice. Only three papers were recognized with Distinguished Paper Awards.

In the paper, Vydiswaran, Mei, Hanauer and Zheng propose a novel text mining approach to identify and label synonymous pairs of professional and consumer terms from Wikipedia articles. A consumer health vocabulary built this way can be a valuable resource used to enhance the performance of medical natural language processing and information retrieval applications over consumer-generated health text. The extracted vocabulary has been released publicly to aid health informatics researchers. 

A number of other UMSI faculty members and students were also recognized by AMIA during the conference:

  • Charles Friedman, co-director of the Health Informatics program and department chair and Josiah Macy Jr. Professor of the Medical School’s Department of Learning Health Sciences, received the 2014 AMIA Leadership Award. He was honored along with Gilad Kuperman from New York Presbyterian Hospital. The award recognizes the pair for their contribution advancing AMIA’s efforts in accreditation of master’s degree programs in health informatics. 
  • Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor in the Schools of Information and Public Health, was honored with the 2014 New Investigator Award, which recognizes an individual for early informatics contributions and significant scholarly contributions on the basis of scientific merit and research excellence.
  • PhD student Allen Flynn won second place in the AMIA Student Paper Competition for his paper “MedMinify: An Advice-giving System for Simplifying the Schedules of Daily Home Medication Regimens Used to Treat Chronic Conditions.”
  • PhD student Danny Wu received the Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH) Best Poster Award. WISH is a pre-AMIA workshop held each year.  

This year’s award winners joined a growing list of faculty members from the Health Informatics program who have been recognized by AMIA in recent years:

  • 2012: Charles Friedman, Don Eugene Detmer Award for Health Policy Contributions in Informatics
  • 2012: Kai Zheng, Distinguished Poster Award
  • 2011: Kai Zheng, New Investigator Award
  • 2008: David Hanauer and Kai Zheng, Distinguished Poster Award 
Posted December 2, 2014