The Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) is one of 11 basic and social science departments of Harvard Medical School. Collectively these academic departments became known as the Blavatnik Institute in November 2018, in recognition of a historical gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
As defined by the American Medical Informatics Association, “biomedical informatics is the interdisciplinary, scientific field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health.”
Given that we have a solid definition of what the field is all about, few would argue that biomedical science or medical care is progressing as fast as we would like. Yet few also recognize that both of these endeavors are, at their heart, data and knowledge processing challenges of extraordinary difficulty. Yet in the decades ahead, the pace of data acquisition will continue to accelerate. The state of an individual will be characterized with increasing precision from the molecular level to genomic parameters to the organ level and for interactions with medications, nutrients, the microbiome, therapeutic devices, and the environment. The mission of the Department of Biomedical Informatics is to develop the methods, tools and infrastructure required for a new generation of biomedical investigators and care providers to move biomedicine, writ large, rapidly forward by taking full advantage of the insight and precision offered by these enormous data resources. Necessarily this will entail new educational offerings to further equip our future leaders with the essential quantitative approaches and tools.