HER: Ryan Shaw

Health Equity Reimagined

Solutions in Action: Spotlight

Digital Health Expert Designs Solutions ‘For Everyone, Not Just Privileged Few’

Ryan Shaw

Ryan Shaw has always been fascinated by science and technology. He built a computer in high school and majored in computer science in college. But halfway through college he switched his major to nursing.

“It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Shaw, who is now an Associate Professor with tenure at the Duke University School of Nursing. “I was young, lost and gained purpose with helping people and families.”

Shaw began his career as a registered nurse in cardiothoracic surgery and quickly became the go-to tech expert when NYU Langone Medical Center began using a new electronic health record system.

“I wanted to play a larger part in the digitization of healthcare and pursued a Masters in Nursing Informatics. The momentum continued and I received an Information Technology Fellowship for Nurses to pursue a PhD in Nursing Science at Duke. The rest was history.”

Ryan Shaw


Shaw serves as Director of Duke’s Health Innovation Lab, where he works with teams to develop and evaluate medical devices, some of which have received FDA clearance and are available on the market. He also teaches classes in health informatics and research methods, and mentors students to become the next generation of health scientists and clinicians.

“Duke is an amazing place. We have exceptional students, staff and faculty,” he said. “I feel lucky and thankful to be a part of our community.”

Through his work, Shaw hopes to create more accessible and proactive healthcare systems for all patients, families and communities. Improvements in technology are making it possible to provide insights into patients’ health by collecting data from their everyday environments.

“Health equity is a critical element towards creating digital health solutions that improve health outcomes for everyone, not just a privileged few,” he said. “I design nurse-led care models that are infused with technology that is accessible and usable by patients from diverse and underserved backgrounds.”

For those wondering what’s next in the field of digital health, Shaw has the answer.

“Robots – beep boop,” he said.

Associate Professor Ryan Shaw, PhD, RN, is working to create more accessible healthcare systems that can better serve all patients, not just those with the most resources.

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