Rachel Richesson, MS, PhD, MPH, FACMI, a noted informaticist, joined the DUSON faculty in December 2011. Dr. Richesson earned her BS (Biology) at the University of Massachusetts in 1991, and holds graduate degrees in Community Health (MPH, 1995) and Health Informatics (MS, 2000 and PhD, 2003) from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. Her dissertation involved the integration of heterogeneous data from multiple emergency departments. Dr. Richesson spent 7 years as at the University of South Florida College of Medicine directing strategy for the identification and implementation of data standards for a variety of multi-national multi-site clinical research and epidemiological studies housed within the USF Department of Pediatrics, including the NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) and The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study.
Dr. Richesson has conducted original research on the quality and usability of various terminological data standards, particularly in the context of clinical research, and has presented dozens of posters and invited talks on the topic of data standards in clinical research. She has fostered numerous interdisciplinary research collaborations and is nationally and internationally recognized for her extensive clinical informatics experiences. In 2012, she edited Clinical Research Informatics, the first textbook dedicated to this topic, and co-authored several chapters.
Dr. Richesson is particularly interested in new applications and technologies and standards specifications that will increase the efficiency of clinical research data collection and analysis, and that will enable interoperability between clinical research and health care systems. She co-leads the Phenotyping, Data Standards, and Data Quality Core for the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, a demonstration program for the transformation of clinical trials based upon use of electronic health records (EHRs) and healthcare systems partnerships. In this role, she is developing standard approaches and guidance for the extraction of clinical data to support research and learning healthcare systems. She is also the co-lead of the Rare Diseases Task Force for the national distributed Patient Centered Outcomes Research Network (PCORnet), specifically promoting standardized EHR-based condition definitions (“computable phenotypes”) for rare diseases, and helping to develop a national research infrastructure that can support observational and interventional research for various types of conditions.
At DUSON, Dr. Richesson teaches Health Information Exchange Standards, Methods and Models (N410) and Health Information Systems (N409), supports informatics practica (N498), and co-teaches Data-Driven Health Care Improvements (N653). She also engages in informatics-focused initiatives across the Duke campus, particularly within the Duke Center for Health Informatics and Duke Clinical Research Institute programs. Dr. Richesson was elected as a fellow of the College of Medical Informatics 2014.