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Rachel L. Richesson, MS, PhD, MPH, FACMI

Associate Professor
(919) 681-0825
2007 Pearson Building

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.

Academic Program Affiliations

  • Master of Science in Nursing Program
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Program


  • PhD - University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences
  • MS - University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences
  • MPH - University of Texas School of Public Health
  • BS - University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Awards and Honors

  • 2006 || Performance Award, Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), SDTM Terminology Package 1 and 2A Recommendations
  • 2002 || 1st Place Winner, Student Poster Contest, University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences
  • 1999 || Dean's Scholarship Award, University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • Informatics

Representative Publications

  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 25981416 Richesson, R. L. and Chute, C. G. Health information technology data standards get down to business: maturation within domains and the emergence of interoperability. J Am Med Inform Assoc. May, 2015 22(3); 492-4
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24434192 Richesson, R. L. An informatics framework for the standardized collection and analysis of medication data in networked research. J Biomed Inform. December, 2014 52 4-10
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25954361 Fung, K. W. and Richesson, R. and Bodenreider, O. Coverage of rare disease names in standard terminologies and implications for patients, providers, and research. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. November, 2014 2014 564-72 PMC4419993
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25123746 Richesson, R. L. and Horvath, M. M. and Rusincovitch, S. A. Clinical research informatics and electronic health record data. Yearb Med Inform. August, 2014 9(1); 215-23 PMC4287078
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24625507 Mooney, J. and Spalding, N. and Poland, F. and Grayson, P. and Leduc, R. and McAlear, C. A. and Richesson, R. L. and Shereff, D. and Merkel, P. A. and Watts, R. A. The informational needs of patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis-development of an informational needs questionnaire. Rheumatology (Oxford). August, 2014 53(8); 1414-21 PMC4103516
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24634202 Grayson, P. C. and Amudala, N. A. and McAlear, C. A. and Leduc, R. L. and Shereff, D. and Richesson, R. and Fraenkel, L. and Merkel, P. A. Causal attributions about disease onset and relapse in patients with systemic vasculitis. J Rheumatol. 41(5); 923-30 PMC4008683
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25717397 Blach, C. and Del Fiol, G. and Dundee, C. and Frund, J. and Richesson, R. and Smerek, M. and Walden, A. and Tenenbaum, J. D. Use of RxNorm and NDF-RT to normalize and characterize participant-reported medications in an i2b2-based research repository. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. April, 2014 2014 35-40 PMC4333688
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 23956018 Richesson, R. L. and Hammond, W. E. and Nahm, M. and Wixted, D. and Simon, G. E. and Robinson, J. G. and Bauck, A. E. and Cifelli, D. and Smerek, M. M. and Dickerson, J. and Laws, R. L. and Madigan, R. A. and Rusincovitch, S. A. and Kluchar, C. and Califf, R. M. Electronic health records based phenotyping in next-generation clinical trials: a perspective from the NIH Health Care Systems Collaboratory. J Am Med Inform Assoc. December, 2013 20(e2); e226-31 PMC3861929
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 24026307 Richesson, R. L. and Rusincovitch, S. A. and Wixted, D. and Batch, B. C. and Feinglos, M. N. and Miranda, M. L. and Hammond, W. E. and Califf, R. M. and Spratt, S. E. A comparison of phenotype definitions for diabetes mellitus. J Am Med Inform Assoc. December, 2013 20(e2); e319-26 PMC3861928
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 23861259 Grayson, P. C. and Amudala, N. A. and Mcalear, C. A. and Leduc, R. L. and Shereff, D. and Richesson, R. and Fraenkel, L. and Merkel, P. A. Illness perceptions and fatigue in systemic vasculitis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 65(11); 1835-43 PMC3962511


Grant Funding (Selected)

  • A Library of Standardized Patient Registry Questions for Rare Diseases

    National Library of Medicine
    1 RC1LM010455-01
    10/2009 to 09/2011
  • Rare Diseases Data and Technology Coordinating Center

    NINDS, National Institutes of Health
    U54 RR019259-02
    09/2009 to 08/2014
    Role: Co-investigator
  • Infrastructure to Support the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) project

    American Institutes for Research
    12/2010 to 01/2011
  • Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network Reproductive Health in Men and Women with Vasculitis

    Vasculitis Foundation
    07/2010 to 07/2011
    Role: co-PI
  • Rare Diseases Data and Technology Coordinating Center

    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), National Institutes of Health
    09/2003 to 07/2008
    Role: Co-investigator
  • Knowledge Mapping Across Disparate Patient Care Datasets

    National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health
    02/2002 to 01/2004
Monday, April 16, 2018

Duke University School of Nursing has selected Jamilah Harris and Julie Aly as the recipients of the 2018 Nursing Informatics Scholarships. Congratulations to Harris and Aly, who will each receive $20,000 to be distributed over two years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

At the annual AMIA 2018 Informatics Summit in San Franscisco which focuses on informatics research and innovation that facilitates translational research, two DUSON faculty papers were recognized. Hyeoneui Kim's paper entitled "iCONCUR: informed consent for clinical data and bio-sample use for research" and Rachel Richesson's paper entitled "Pragmatic (trial) informatics: a perspective from the NIH Health Care Systems Researach Collaboratory." 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Center for Nursing Research recently announced its small grant awardees: 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) will host the 2018 Harriet Cook Carter Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at 3 p.m. at the Christine Siegler Pearson Building in room 1014. The keynote speaker is Patricia Flatley Brennan, Rn, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine. Brennan will present on “Transforming Data into Knowledge and Knowledge into Health: The NLM Strategic Plan 2017-2027.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Rachel Richesson will teach a professional education course for the 10x10 with Duke Center for Health Informatics at Duke University on "Data Standards for Learning Health Systems"  through the American Medical Informatics Association. The online course will run from September 4 to November 4.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rachel Richesson was recently appointed associate director of research at the Duke Center for Health Informatics (DCHI). In this role she will help promote biomedical informatics research at Duke by collaborating with DCHI on its interdisciplinary approach for education and research designed to bring together informaticians, physicians, nurses, and health care administrators with expertise in aggregation, analysis, and use of informatics to improve human health.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rachel Richesson recently published an article entitled "Pragmatic (trial) informatics: a perspective from the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory" in the March issue of the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rachel Richesson and a team of students were selected to present their project entitled "Quantifying Rare Diseases in Duke Health System" as part of the Duke University Data+ Projects with Duke Information Initiative at Duke.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rachel Richesson offers professional education course to develop national capacity for learning health with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA).

The AMIA 10x10 course entitled "Data Standards for Learning Health Systems” will educate clinical leaders on how to leverage and improve information systems to support the rapid implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practices and to generate new evidence for continuous health care improvements.