Columbia’s Suzanne Bakken to Receive Collen Award in Informatics

Sept. 29, 2023
American College of Medical Informatics says the integration of a health equity lens in the field of informatics has been Bakken’s life’s work

Suzanne R. Bakken, Ph.D., R.N., will receive the 2023 Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence from the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) in November. Her research has focused on the intersection of informatics and health equity for more than 30 years.

Bakken is the Alumni Professor of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Informatics; Executive Director, Center for Community-Engaged Health Informatics and Data Science; Co-Director, Reducing Health Disparities Through Informatics Pre- and Post-doctoral Training Program at Columbia University where she leads the Center for Community-Engaged Health Informatics and Data Sciences and co-leads the NINR Reducing Health Disparities Through Informatics (RHeaDI) Pre- and Post-Doctoral Training Program, which she initiated in 2002.

ACMI is a college of elected fellows who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of biomedical informatics.

Given in honor of Morris F. Collen, M.D., a longtime Kaiser Permanente physician executive and a thought leader in the field of medical informatics, this award is presented to an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting impression on the field. The award is determined by ACMI’s Awards Committee.

This is the second year in a row the award has gone to an informaticist associated with Columbia. In 2022, the award went to George Hripcsak, M.D., M.S., the Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia.

“ACMI is pleased to recognize and congratulate Dr. Bakken on a career of singular achievements, consistent thought leadership and educational innovation. She has made superior contributions to the informatics field,” said ACMI President Kevin B. Johnson, M.D., M.S., David L. Cohen University Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Computer and Information Science, Pediatrics, and Science Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, in a statement.

Bakken’s contributions are recognized internationally, and her expertise is sought in diverse corners of the healthcare ecosystem, ACMI said. She is a nurse, a professional pursuit that led her to systems science as an approach to nursing—the ability to scale interventions and help more than a single patient. Her deep commitment to clinical practice and interdisciplinary team science informed by technology has guided her core work focused on patient care outcomes, quality of life, and reducing health disparities. The integration of a health equity lens in the field of informatics has been her life’s work in research, education, training and mentoring future leaders.

ACMI noted that her current role as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) represents a full-circle professional achievement. She was a published author in the journal’s first 1994 publication—volume one, issue one.  To rise to a position of influence as a journal editor impacting the entire field is laudable.

As a mentor with a particular interest in women and people traditionally underrepresented in medicine, she has lifted the careers of hundreds. There is new research and practice conducted today as a direct result of Bakken’s commitment to training and empowering researchers and clinicians.

Bakken is also a leader in policy development and is currently a member of the NIH Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee and is co-leading the NIH ENGAGE Working Group which aims to increase patient and community engagement across the research life cycle.  

Her work has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the National Library of Medicine. Dr. Bakken is a member of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Methodology Committee. She previously served on the Board of Regents for the National Library of Medicine.  

Bakken received her doctorate in nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in medical informatics at Stanford University.  

She will receive the award on Nov. 12 during the opening session of the AMIA 2023 Annual Symposium in New Orleans.  

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