Director Hired for UMKC Center for Health Insights

Lemuel Russell "Russ" Waitman also will teach at the School of Medicine, help lead UM System’s precision health effort
Russ Waitman

Lemuel Russell “Russ” Waitman, Ph.D., will join UMKC on Oct. 1 as the director of the Center for Health Insights at the School of Medicine. He also will be a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

The center partners with Truman Medical Centers and Cerner Health Facts to use de-identified health systems data to conduct data-driven research for biomedical discovery and to gain insights into usage and comparative effectiveness of treatment to improve patient safety and quality of care.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Waitman, who can help accelerate our research at the university to help improve health care for millions of people,” said Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. “We look forward to his leadership at the UMKC Center for Health Insights and expanding our outcomes research enterprise.”

Waitman also will spend time at the University of Missouri System’s campus in Columbia as the director of medical information for the NextGen Precision Health Institute, which fosters big data medical research at the UM system’s four campuses. He also will be the Columbia campus’ associate dean for informatics and vice chair for informatics and professor in its Department of Health Management and Informatics. He also will be an adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine there.

In his new position, Waitman plans to split his time between the campuses. He will work one day a week from his UMKC office at the School of Medicine and spend the rest of his time working from the Columbia campus.

“This is a transformational hire to the University of Missouri System, as MU and UMKC have jointly worked together to make a recruitment of this type happen,” said Richard Barohn, M.D., executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Missouri. “Dr. Waitman is a national leader in medical informatics and is well known around the country as an informatics researcher at the top of his field. We hope this is the first of a number of systemwide recruits that will further our mission to provide leading-edge research and world-class health care to Missourians.”

Waitman's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Waitman established the Greater Plains Collaborative, which linked the electronic medical records for a dozen academic health centers in the Midwest, Utah and Texas to enable investigators to access clinical data to perform leading-edge precision health research. The University of Missouri has been part of the Greater Plains Collaborative for several years as one of the collaborating sites.

“By working together, we have an opportunity to create a stronger environment for investigators from all schools.” —Russ Waitman

Since 2010, Waitman has served as a professor of internal medicine, the director of the Center for Medical Informatics and Enterprise Analytics, and as the associate vice chancellor for Enterprise Analytics at the University of Kansas Medical Center. There, he has worked to establish a strategy for clinical and translational research informatics for Frontiers, the Kansas and Kansas City NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award. Before his time at KU, Waitman served as a faculty member with the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he led their Computerized Provider Order Entry project, “WizOrder,” and its commercialization to McKesson Corp.

“I’ve enjoyed my collaborations with the University of Missouri over the past decade and am excited about this opportunity to enhance informatics across the campuses,” Waitman said. “By working together, we have an opportunity to create a stronger environment for investigators from all schools to engage patients and partner health systems in advancing health in Missouri and nationally. As a former Air Force medical service corps officer and military brat, I am also interested in the potential with Cerner to contribute to military members’ and veterans’ health.”

Waitman received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree and doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.


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Published: Aug 5, 2020

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