Director, Senior Research Scientist, Center For Cognitive Studies In Medicine And Public Health

Vimla  Patel,  PhD, DSc, FRSC

Dr. Vimla Patel has joined NYAM as Senior Research Scientist and Director of a new Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health in November 2011. Additionally, Dr. Patel holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

Dr. Patel is an accomplished researcher in the areas of biomedical informatics, cognitive psychology and their application in health and medical care settings, especially in the areas of translation of evidence into practice. She seeks to understand how people learn and take up accurate information, whether it's young people, clinicians or the public, and what factors promote them to act on that learning. She has explored strategies for public engagement, team and group decision making, cross cultural communication, and the use of social media in prevention. All of this experience and expertise will greatly strengthen NYAM’s work to translate knowledge into practice in programs and policies on healthy aging, prevention and eliminating health disparities.

Dr. Patel comes to NYAM from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston where she was Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making. From 2007-09, she served as interim chair and vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. She was a Professor at Columbia University from 2000-07 and a member of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University from 1982-2000, where she was Professor of Medicine, Director of the Centre for Medical Education, and Director of the Cognitive Science Center. She earned her PhD in Educational Psychology at McGill in 1982.

A leader in adapting methods and theories from cognitive science and in innovating new approaches to translating knowledge into action, Dr. Patel’s research has explored the role of cognition in designing a safer clinical workplace, the complexity of group decision making underlying critical-care decisions, the generation of medical errors, and the impact of technology on human cognition for competent performance. With urban immigrant populations, she has looked at cognitive determinants of medical awareness and risk-taking behavior.

She was co-investigator on a major grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, focusing on patient-centered support through electronic health records. Currently, she directs a major five-year James S. McDonnell Foundation research project on Complexity and Error in Health Care with a focus on patient safety.

She is an associate editor of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics and sits on the editorial boards of Artificial Intelligence in Medicin and Advances in Health Science Education. Serving as an organizer of many meetings, workshops, and symposia, Dr. Patel is an active contributor to the fields of biomedical informatics, cognitive science, and clinical decision-making, and has over 250 scholarly publications.

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