Johns Hopkins has named Christopher G. Chute, MD, DrPH as one of its four newly appointed Bloomberg Distinguished Professors. Dr. Chute is the chief health research information officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where he will focus on what the institution needs to manage its clinical data. The endowed professorships at Johns Hopkins are funded by a $350 million donation to the university by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and a Johns Hopkins alumnus.

Dr. Chute will be tasked with creating the necessary infrastructure and processes required for comparable and consistent clinical data — a considerable challenge at an organisation as large as Johns Hopkins.

"I'm here to catalyse a process that is already underway," Chute said. “…Clinical data hasn’t been a first-rank resource at Hopkins. But that’s changing radically,” he remarked, noting that many Johns Hopkins investigators currently work with outside institutions for outcomes research.

Impact at the Mayo Clinic

Dr. Chute spent 27 years at the Mayo Clinic, where he established the Division of Biomedical Informatics and oversaw an applied research and development program. He was a division chair for two decades, most recently serving as the head of Medical Informatics and Professor of Medical Informatics. He has been the principal or co-principal investigator on a number of federally funded grants.

At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Chute’s research focused on biomedical terminology and ontology, emphasising services for scalable terminology that can be used in both biology and medicine. He has also worked on high-throughput disease phenotyping methods using electronic medical records. 

The Jump to Johns Hopkins

"I had a choice between coasting to the finish line or taking on a tremendously difficult new challenge with the risk of not achieving everything I want to," Dr. Chute said. "It's just delightful, invigorating, and exciting. It's definitely fun.”

As with the other newly appointed Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, Dr. Chute will be affiliated with multiple Johns Hopkins schools and divisions to facilitate multidisciplinary research and reach students across the system. He will work within the School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine; the School of Nursing, Division of Health Informatics; and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management.

Background in Epidemiology and Statistics

Dr. Chute calls himself a “lapsed epidemiologist” — a reference to his early forays in the fields of epidemiology and statistics. He discovered that it was difficult to generate reliable results when crunching data that was often not comparable. "Getting an answer is easy once you have the data. The hard part is getting the data right,” he said.

His academic foundation includes many of the best schools in the US: AB and MD degrees from Brown University, an MPH and DrPH (in Epidemiology/Biostatistics) from Harvard, and a residency at Dartmouth College. He is board certified in internal medicine, and is an elected fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Epidemiology and the American College of Medical Informatics.

Sources: Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic

Image Credit: Mayo Clinic

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