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Stanford Report, January 19, 2000

Information technology reorganizes upon Shortliffe's departure


The scheduled departure of Edward H. Shortliffe, MD, PhD, has triggered a reorganization of the School of Medicine's information technology activities. Shortliffe, who will be leaving Stanford for Columbia University as of April 1, stepped down as School of Medicine Associate Dean of Information Resources and Technology, effective Dec. 31.

One of the changes will bring a familiar face back to the Medical Center as Stanford's Gerry Weitz returns to direct Medical Information Technology (MedIT), effective Feb. 7.

In announcing the new information technology organization, School of Medicine Dean Eugene A. Bauer, MD, noted that the library and educational computing will remain closely affiliated and integrated with the School's medical education structure. Director of Lane Library, Thomas Rindfleisch, and director of Stanford University Medical Media and Information Technologies (SUMMIT), Parvati Dev, PhD, both of whom formerly reported to Shortliffe, will now report to Senior Associate Dean for Education and Student Affairs Phyllis I. Gardner, MD.

In addition, Bauer has assigned responsibility for MedIT to Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration Michael Hindery.

"This decision returns us to the model we had until four years ago, and I am confident that it will best serve the School's needs in administrative computing, network services, Web activities and business information systems," Bauer said.

Earlier this month, Hindery announced that Weitz will return to the School of Medicine from the University, where he served as Director of Information Systems Architecture and was responsible for establishing and enforcing standards, guidelines and processes to help guide Stanford's information systems infrastructure. In addition, for the past 18 months, Weitz also acted as Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) Y2K coordinator, with responsibility for overseeing Y2K efforts within ITSS and assisting with the Universitywide Y2K project.

Prior to his University position, Weitz directed the Information Systems Group (ISG) for the School of Medicine from 1987 to 1998. In that post, he was responsible for administrative applications and technology support for the Dean's Office and for local area networking for the medical school. Previously, Weitz held other positions at Stanford, including senior programmer with Hospital Information Systems, computer systems specialist and director of Financial Information Systems.

While director of ISG, "Weitz served as an ardent advocate for the Medical School's information technology resources," said Hindery. "We are excited for Gerry's return and are confident that he will be able to provide the vision, leadership and direction necessary for the School of Medicine's administrative technology needs as we enter the new millennium," Hindery said.

Weitz replaces John Reuling as head of MedIT. Reuling, a Stanford University alumnus (class of 1985), served over time as associate director of ISG, director of MedNET and finally as director of MedIT from its inception in September 1998. He left Stanford as of Dec. 3.

At Columbia, Shortliffe will be professor and chair of the Department of Medical Informatics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and associate vice president for strategic information planning.

"I wish to acknowledge the many important contributions and leadership Ted Shorliffe has provided to the School of Medicine and University in his long career here," said Bauer. "Starting as a student and continuing as a professor and associate dean, Ted has been among the nation's leaders in medical informatics and computing. I am sorry to see him leave Stanford, but he is extremely qualified to be a department chair. Columbia is fortunate to get him and I thank Ted for his service to Stanford," said Bauer.

Shortliffe, a professor of medicine and an alumnus, ends a long association with Stanford, which began in 1970 when, as a Harvard graduate, he enrolled in the School of Medicine, earning a PhD in medical information sciences in 1975 and an MD in 1976. He interned at Massachusetts General Hospital and in 1977 returned to Stanford as a resident. In 1979 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of medicine, with a courtesy appointment in computer science. Over the years he held many positions at Stanford, including director of the medical sciences information training program, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and director of the Center for Advanced Medical Informatics at Stanford (CAMIS). He became a professor in 1990 and assumed his post as an associate dean in 1995. SR