The Children's Hospital Informatics Program

Over the last ten years, our group the Children's Hospital Informatics Program, or CHIP, at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology has been at the forefront of research into the technical, legal and operational issues surrounding electronic health records, population health monitoring, and patient privacy. With funding from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, CHIP has developed the IndivoHealth PCHR platform, a secure system for managing patient health records which has been incorporated into one of the four National Health Information Network projects sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology. Indivo will also be rolled out at several institutions in the next year. The Indivo software and associated standards have been released for public use under an open source licensing arrangement.


Kenneth D. Mandl, MD, MPH

Kenneth D. Mandl is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Affiliated Faculty at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and has joint appointments in the Children’s Hospital Boston Informatics Program and Division of Emergency Medicine. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric emergency physician and received his doctorate in medicine from Harvard Medical School in 1989, and his Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1995. He completed graduate work in medical informatics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Mandl is an expert on real time population health monitoring and has published several of the ground breaking journal articles in the field. He co-directs one of two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers of Excellence in Public Health Informatics (PHIConnect).. He has built and runs the syndromic surveillance system for Massachusetts and is developing advanced methods for the national Biosense system. He receives funding from the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) and CDC to develop automated regional real time population health monitoring systems, systems as well as information management tools to support patients, clinicians, hospitals, public health officials, and researchers, under normal and disaster conditions.

His work in this area recently earned him the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is “the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.”

As a faculty member of the Center for Biomedical Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is now focusing these surveillance methods on the problem of post-marketing surveillance of efficacy and toxicity of pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Mandl has been a pioneer in consumer-focused health informatics. He is a primary investigator on the Indivo project--a scalable system for ubiquitous, longitudinal, inter-institutional, web-based personal health records, funded by the NIH, the CDC and the Markle Foundation.

He has authored more than fifty peer-reviewed articles in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annals of Internal Medicine, the British Medical Journal, the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and the Lancet. His work has been reported on widely including pieces in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, The Scientist, and Nature.

William C. Crawford

William C. Crawford is a staff member in the Office of Policy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the United States Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. His primary focus is Healthcare Information Technology.

In addition, Mr. Crawford is part of the Biomedical Enterprise Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An authority on enterprise technology in healthcare, he is the author of several books and numerous articles on software development. His involvement with personally controlled medical records stretches back to 1995, when he first became involved in the W3-EMRS project at the Children's Hospital Informatics Program.

Mr. Crawford was Chief Technology Officer at Invantage, Inc., a venture backed provider of clinical trial management systems, and Director of Product Technology at the Perceptive Informatics subsidiary of PAREXEL Corporation. At Invantage he led the development of a several ground-breaking products focused on accelerating clinical trials and linking clinical investigators, patients and pharmaceutical sponsors via the World Wide Web. As an independent consultant he has worked with healthcare and IT companies globally. He received his BA in Economics from Yale University, where he was President of the Yale Political Union, and is currently on leave from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Program Committee

Chairs and Program Committee
Ben Reis, Zak Kohane, Will Crawford, Ken Mandl, Elissa Weitzman, Keith Strier, Patrick Taylor

Isaac S. Kohane, MD, PhD, Chair

Isaac (Zak) Kohane is the director of the Children�s Hospital Informatics Program and is the Henderson Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kohane leads multiple collaborations at Harvard Medical School and its hospital affiliates in the use of genomics and computer science to study cancer and the development of the brain (with emphasis on autism). He also has developed several computer systems to allow multiple hospital systems to be used as �living laboratories� to study the genetic basis of disease while preserving patient privacy. He is funded by the National Institutes of Health with over $40 million.

Dr. Kohane has published over 130 papers in the medical literature and authored a widely used book on Microarrays for an Integrative Genomics. He has been elected to multiple honor societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American College of Medical Informatics. He leads a doctoral program in genomics and bioinformatics at MIT. He is also a practicing pediatric endocrinologist and father of three energetic children.

Ben Reis, PhD

Dr. Ben Reis is a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School and at the Children's Hospital Informatics Program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology. He has previously worked as a management consultant with Mckinsey and Company, and at the Markle Foundation as a manager in the Health program, working to help consumers, patients, and health care providers use information technology to improve health and health care. Dr. Reis has spoken on the benefits and challenges of open source and health IT, and has worked with public health authorities on practical surveillance issues, including the Hellenic Centers for Disease Control to establish a biosurveillance system for the Athens 2004 Olympics, and the Hong Kong Center for Health Protection on establishing electronic health surveillance in the wake of the SARS epidemic and in anticipation of Avian Influenza.

Dr. Reis holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where he attended as a Marshall Scholar. He completed his postgraduate training at Harvard Medical School, where he held an NIH Fellowship in Health Informatics, focusing on functional genomics, clinical informatics and public health surveillance.

Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc

Elissa R. Weitzman, ScD, MSc, is research faculty with the Children�s Hospital Informatics Program and with the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. . She is a collaborating Principal Investigator within the CDC Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics at Harvard where she is developing multiple tests of PCHR-based systems. For the past decade she has led national survey-based studies of youth health risk behaviors and used them to inform comprehensive community prevention initiatives and their evaluation (for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute of Drug Abuse). She has also collaborated on multiple national evaluations of health services demonstration efforts focused on wide ranging issues, including ones targeting improved cancer screening, integration of primary care and substance abuse services to address HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, use of emergency services to ameliorate adverse effects of heart attacks, integration of public health and community corrections systems in support of continuity of care around tuberculosis treatment. Building on her extensive survey/surveillance, community intervention and health services research, Dr. Weitzman is pioneering the field of public health informatics through developing tests of the acceptability, use and impacts of survey-enabled personal health record systems to advance health communications with providers, life course or longitudinal cohort studies and evidence-based community health interventions. Dr. Weitzman holds a Doctorate in Health and Social Behavior and Psychiatric Epidemiology and a Masters in Health Policy and Management from the HSPH and a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Brandeis University. She is a former Fellow in Medical Ethics at HMS and was the Norman E. Zinberg Faculty Fellow for Public Health in Psychiatry, also at HMS. She is widely published in her field and her work has been featured in reports by CNN, Psychology Today, U.S. News and World Reports, and other media.