American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) President and CEO Douglas Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., has left the organization after five years.
AMIA announced Fridsma's departure on Friday but noted that it was effective January 1.
Fridsma wrote in a blog post on Friday that the AMIA board wants to move "in a new direction" and he said he respects that decision.
Karen Greenwood, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will serve as interim CEO while the board of directors begins the search for a replacement, the organization said.
“Doug’s leadership as AMIA’s longest-serving CEO over the past five years has resulted in significant positive impacts to the association, our members and the profession,” said outgoing AMIA Board Chair, Peter J. Embi, M.D., and incoming AMIA Board Chair, Patricia C. Dykes, Ph.D., in a joint statement.
“As we begin our strategic planning process that will anchor AMIA’s critical role advancing informatics over the next decade, we will build upon the strong foundation that has been expanded under Doug’s leadership. In particular, we look forward to continuing important work across AMIA’s educational offerings, impacts on policy, advancements in applied informatics, and focus on AMIA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives," Embi and Dykes said.
AMIA credited Fridsma with raising the visibility and importance of AMIA nationally and internationally through policy engagement and workforce development activities. Fridsma helped AMIA develop digital education and the health informatics certification program, set to launch in 2021, AMIA said.
He also worked with leading AMIA members to introduce a new philanthropic mission for AMIA through the LEAD Fund – Leadership Education and Awards Donation fund.
Health IT professionals expressed surprise at Fridsma's departure from AMIA. Ben Moscovitch with the Pew Charitable Trusts tweeted that Fridsma is a "visionary with unmatched patience in being able to explain the most complex topic in a way that anyone could understand."
.@Fridsma is a visionary with unmatched patience in being able to explain the most complex topic in a way that anyone could understand. Doug has always been generous with his knowledge & time—finding ways to inspire & solve problems with creativity & wisdom. Hats off to Doug 🙏 https://t.co/rXbsptTlvW— Ben Moscovitch (@benmoscovitch) January 4, 2020
Louise Schaper, Ph.D., CEO of the Health Informatics Society of Australia, tweeted that Fridsma's leadership in health informatics is "recognised and felt globally."
A well-respected health IT leaders, Fridsma previously served as the chief science officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) for five years. In the blog post, Fridsma wrote that AMIA is now seen as the "go-to place" for unbiased, evidence-based policy on informatics research, HIT, and informatics.
Over the last five years AMIA has strengthened the presence and leadership of women across the organization, Fridsma wrote, including the Women in AMIA program. And the organization has supported diversity initiatives such as the First Look program, an opportunity for members of underrepresented communities to be introduced to the informatics community, Fridsma said.