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January 25, 2016

Podcast: Dave Ross on his journey from rocket science to informatics

Today marks the release of the first ever episode of “Inform Me, Informatics,” a podcast all about public health informatics. You can listen to Episode 1 on SoundCloud or subscribe on iTunes. In this episode, our very own Dr. David Ross describes how his professional journey took him from missile engineering to public health informatics. Dave also talks about how he defines this emerging discipline.

Dave and I recording the audio for this episode.

So why does this podcast exist? I promise it’s not because I love the sound of my own voice. I’ve worked at PHII for over a year, and I still don’t have a clear, succinct way of describing informatics. Instead, I will say vague things about electronic health records and then—get ready for it—“Computers talking to each other.” I’ll probably even interlace my fingers and move them up and down as I say that part about computers talking. I hope I don’t get fired for admitting that, but there you have it.

In fact, according to some research done by PHII and its partners, I’m not the only one. You can check out Jessica Cook’s recent blog on some of this research. Turns out I’m in good company. We have information to show that public health practitioners place high priority on accurate, timely data. But if they hear the word “informatics,” they lose interest in what you’re saying.  At PHII we know that informatics is the bread and butter of good public health practice—gather the data, use those data to decide what to do. So we wanted to learn how talk about it in ways that would make listeners interested to learn more.

So voila—“Inform Me, Informatics” was born! I’m very grateful to everyone on PHII’s Academy and Communications teams that helped make it happen, and also Dave for being our first guest! We’re still learning as we go, and future episodes will have more stories of informatics in action. I hope you enjoy our inaugural episode.