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October 7, 2015

PHII welcomes Senior Business Analyst J. Patrick Caneer

PHII is pleased to welcome new Senior Business Analyst J. Patrick Caneer to the Requirements Lab team. In this role, Patrick will provide analysis support to CHAMPS, a collaborative effort led by the Emory Global Health Institute and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PHII is a partnering organization on CHAMPS, along with the CDC, the International Association of National Public Health Institutes and Deloitte Consulting LLP. CHAMPS aims to reduce childhood mortality across the world, kicking off with an information-gathering phase focusing on sub-Sarahan Africa and south Asia to determine the leading causes of death among children under the age of 5 in these regions.

As a seasoned analyst with more than 15 years of experience in technology, business process improvement and custom software development, Patrick is a valuable addition to the team—but he wasn’t always a business process and data enthusiast.

After earning his B.S. in Healthcare Management from the University of Alabama, Patrick used his tech savvy to launch his career as a Web marketer and advertiser, but soon decided he was dissatisfied in the industry. “I didn’t enjoy trying to convince people to buy things they didn’t need,” he says. He wanted to do something more meaningful that used his degree. “My passion has always been trying to help people.”

Emory University served as a crucial catalyst for his career change. He began volunteering with Emory researchers, co-authoring several academic publications in the process. His work with Emory gave him the experience he needed to transition into a role with the Cleveland Clinic doing research in biomedical engineering. In this role, Patrick helped develop software for MRI analysis that, among other functions, could detect multiple sclerosis lesions in the brain. Patrick steadily moved up ranks at the Cleveland Clinic, finally assuming the role of Program Director.

“My passion has always been trying to help people.”

- Patrick Caneer

Patrick’s career eventually led him back to Atlanta, where he took a leadership role with Emory University’s Clinical Research Business Process and IT Solutions team. He wanted to earn a master’s degree while working and found himself debating between an MBA and an MPH. Seeing an increasing need to connect hospitals, clinics and public health agencies in the face of new policy changes like Meaningful Use, Patrick felt that an MPH with a focus on informatics held the most career potential for him, and he enrolled in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. In this program, Patrick hoped to find ways to bring data out of EHRs and build data flow pathways—a process he saw as a crucial step to helping researchers connect dots and improve health. Explaining his choice of programs, Patrick says, “The time is right. Ten or 15 years ago, the technology couldn’t support this kind of work. It was too expensive and not mature enough.” But now, he says, the possibilities are endless.

In the midst of his MPH program, the Ebola crisis struck West Africa. For the first time, Patrick turned his attention in earnest to the challenges inherent to global health and found them fascinating. He began considering how he could marry his informatics studies with a global health perspective. His search led him to the Task Force Global Health, then the Public Health Informatics Institute, and finally CHAMPS and his current job.

Between his MPH studies and the long hours he puts into CHAMPS as the project scales up, Patrick has had to give up more of his hobby time recently, but when he does get free time, he enjoys renovating his family’s lake house and relaxing with friends and family in the Emory area. He’s a proud soccer dad of two sons, and he and his family try to schedule adventure travel every few years. Over the years, Patrick and his wife have taken their sons to various exotic destinations, including Costa Rica, Alaska and Belize. On these vacations, they’ve had adventures ranging from camping in the wilderness and living on a sailboat for a week to ziplining, surfing and horseback riding.

For now, CHAMPS may be an intensive project as it kicks off, but Patrick sees it as a way of bringing together his expertise in research, data and business with his newfound passion for global health and saving lives—potentially millions of lives. The high-energy, rapid growth environment makes him feel like he’s part of a startup, he explains, and he’s getting in on the ground floor. “This group they’ve put together, it’s really an A-team,” he says. “And a lot of good will come out of the data that we produce.”

Piper Hale, MPH

Assistant Director of Communications