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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Informatics Researcher Receives Recognition for Work with Data Standards

PITTSBURGH, November 11, 2005 — Douglas Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine , has been honored for outstanding achievement in setting standards for clinical trial data. Dr. Fridsma, who also is a faculty member in the medical school’s Center for Biomedical Informatics, received the award from the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), which also elected him to its board of directors.

“I am honored to receive this award from an organization that is instrumental in facilitating the exchange of research data,” Dr. Fridsma said. “I look forward to my term on the board, as well. The future of medical informatics is quite promising.”

CDISC strives for the development of global, platform-independent data standards that allow various institutions to share information readily, especially clinical data gathered through research. The BRIDG, or Biomedical Research Integration Domain Group, to which Dr. Fridsma has made significant contributions, is an important example of such a data-sharing system. BRIDG is a collaborative, open-source platform that translates data into a common language, both in syntax, or structure; and semantics, or meaning. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), Health Level 7, an American National Standards Institute-accredited Standards Developing Organization, and CDISC have joined efforts to produce BRIDG.

“Every group’s input is critical to developing a universal model for data exchange,” Dr. Fridsma said. “We’ve been successful at engaging all those groups and keeping them all at the table.”

Dr. Fridsma’s contributions to open-source platforms for data exchange have come largely from his work on the NCI cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG), which is focused on developing interoperability standards for cancer centers nationwide. He was nominated to join CDISC’s board by Sue Dubman, director of applications for the NCI Center for Bioinformatics. Ms. Dubman was an initiator of the BRIDG project and has worked closely with Dr. Fridsma in that venture.

More information about caBIG can be found at the Web site http://cabig.nci.nih.gov .

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