UK names director of Institute for Biomedical Informatics

Jeffery Talbert

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jeffery Talbert has been selected as director of the UK Institute for Biomedical Informatics, which facilitates data-intensive, multidisciplinary team science to improve the health of patients and populations in Kentucky and beyond.

Talbert will also serve as the division chief for biomedical informatics in the College of Medicine. A national leader in informatics research at the intersection of evidence-based policy and health care outcomes, Talbert has been at the forefront of building UK’s biomedical informatics (BMI) capacity over the last 25 years.

His expertise and passion are reflected in the many roles he holds across campus. The Joseph Schutte Professor of Pharmaceutical Policy, Talbert currently serves as director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the College of Pharmacy. For the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, he serves as an associate director as well as director of the biomedical informatics core.

He also is the deputy director of the Center for Rural and Underserved Health Research, co-director of the Data Analytics Core for the Kentucky Can HEAL project, and principal investigator for multiple large-scale Medicaid projects working to develop a research data warehouse and analytics platform for behavioral health outcomes.

His current grant funding is around $9 million, and over the years he’s served as principal investigator on grants totaling more than $60 million in funding to UK.

“My goal is to make an impact through improving access and quality of data that inform better decisions to improve the health of Kentucky,” Talbert said.

With doctoral training in political science and policy, Talbert was first recruited to UK’s Martin School in 1995. There, he worked with the Kentucky Medicaid program to establish a data repository and analytics platform that informed quality improvement and management of program costs.

In 2007 he was recruited to the UK College of Pharmacy to work with its research data management center, which operated a data warehouse for state mental health agencies. He joined the CCTS in 2008 to lead development of a data warehouse that would make the university competitive for a multimillion dollar Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. The CCTS successfully competed for an $20 million, four-year CTSA award in 2011 and was competitively refunded in 2016.

“Our BMI capacity wouldn’t be where it is if not for the Clinical and Translational Science Award, which is probably true for a lot of institutions because the application required substantive integration of informatics,” Talbert said.

Many key milestones for UK’s BMI capacity were driven by Talbert, including establishment of a research data governance process, creation of a division of biomedical informatics to enable faculty hiring, and facilitation of data analytics projects with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Building on his previous work with Medicaid, Talbert has also forged multiple university-state partnership projects to leverage federal funding mechanisms for programs designed to improve outcomes for Medicaid patients; these projects involve UK researchers from nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and public health.

In his role as IBI director, which begins July 1, Talbert will focus on growing UK’s BMI capacity through recruiting new faculty, training and retaining internal faculty, increasing student training options, expanding the research informatics staff, and enhancing collaborations with UK HealthCare. A passionate mentor, he is deeply committed to driving research across the biomedical spectrum.

“One big mission for me is to support team science grants,” he said. “We have to build a research informatics capacity that engages clinical and translational researchers. Our key measure of success will be engaging and supporting research teams across campus.”