Rachel Stemerman, who joined the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) PhD cohort in the Fall of 2017, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on September 8, 2020. Stemerman, who is advised by Dr. Rebecca Kitzmiller, presented her dissertation on identifying social determinants of health in electronic health records clinical notes using machine learning among mental health and substance use disorder patients who frequent the emergency department.
Stemerman is a CHIP National Library of Medicine (NLM) T-15 fellow, receiving training support throughout her degree program to pursue biomedical informatics and data science. As an NLM fellow, Stemerman had the opportunity to participate in the annual T-15 fellows’ conference where trainees from all NLM T-15-funded universities gathered to share their research and experiences. In 2019, Stemerman presented her research as a plenary speaker on “Using Interactive Data Visualization to Drive Quality Improvement in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Services” at the NLM trainee conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Stemerman’s talk and research reflected on her experiences from working as a paramedic and won Best Plenary Presentation at that year’s conference.
Stemerman chose to pursue her PhD in Health Informatics to improve healthcare systems by translating data into meaningful information. She joined CHIP because she wanted to be a part of a program that was interdisciplinary and would allow her to explore the various fields that encompass health informatics.
She has enjoyed learning and growing with her colleagues here at UNC. For her next professional step, Stemerman plans on implementing artificial intelligence into healthcare software at ESO Solutions.
CHIP has greatly enjoyed working with Dr. Stemerman throughout the past three years as she has pursued her PhD. The program wishes her every success and looks forward to the accomplishments we know she will make in the health informatics field.
Follow along with Stemerman on Twitter @steminformatics.