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Announcing the Health Informatics and Data Science chair and CHOIR director

Nicholas Soulakis, PhD, has been named the chair of the Department of Health Informatics and Data Science and the director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Informatics Research. 

Loyola University Chicago launched the Center for Health Outcomes and Informatics Research (CHOIR) in 2017 to educate and engage faculty, health care professionals, resident physicians, and students in the fundamentals of health outcomes research and data-driven health care delivery and outcomes.   

As a population health scientist and public health practitioner, Soulakis stood out during the search due to his pioneering leadership in the field of quality informatics and patient outcomes focusing on underserved populations. His clinical, classroom, and community experience exemplifies his dedication to the evolution of health informatics and the training of new scientists. A visionary for integrating public health systems that foster meaningful inquiries and contributions from diverse scientific fields, his approach builds a culture of multidisciplinary collaboration designed to tackle endeavors of Big Science. 

Soulakis joins Loyola after 2.5 years of COVID response from the Chicago Department of Public Health where he served as chief public health informatics officer and deputy commissioner for the Bureau of Informatics and IT. He also served as a senior epidemiologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health during the pandemic, where he led a team of contact–tracing epidemiologists and coordinated the flow of epidemiologic intelligence between the Governor’s Office and Department of Public Health.

His prior academic appointment was at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University as an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, Divisions of Health and Biomedical Informatics and Epidemiology, focusing on the intersection of epidemiology and informatics. 

His previous educational research and leadership experience include examining the transition to competency-based medical education funded by the National Board of Medical Examiners, presenting strategies for teaching public health informatics at the AMIA Informatics Educators Forum, and serving as chair of the annual Chicago Initiative for Biomedical Informatics and Data Science conference. He also worked as an epidemiologist at the New York City Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene, and as the webmaster the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences campus. 

He is called to the mission of the Parkinson School to promote and implement his vision of leveraging community-first informatics and data science as a vehicle for prevention, developing evidence-based playbooks for healthcare delivery, and engaging students and community partners.