UCSF 2018 Chancellor's Health Policy Lecture

Improving Health in the Era of Ubiquitous Information: The Role of Health Policy

The digital era has made information about health universally available. At the same time a major shift in computing has enabled deep measurement and analysis across the spectrum of human biology and clinical information.  The new frontier, however, is the ability to characterize people and their interactions in the “real world”. The multidimensional integration of this information promises to unleash powerful approaches to risk assessment and intervention, particularly for common, chronic diseases in which every-day life choices have major impact. The limiting factors in using ubiquitous information for health benefit are no longer technological, but cultural and social.

The spectrum of societal entities including Federal, State and County governments and private entities including health systems, payers, professional societies and universities, must consider approaches to these social and cultural issues: the balance of privacy/confidentiality and individual and public health improvement from use of information; the integrity of information (fake and extremely biased information); the role of advertising and balancing first amendment rights with the potential for harm when advertising is truthful, but misleading or encourages unhealthy or harmful behavior; the degree to which regulation is needed and the methods of regulation.

Until the system of payment “flips” to reward health, disease prevention and functional status, the benefits of ubiquitous information will not be realized.

About the Speaker: Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, is vice chancellor for health data science and director of the Center for Integrated Health Data Science at Duke Health, the Donald F. Fortin, MD, Professor of Cardiology in the Duke University School of Medicine, and an advisor for Verily Life Sciences, a member of the Alphabet family of companies formed by Google. He served in the administration of President Barack Obama as Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2015-2016, and as Commissioner of Food and Drugs from 2016-2017.

Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Califf was a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University. He was founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. A nationally and internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, healthcare quality, and clinical research, Dr. Califf has led many landmark clinical trials and is one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science, with 1,250 publications in the peer-reviewed literature. Dr. Califf is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine [IOM]). Dr. Califf has served on numerous IOM committees, and was a member of the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board's Subcommittee on Science and Technology. Dr. Califf has also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Library of Medicine, as well as on advisory committees for the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Council of the National Institute on Aging.

He has led major initiatives aimed at improving methods and infrastructure for clinical research, including the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public-private partnership co-founded by the FDA and Duke. He also served as the principal investigator for Duke's Clinical and Translational Science Award and the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory coordinating center, and as co-PI of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). He currently serves as chair of the board of the People-Centered Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that is supporting and extending the work of PCORnet. 

Dr. Califf is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a fellowship in cardiology at Duke.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

HSW-301 Auditorium
513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California 94143

Event Type

Lecture/Seminar, Special Event


School of Medicine


Students, Postdocs, Faculty, Staff, Local Community, Alumni





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