Boston Children's Hospital Names John Brownstein, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer

Keri Stedman or Bethany Tripp |

BOSTON (June 16, 2015)Boston Children's Hospital has appointed John Brownstein, PhD, to the position of chief innovation officer (CIO). In this role, Brownstein will work closely with the hospital's Innovation Acceleration Program and Technology and Innovation Development Office to nurture promising concepts and discoveries through the commercialization process and continue promoting a culture of innovation within the hospital.

"It's a role John is well-suited for," says Kevin Churchwell, MD, EVP of Health Affairs and COO at Boston Children’s. "An innovator in his own right, John is both a pioneer and trusted worldwide authority in the field of digital epidemiology. The impact of his work reaches far and wide, from clinicians to consumers, both here in Boston and around the world. He is passionate about collaboration and mentorship – the perfect combination to help lead us in accelerating discovery and innovation into solutions, treatments and cures faster than ever before, for the benefit of children everywhere."

Brownstein will be the hospital's second CIO. Boston Children's created the position of CIO in 2010 to define paths for innovation at all levels of the institution.

An epidemiologist by training, Brownstein came to Boston Children's in 2004 as a research fellow after completeing his doctoral degree at Yale University. In 2005 he joined the faculty of the hospital's Informatics Program, and in 2006 co-founded HealthMap, a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers that utilizes online informal sources for disease outbreak monitoring and real-time surveillance of emerging public health threats. HealthMap collaborates closely with a number of organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency.

Brownstein, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School currently directs the Informatics Program's Computational Epidemiology Group (CEG), which studies the use of emerging technologies to help clarify patterns of disease and promote public health and has been a driving force in the field of digital epidemiology. Under his leadership, the CEG has launched a number of web-based public health surveillance informatics projects including MedWatcher, Flu Near You and HealthMap Vaccine Finder. In recognition of his work, Brownstein received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2010.

In 2007 Brownstein and colleagues launched Epidemico, an informatics company that provides early insights, continuous monitoring and consumer engagement for a wide range of population health domains, including disease outbreaks, drug safety and supply chain vulnerabilities. Epidemico was acquired by management consulting, technology and engineering services provider Booz Allen Hamilton in 2014.

As CIO, Brownstein plans to leverage his experiences both in academia and industry to help design new development and commercialization pathways by which investigators and clinicians at Boston Children's can advance innovative ideas and bring new technologies to market.

"Innovation is in our DNA here at Boston Children's," Brownstein said. "But innovation only works if we can make the connections and secure the support needed to turn insights into treatments and tools. I want to work together with hospital administration; our brilliant doctors, nurses and scientists; and incubators, funders and companies to create paths that will benefit everyone: the innovators, the institution and, most importantly, patients."

About Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. Boston Children’s is also the pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more, visit our Answers blog and follow us on our social media channels: @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube.