Indiana University School of Medicine has selected a nationally-recognized expert in epidemiology and health services research to serve as the new president and chief executive officer of the Regenstrief Institute Inc.
A native Hoosier, Rachel E. Patzer, PhD, MPH is currently the Director of the Health Services Research Center at the Emory University School of Medicine, and a tenured professor there in the Department of Surgery. She has spent her career leading efforts to increase access to health care and improve quality of health care delivery and care outcomes—with a major focus on health equity.
Regenstrief Institute is a global leader dedicated to improving health and health care through innovations and research in biomedical informatics, health services, and aging. Regenstrief, a supporting organization of IU School of Medicine, has several regional partners that include IU Health and Eskenazi Health.
According to IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, Patzer’s career-long dedication to finding new, innovative ways to collect and utilize better data for solving complex health challenges strongly supports the mission of the Regenstrief Institute.
“Over the course of her career, Dr. Patzer’s work in using data to expose inequities and inefficiencies in health systems aligns perfectly with the important work being done by our world-class researchers at the Regenstrief Institute,” said Hess. “It is a critical time in our community for health care research, and I am confident that Dr. Patzer is the transformative leader needed to take the Regenstrief Institute into the future.”
In 2018, Patzer founded the Health Services Research Center — a cooperative initiative of the departments of medicine and surgery at Emory — where she currently serves as director. The work of the center is aimed at creating opportunities for closer connections and collaboration between methodologists and clinical researchers to advance healthcare access and improve health of patients.
“Data is critical, but it won’t improve health on its own. You must connect with the community to use that data in order to make an impact, and Dr. Patzer has shown her ability to do that during her time at Emory,” said Tatiana Foroud, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs at IU School of Medicine, and vice chair of the Regenstrief board of directors. “Dr. Patzer’s experience in establishing the connection between methodology and clinical practice will be key to making a meaningful impact on the health of people in our state, our nation and around the world.”
Patzer received her bachelor’s degree in biology and nutritional sciences from the University Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. She earned her MPH in epidemiology from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in 2007 and returned a year later, after working as a science writer to complete her doctorate in epidemiology. She joined the Emory School of Medicine faculty in 2011 and was promoted to professor in 2021.
“I am excited to work with the internationally renowned Regenstrief investigators in biomedical informatics, aging, and health services research, who are leading the way in using data — from an ever-increasing number and types of sources — to improve health,” said Patzer, who will officially begin in her new role on May 1. “The Institute has contributed so significantly to such areas as electronic health records, health information exchange, health outcomes research, collaborative care, addressing the inclusion of neglected populations into research and many other areas. Regenstrief has long been on my radar as a beacon of innovation and excellence.”
“We as a society invest in health care research with an expectation of the benefits we gain from it. I believe that we can leverage the impressive strengths of the Regenstrief Institute to attain even more value from these data and accelerate the translation of this research into practice to improve not only health care, but ultimately the health of patients and populations.”
Along with her leadership role with Regenstrief Institute, Patzer will also serve as the Leonard Betley Chair and will hold a faculty appointment as a professor with the IU School of Medicine Department of Surgery and joint appointments with the Department of Medicine and with the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.
“The mission of both the Regenstrief Institute and the Regenstrief Foundation is to improve systems of care to address inequities in health. Many scholars have documented these inequities; only a handful have performed research that has resulted in actionable and scalable interventions,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Emeritus D. Craig Brater, MD, chair of the Regenstrief Institute Board of Directors and Regenstrief Foundation Board president and CEO. “Dr. Patzer is among that handful. We are delighted that she has joined the Regenstrief Institute to further our ability to provide equitable care for all.”
About IU School of Medicine
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.
About Regenstrief Institute
Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its research scientists are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and research studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.
Sam Regenstrief, a nationally successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.