50 Years University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics

Founded by Dr. Homer Warner

The Eccles Health Sciences Library presents a 50 year timeline of the University of Utah’s Biomedical Informatics department 1964-2014. An important medical field that was founded and pioneered by Dr. Homer Warner (1922-2012).

By Heidi Greenberg & Bryan E. Hull

Beginnings 1964

The University of Utah’s first Biomedical Informatics Department is founded by Dr. Homer Warner in 1964.

Our History

Department of Biophysics and Bioengineering,
University of Utah College of Engineering,
Homer R. Warner, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Chair.

Pioneers in the Field

Electronic Health Record


Biomedical Informatics faculty and graduates
have served in key design and implementation
roles in several major electronic health record
software systems. (HELP, HELP2, CCDS, CPRS, VistA®).


Reed Gardner and Dr. Donald Bennett with EEG technologists from University of Utah. 

Demonstrating use of EEG machine to transmit 6 channels of EEG over two phone lines – among first telemedicine systems in operation.


Dr. Reed Gardner standing in front of old computer
Dr. Reed Gardner standing in front of old computer

The nation’s first Biomedical Informatics program to be a department of a School of Medicine.

Department of Medical Biophysics and Computing– University of Utah School of Medicine, Homer R. Warner, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair.

Front Row – Left to Right: Alan F. Toronto, MD, Marion L. Dickman, PhD, Paul D. Clayton, PhD, T. Alan Pryor, PhD, Curtis C. Johnson, PhD, Homer R. Warner, MD, PhD

Back Row – Left to Right: Mark H. Skolnick, PhD, John D. Morgan, PhD, Hyrum W. Marshall, MD, Peter W. Barber, PhD, Justin S. Clark, PhD, Reed M. Gardner, PhD

Computerized Utah Genealogy


Dr. Mark Skolnik built the computerized Utah Genealogy, linked it to cancer data and began to study high-risk cancer pedigrees. The computerized Utah Genealogy was donated much later to the University of Utah Cancer Center and has become the Utah Population Database (UPDB).

Utah Population Database

The Utah Population Database (UPDB), which combines extensive genealogy data with clinical and public health data sources, was developed in our department. Researchers at the University of Utah and other institutions have used UPDB to analyze patterns of genetic inheritance and to identify specific genetic mutations.



Department of Medical Informatics
University of Utah School of Medicine
Homer R. Warner, MD, PhD,
Professor and Chair

1994 – Homer Warner MD, PhD
Morris F. Collen Lifetime Achievement Award

“[My] initial impression of Homer’s personality- enthusiasm, intellectual skills, willingness to work extremely hard, and, above all, sheer willpower to accomplish what many of us might think to be unrealistic or unattainable goals has been only reinforced.”

Paul Clayton, PhD, 1994

“A model achiever of balanced excellence. Researcher, editor, skier, sailor, all-around athlete. Exemplary husband, father, grandfather, brother. Man of humility, integrity, and faith.”


Russell M. Nelson, MD, 1991

2006: Reed Gardner, PhD
Morris F. Collen Lifetime Achievement Award

“He’s done a tremendous job and many of his students have gone on to achieve fame in their own right and Reed’s probably as proud of them as any other accomplishment and he should be because he’s made a tremendous contribution that’ll be around long after he’s gone.”


—Homer R. Warner

“We found Reed spending considerable amounts of his time working with a lot of these organizations to share not only the information that we were developing, but also bringing to us and throughout the world that information and standards that were being developed worldwide.”


T. Allan Pryor


The University of Utah’s Biomedical Informatics Department enjoys one of the richest collaborative healthcare system networks in the country and have faculty who work in healthcare networks that care for over 90% of the state of Utah (Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Healthcare, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Utah Department of Health).


In 1965, the department graduated its 1st PhD student. In 2015, the department will graduate its 161st PhD student.

  • 1965 – 1 Graduate Total
  • 1975 – 19 Graduates Total
  • 1985 – 49 Graduates Total
  • 1995 – 87 Graduates Total
  • 2005 -109 Graduates Total
  • 2015 – 161 Graduates Total


author by