Dr. Donald Lindberg, a leader in medical informatics, dies at 85

Donald Lindberg, MD, former director of the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine and a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, died Aug. 17 following a fall, according to a statement from the NIH.

During his 31-year tenure at the NLM, from 1984 until his retirement in 2015, Dr. Lindberg championed the use of computers and the internet in biomedical research and health information. He ensured all of the library's records were computerized and thus accessible to researchers and physicians around the world.

Dr. Lindberg helped establish the NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information and served as the first director of the library's Office of High-Performance Computing and Communications. He was also the founding president of the American Medical Informatics Association.

In the statement, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, praised Dr. Lindberg's "thirst for knowledge" and status as "the country's senior statesman for computers and medicine."

"He will be remembered for his outstanding leadership, his vision and passion for transforming access to medical information, and as a civil servant who was committed to excellence, transparency, integrity and public trust," they wrote. "We are grateful to have experienced his passion, commitment and wry sense of humor. He will be greatly missed."

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