Vimla L. Patel
Education and Research Interests


Vimla L. Patel, PhD, DSc, FRSC has joined NYAM as Senior Research Scientist and Director of a new Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Patel's appointment will become effective November 1, 2011. Additionally, Dr. Patel will hold an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

She was most recently Professor of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) and Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in the School of Health Information Sciences at the University of Texas in Houston. She moved in 2009 from Arizona State University, where she was professor and vice-chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Director of the Center for Decision Making and Cognition in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering. She is also a professor of basic medical sciences at the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine – Phoenix (in partnership with Arizona State University). She came to Arizona from Columbia University, where she was professor of biomedical informatics and psychiatry. Patel is recognized as a leader in applied cognitive science and biomedical informatics that provides scientific foundation for models of decision-making in health care and for medical education. An elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Social Sciences) and also of the American College of Medical Informatics, she was a recipient of the annual Swedish "Woman of Science" award in 1999. Her research interests include competent performance in the workplace, team decision-making, patient safety and medical errors, cognitive assessment of learning and instruction, and human-computer interaction in health-care domains. She serves as associate editor for the Journal of Biomedical Informatics and is on the editorial board of three other health science and informatics journals. Her research is funded from the NIH, NIMH and the U.S. Army.      


  • Ph.D. - Department of Educational Psychology (Medical Cognition), McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1981
  • M.A. - Department of Educational Psychology (Measurement & Evaluation), McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1980
  • B.Sc. - Department of Biochemistry (Biochemistry & Microbiology), Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1976

Research Interests

  • Medical cognition
  • Medical decision-making and reasoning
  • Patient safety and medical errors
  • Socio-cognitive studies of patient safety and human-computer interaction
  • Cognitive assessment of learning and instruction

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