Intended for healthcare professionals


Donald Lindberg: visionary leader in medical informatics and director of the US National Library of Medicine

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 10 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5480
  1. Penny Warren
  1. London, UK
  1. penny.warren{at}
Photo credit: US National Library of Medicine

In a 2014 lecture, Donald Lindberg gave an example of the value of medical informatics. He described how Nobel prize winner Allan Cormack in 1963 had to calculate a mathematical formula in computed tomography scanning from first principles, even though it had been worked out in 1917. Lindberg said, “Today we have somewhere to look. This guy didn’t.”

Lindberg was the director of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) for more than three decades and devoted his life to making programs that changed the way biomedical information could be accessed, shared, and analysed by scientists, health professionals, and the general public. He was the founding director of both the White House High Performance Computing and Communications Program and the American Medical Informatics Association, and was regarded as the pre-eminent leader in medical informatics.

Training in pathology and information technology

Lindberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents of Swedish descent. He attended the Poly Prep Country Day School and Amherst College in Massachusetts, …

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