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NLM Chief Health Data Standards Officer Clement J. McDonald, MD, Receives Life Sciences Award

October 1, 2019

Dr. Clem McDonald

Last week, National Library of Medicine Chief Health Data Standards Officer Clement J. McDonald, MD, was awarded the 2019 August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year Award for his impact on health IT and digital health in Indiana and abroad.

Named in honor of Dr. August “Gus” M. Watanabe, a pioneer in the study of myocardial cellular mechanics, the annual award is given by BioCrossroads, an Indianan public-private collaboration, to an individual or organization that has made or enabled achievements in the state’s life sciences and health care research, clinical, educational or economic advancement.

Previously a distinguished professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, Dr. McDonald is known for developing one of the nation's first electronic medical record (EMR) systems. He was also one of the founders of the Health Level 7 message standards and developed the Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes database of universal codes for clinical observations, including laboratory tests, clinical measurements and physician reports. It is used in 172 countries and is available in a dozen languages in addition to English.

As Chief Health Data Standards Officer of NLM, Dr. McDonald continues his research on large clinical databases and development of standards-based tools that can be used in electronic health records. He leads NLM in coordinating, integrating and developing strategic plans in data standards activities including terminologies and coding systems that support clinical care, the FHIR interoperability standard, and other related standards.

“Dr. McDonald’s impact on health IT and digital health has not only greatly impacted the health care delivery system for Hoosiers, but has improved the way we deliver health care to patients in every hospital in the country today,” said Patty Martin, president and CEO, BioCrossroads.

“We at NLM congratulate Clem. Dr. McDonald’s visionary perspectives on health information improves the health and well-being of patients worldwide,” said NLM Director, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD.



The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: October 1, 2019