Elmer Bernstam, MD, MSE

Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine

Elmer Bernstam, MD, MSE, holds the joint appointment of professor at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI), where he also serves as associate dean for research, and at UTHealth Medical School. Bernstam is also the director of the Biomedical Informatics Group at UTHealth’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS). His lab at CCTS created and maintains the UTHealth clinical data warehouse, which contains health data for over 400,000 patients. Bernstam is board-certified in internal medicine and continues to practice. His research focuses on clinical and translational informatics, specifically on information retrieval, consumer informatics and clinical decision support. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Medical Informatics. In 2004, Bernstam received the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award, as voted by the SBMI student body. Bernstam completed a National Library of Medicine fellowship at Stanford Medical Informatics.

“Although (the future of biomedical informatics) is notoriously difficult to predict, I think that we will transition from the goal of computerizing health care to improving health care, using, among other tools, health information technology. … Most of health care deals with information including its collection, storage, processing and communication. … If we want better, more efficient health care, we need to improve information management – this is the central concern of biomedical informatics.”


  • MS, 2001, Biomedical Informatics, Stanford University Medical Center
  • MSE, 1999, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan College of Engineering
  • MD, 1995, Integrated Medical-Premedical (INTEFLEX) program, University of Michigan Medical School 
  • BSE, 1992, Computer Engineering, University of Michigan College of Engineering 
  • BS, 1992, Biomedical Sciences and Psychology, University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and the Arts 

Research Areas

  • Information retrieval
  • Consumer informatics
  • Clinical decision support


7000 Fannin, Suite 600
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: 713.500.3927
Fax: 713.500.3929

Staff Support

Kathy Sallier
Phone: 713.500.3790


1. Hwang KO, Ottenbacher AJ, Lucke JF, Etchegaray JM, Graham AL, Thomas EJ, Bernstam EV. Measuring social support for weight loss in an Internet weight loss community. J Health Communication, in press.

2. Hwang KO, Ottenbacher AJ, Green AP, Cannon-Diehl MR, Richardson O, Bernstam EV, Thomas EJ. Social support in an Internet weight loss community. Int J Med Inform. 2010 Jan;79(1):5-13.

3. Bernstam EV, Smith JW and Johnson TR. What is biomedical informatics? J Biomed Inf, J Biomed Inform. Feb 2010, 43:1, pp. 104-10.

4. Willcockson IU, Johnson CW, Hersh W and Bernstam EV. Predictors of student success in graduate biomedical informatics training: introductory course and program success. JAMIA 2009;16(6):837-46.

5. Nelson S, Hwang KO and Bernstam EV. Comparing clinician knowledge and online information regarding Alli (Orlistat). Int J Med Inf, Jan 2009, 78:11, pp. 772-7.

6. Bernstam EV, Hersh WR, Sim I, Eichmann D,  Silverstein JC, Smith JW and Becich MJ. Unintended consequences of health information technology: a need for biomedical informatics. J Biomed Inf, 43 (2010) 828–830.

7. Hwang KO, Hamadah AM, Johnson CW, Thomas EJ, Goodrick GK, Bernstam EV. Screening for obstructive sleep apnea on the Internet: randomized trial. Am J Med, 2009 Oct;122(10):961.e1-6. [Selected for “Best of Sleep Medicine 2009”]

8. Tanaka LY, Herskovic JR, MS Iyengar, Bernstam EV. Sequential Result Refinement for Searching the Biomedical Literature. J Biomed Inf, 2009 Aug;42(4):678-84.

9. Bernstam EV, Hersh WR, Johnson SB, Chute CG, Nguyen H, Sim I, Nahm M, Weiner M, Miller P, DiLaura RP, Overcash M, Lehmann HP, Eichmann D,  Athey BD, Scheuermann RH, Anderson N, Starren JB, Harris PA, Smith JW, Barbour E, Silverstein JC, Krusch DA, Nagarajan R and Becich MJ. Synergies and Distinctions between Computational Disciplines in Biomedical Research: Perspective from the Clinical and Translational  Science Award Programs. Acad Med, 2009 Jul;84(7):964-70.

10. Mirhaji P, Zhu M, Vagnoni M, Bernstam EV, Zhang J, Smith JW. Ontology driven integration platform for clinical and translational research. BMC Bioinformatics, 2009 Feb 5;10 Suppl 2:S2.

11. Hwang KO, Childs JH, Goodrick GK, Aboughali WA, Thomas EJ, Johnson CW, Yu SC, Bernstam EV. Explanations for unsuccessful weight loss among bariatric surgery candidates. Obes Surg. 2009 Oct;19(10):1377-83.

12. Bernstam EV, Walji MF, Sagaram S, Sagaram D, Johnson CW, Meric-Bernstam F. Commonly cited Web site quality criteria are not effective at identifying inaccurate online information about breast cancer. Cancer, 2008 Mar 15;112(6):1206-13.

13. Hwang KO, Farheen K, Johnson CW, Thomas EJ, Barnes AS, Bernstam EV. Quality of weight loss advice on Internet forums. Am J Med, 2007, 120:7, 604-9.

14. Meric-Bernstam F, Walji M, Sagaram S, Sagaram D, Bernstam EV. Breast cancer information currency. Medinfo 2007, pp. 973-6.

15. Herskovic JR, Tanaka LY, Hersh WR, Bernstam EV. A day in the life of PubMed: analysis of a typical day’s query log. J Am Med Inf Ass, 2007 Mar-Apr;14(2), pp. 212-20.

16. Bernstam EV, Pancheri KK, Johnson CM, Johnson TR, Thomas EJ, Turley JP. Reasons for after-hours calls by hospital floor nurses to on-call physicians. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 2007 Jun;33(6), pp. 342-9.

17. Smith-Aiken KA, Bearden CF, Pittenger ST, Bernstam EV. Toward a veterinary informatics research agenda: an analysis of the PubMed-indexed literature. Int J Med Inf, 2007 Apr;76(4),  pp. 306-12.

18. Edmonson SR, Smith-Aiken KA, Bernstam EV. Context, Automated Decision Support, and Clinical Practice Guidelines:  Does the Literature Apply to the United States Practice Environment? Int J Med Inf, Jan 2007, 76:1, pp. 34-41.

19. Esquivel AE, Meric-Bernstam F, Bernstam EV. Accuracy and self correction of information received from an internet breast cancer list: content analysis. BMJ 2006; 332, pp. 939-42.

20. Herskovic JR, Iyengar S, Bernstam EV. Using hit curves to compare search algorithm performance. J Biomed Inf, 2007 Apr;40(2), pp. 93-9.

21. Bernstam EV, Herskovic JR, Aphinyanaphongs Y, Aliferis CF. Sriram MG. Hersh WR. Using citation data to improve retrieval from MEDLINE. J Am Med Inf Ass, 2006 Jan-Feb; 13(1): 96-105.

22. Herskovic JR, Bernstam EV. Using incomplete citation data for MEDLINE results ranking. Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium 2005, pp. 316-20.

23. Bernstam EV, Sagaram S, Walji M, Johnson CW, Meric-Bernstam F. Usability of quality measures for online health information: can commonly used technical quality criteria be reliably assessed? Int J Med Inf 2005, 74:7-8; pp. 675-83.

24. Walji M, Sagaram S, Meric-Bernstam, F, Johnson CW, Bernstam EV.  Searching for cancer-related information online: unintended retrieval of complementary and alternative medicine information. Int J Med Inf 2005, 74:1; pp. 685-93.

25. Bernstam EV, Shelton DM, Walji M, Meric-Bernstam F. Instruments to assess the quality of health information on the World Wide Web: what can our patients actually use? Int J Med Inf 2005 Jan; 74:1, pp. 13-9.

26. Walji M, Sagaram S, Sagaram D, Meric-Bernstam F, Johnson C, Mirza NQ, Bernstam EV. Efficacy of quality criteria to identify potentially harmful information: a cross-sectional survey of complementary and alternative medicine websites. J Med Internet Res 2004, June, 29; 6(2): e21.

27. Sagaram S, Walji M, Meric-Bernstam F, Johnson C, Bernstam EV.  Inter-observer agreement for quality measures applied to online health information. MedInfo 2004, pp. 1308-12.

28. Tang Z, Zhang J, Johnson TR, Bernstam EV, Tindall D. Integrating task analysis in software usability evaluation: A case study. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting 2004, pp. 1741-5.

29. Walji M, Sagaram S, Meric-Bernstam F, Johnson C, Bernstam EV.  Cancer-related complementary and alternative medicine online: factors affecting information retrieval. MedInfo 2004, pp. 1318-22. [Won bronze medal]

30. Sagaram S, Walji M, Bernstam EV. Evaluating the prevalence, content and readability of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) web pages on the Internet.  Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium 2002, pp. 672-6.

31. Michea Y, Pancheri K, Gong Y, Bernstam EV. Availability of online communication technology on diabetes web sites: comparing Chinese, English and Spanish web sites. Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium 2002, pp. 523-7.

32. Meric F, Bernstam EV,  Mirza NQ, Hunt KK, Ames FC, Ross MI, Kuerer HM, Pollock RE, Musen MA, Singletary SE. Breast Cancer on the World Wide Web: A Cross-sectional survey of Information Quality and Web Site Popularity. BMJ, 324:577-581, 2002.

33. Peleg M, Boxwala AA, Bernstam EV, Tu SW, Greenes RA, Shortliffe EH. Sharable Representation of Clinical Guidelines in GLIF: Relationship to the Arden Syntax. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 34:3, 170-181, 2001.

34. Bernstam EV. Medline Query-by-Example (QBE) Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium pp. 47-52, 2001.

35. Bernstam EV, Ash N, Peleg M, Tu S, Boxwala AA, Mork P Shortliffe EH, Greenes RA. Guideline classification to assist modeling, authoring, implementation and retrieval. Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium pp. 66-70, 2000.

36. Bernstam EV, Strasberg HR, Rubin DL. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Computer-based Patient Records with Regard to their Use in Colon-Cancer Screening. Asia Pacific Medical Informatics Conference. September 28-9, 2000. Hong Kong, China.

37. Peleg, M, Boxwala AA, Ogunyemi O, Zeng Q, Tu SW, Lacson R, Bernstam E, Ash N, Mork P, Ohno-Machado L, Shortliffe EH, Greenes RA. GLIF3: The evolution of a guideline representation. Proceedings of the AMIA Fall Symposium pp. 645-9, 2000.

38. Deininger RA, Bernstam EV.  (1993) J Am Water Works Assn, 85: 35.

39. Deininger RA, Clark RM, Hess AF and Bernstam EV (1992) J Am Water Works Assn, 84: 48-52.

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