Christopher Chute

Biographical Sketch

Christopher Chute received his undergraduate degree in English in 1977 and his medical degree in 1982 from Brown University. That same year, Dr. Chute also earned a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard University. After completing his residency in internal medicine at Dartmouth College, Hitchcock Medical Center from 1982 to 1985, Dr. Chute went on to complete a doctorate in Epidemiology at Harvard University in 1990. In 1988, Dr. Chute joined the faculty of the Mayo Clinic as assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences Research. In his first year at the Mayo Clinic, he founded the Division of Biomedical Informatics within the Department of Health Sciences Research and chaired the division until 2008. In 1988, Dr. Chute was also appointed director of the Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Registry, a position he held until 2001. In 1990, Dr. Chute was appointed as an associate member of the health informatics graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota, becoming a senior member of the graduate faculty in 2005. In 1998, Dr. Chute was appointed co-principal investigator with Laël Gatewood, PhD of the joint University of Minnesota/Mayo Clinic National Library of Medicine Research Training Program in Medical Informatics. Throughout his career, Dr. Chute’s research focus has been in the domain of biomedical terminology and ontology, with a long-standing emphasis on scalable terminology services that can be used across biology and medicine. This work has extended into high-throughput disease phenotyping methods using electronic health records. Dr. Chute was inducted into the American College of Epidemiology in 1987, the American College of Physicians in 1988, and the American College of Medical Informatics in 1995.

Interview Abstract

Christopher Chute begins by discussing his educational background and his decision to move to the Mayo Clinic in the late 1980s. Next, he discusses some of the health informatics research and educational projects that the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota have collaborated on. Dr. Chute describes in detail the main research projects that he and the Division of Biomedical Informatics have worked on since the late 1980s, including research in the areas of biomedical terminology and ontology and the management of patient data in electronic medical records. He discusses his role in the University of Minnesota’s National Library of Medicine Research Training Program and the eventual formal incorporation of the Mayo Clinic into the training program. He discusses the changes in the training program over the course of the 1990s and early 2000s in the context of broader changes in the field of health informatics in particular and biomedical research more generally. Dr. Chute next discusses the efforts, beginning in the mid-2000s, to establish a collaborative health informatics training program between the Mayo Clinic, Arizona State University, and the University of Minnesota. He also discusses the process by which both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota secured Clinical Translation Science Awards. Finally, Dr. Chute reflects on the interprofessionalism that has characterized health informatics at the University of Minnesota.


Download the transcript of the interview.