Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, is the Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NLM, the center for biomedical and health data science research, is the world’s largest biomedical library and the producer of digital information services used by scientists, health professionals and members of the public worldwide.
Since assuming the directorship in August 2016, Dr. Brennan has positioned the Library to be the hub of data science at NIH and a national and international leader in the field. She spearheaded the development of a new strategic plan that envisions NLM a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health. Leveraging NLM’s heavily used data and information resources, intramural research, and extramural research and training programs, Brennan aims for NLM to accelerate data driven discovery and health, engage with new users in new ways, and develop the workforce for a data-driven future.
Her professional accomplishments reflect her background, which unites engineering, information technology, and clinical care to improve the public health and ensure the best possible experience in patient care.
Dr. Brennan came to NIH from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor at the School of Nursing and College of Engineering. She also led the Living Environments Laboratory at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, which develops new ways for effective visualization of high dimensional data.
She received a master of science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following seven years of clinical practice in critical care nursing and psychiatric nursing, Dr. Brennan held several academic positions at Marquette University, Milwaukee; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A past president of the American Medical Informatics Association, Dr. Brennan was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2001. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the American College of Medical Informatics, and the New York Academy of Medicine.
In 2020, Dr. Brennan was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). The AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer.