Charles Friedman

Charles P. Friedman, PhD

Department Chair of Learning Health Sciences
Josiah Macy Jr. Professor of Medical Education
Professor of Information
Professor of Public Health
Accepting HILS PhD Students? No
Accepting PIBS Students? No

Madison Petrosky, [email protected]


Charles “Chuck” Friedman is the Chair of the Department of Learning Health Sciences and the Josiah Macy Jr. Professor of Medical Education at the University of Michigan Medical School, as well as a professor of information and of public health. Dr. Friedman is focused on building a Learning Health System, a health system that can continuously study and improve itself, at the University of Michigan and in the state. Dr. Friedman first explored the concept of Learning Health Systems in 2010 through the Institute of Medicine while at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

Under Dr. Friedman’s leadership, the department of Medical Education transformed into the Department of Learning Health Sciences, a “first in the nation” medical school academic department dedicated to the sciences of learning at all levels from learning by individuals, to learning by teams and organizations, and learning by ultra-large scale systems, such as entire nations.

At ONC, Dr. Friedman served as Deputy National Coordinator and Chief Scientific Officer. In addition to advancement of the Learning Health System, his work promoted several IT innovations including SMART Health IT, an open, standards based technology platform. He was lead author of the nation’s first health IT strategic plan. Prior to these executive positions at ONC, Friedman was associate vice chancellor for Biomedical Informatics and founding director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Friedman’s research emphasizes large-scale information infrastructures and resources to improve health, how individuals and groups interact with information resources, and methods for studying the outcomes of these interactions.

Dr. Friedman holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and has done post-graduate studies in medical information science at Stanford University.

Dr. Charles Friedman teaches LHS 660: Research Methods for Learning Systems. 

Areas of Interest

Research and scholarly interests: creation of a national-scale learning health system, development and sustainability of enterprise level knowledge resources, knowledge-based applications to support decisions by care providers and consumers, methods for studying the effectiveness of technologically-based interventions, technologically-based innovations in education

Subject-matter expertise: health and biomedical informatics, large scale information systems and architectures, systems thinking, national health information strategies and policies, evaluation and research methods, clinical reasoning and decision making, design of educational programs and curricula

Other professional highlights:

  • Editor in Chief: Learning Health Systems Journal
  • Founded the Master of Health Informatics program at University of Michigan
  • Held executive positions at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including as the Deputy National Coordinator and as Chief Scientific Officer
  • Former associate director for research informatics and information technology of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Former senior scholar at the National Library of Medicine
  • Former professor, associate vice chancellor for biomedical informatics, and founding director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Former professor, assistant dean for medical education and informatics, and director of the Office of the Educational Development at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Published Articles or Reviews


Selected publications:

  • Friedman CP. What is unique about learning health systems? Learn Health Syst. 2022 Jul 15;6(3):e10328. doi: 10.1002/lrh2.10328. PMID: 35860320; PMCID: PMC9284922.
  • Friedman CP, Wyatt JC, Ash JS. Evaluation Methods for Biomedical and Health Informatics, Third Edition. 2022. Springer Nature, Switzerland.
  • Guise J-M, Savitz LA, Friedman CP. Mind the gap: Putting evidence into practice in the era of learning health systems. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 33: 2237-2239, 2018.

A listing of published work in the health sciences can be found here.

A list of all publications can be found here.