David Nash didn't set out to be a rock star of population health, but he was in the right place at the right time with the right professional interests. A board-certified internist, he was chairing the health policy department at Thomas Jefferson University when its president floated the idea of building a school of population health-the first in the country when it opened its doors in 2008 (and still the only one, although several schools have departments devoted to the burgeoning discipline).

"We knew something big would happen eventually [with health reform], and we recognized that schools of public health weren't producing the right people," Nash says. The school has grown, with multiple graduate degree and certificate programs offered both on-site and online, and it's recently been promoted to a full-fledged college within Thomas Jefferson University. Meanwhile, Nash crusades for a population-based approach to quality care and improved health outcomes. He does so through participation on a multitude of committees and task forces, as well as writing and dozens of scholarly articles. He talked with Health Data Management recently about how provider IT departments should be preparing for the demands of population health.

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