Mark R. Thomason
The Mark R. Thomason Excellence in Innovation Scholarship was established in memory of Mark R. Thomason, a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. The $1,000 scholarship is intended for a degree seeking graduate student in Biomedical Informatics who have completed at least one year of graduate work with preference given to PhD students. The scholarship may be used for tuition, travel to present a paper, assistance with preparation for a presentation (poster, demo, etc.), supplies for a research project or other educational related expenses as approved.
Student must demonstrate the development/creation/discovery of a noteworthy innovation such as a new method, process, or concept during the past year that represents a different approach to existing procedures or methodology in the field of BMI research or practice. Such innovations should have demonstrated practical implantation and be a new or notably different technique that can be used by others to perform or address a current or future procedure or need.
The award shall be presented annually at a date to be determined. If no innovation in the applications of a particular year is deemed appropriate to the level described, or no funds are available, the award may be held until the subsequent year or when a suitable awardee is determined.
Mark R. Thomason
Named in honor of Mark R. Thomason, a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah who died of cancer just prior to completion of his PhD requirements, the Mark R. Thomason Excellence in Innovation Scholarship was established to encourage and recognize new outstanding and useful innovative advances in methods and applications in Biomedical Informatics.
After earning a BS degree in computer science from Brigham Young University, Mr. Thomason worked as a senior developer at WordPerfect Corporation dealing with advanced features in software development and applications. Having a compelling interest in the possibilities inherent in applying computer techniques to medical applications, he left WordPerfect and enrolled in the Medical Informatics Department at the University of Utah where among other things he did innovative work developing database and reporting systems for organ transplant follow-up and analysis. He was also active in professional organizations and gave numerous presentations and seminars. Upon receiving his MS, he became Director of Clinical Trials in BioInformatics with faculty status at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, NH, managing all aspects of clinical trial information systems. After a number of years at Dartmouth, he returned to the University of Utah to complete a doctorate. At the time of his death, he was involved in developing innovative ways to apply new and emerging social media techniques to facilitate collaboration between and among professionals around the world. Capable and bright, he was highly respected in his field, a gifted writer, and made a number of important contributions to the field through his research and work in areas such as organ transplant, cancer applications, and a federated biospecimen knowledge system.
In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Thomason had an infectious zest for life. He was the devoted father of five; a private pilot; a certified scuba diver; a Class I fire fighter; a skilled builder and craftsman; an expert rifleman; an avid snowmobiling, waterskiing, 4-wheeling, and bicycling enthusiast; a trusted, loyal, and faithful friend; and a simply delightful and fun person to be around. He hoped to continue to develop new concepts in BMI and to become a university teacher, a researcher, and a mentor to future students in the field.
It is hoped that this scholarship and his creativity, talents, vision, and commitment to quality and excellence will inspire others to think outside the box and to envision new and innovative ways of approaching BMI research procedures, data gathering and reporting techniques, teaching and sharing skills, and treatment methods that will ultimately benefit patients and the public through improved health care and quality of life.
(1961 – 2010)