Our Mission

The RIO will provide strategic direction and informatics expertise to maximize the impact of CU Anschutz’s research and data assets, recognizing the need for socio-technical integration and shared sound governance among stakeholders. The RIO will serve as a primary liaison between biomedical researchers and information technology (IT) teams, analytics initiatives, and data science education efforts on campus. It will assume a central brokerage role in identifying gaps among existing resources, designing evidence-based collective decision making processes and policies, coordinating new initiatives and programs, and driving innovation.

Our Work Focuses On:  


Design and deploy policies and procedures for shared governance for management and investment in existing and new data resources and informatics infrastructure across CU Anschutz, Children’s Hospital Colorado, UCHealth, and other partners.

Informatics Assets

Perform ongoing inventory and evaluation of existing data assets, computational resources, expertise, and programs.


Facilitate team science among investigators and staff with computational and analytical expertise and coordinate partnerships to design and deploy new technologies and capabilities.  


Liaise with investigators to support informatics innovation, translation, and dissemination in coordination with CU Innovations, the CCTSI and other campus partners. Aid the creation of public-private partnerships and business innovation.

Regulatory & Security

Partner with regulatory and security partners and patients as key stakeholders to evaluate risk and help design solutions and policies to balance risk, mitigation, and research and care goals.

Learning Healthcare

Coordinate and contribute to design and deployment of learning healthcare models and the use of a wide variety of data sources and modern data science methods.

Workforce Development

Attract talent in informatics, enhance institutional recognition of data science contributors, and promote training for all career levels and members of the workforce.

Metrics of Success

Evaluate utility and impact of CU Anschutz data and analytical resources to inform governance for existing and new programs and support of continuous improvement.

Diversity & Inclusion and Empowerment

Help address diversity and equity issues in all areas of research, healthcare, education, and community engagement by designing data driven strategies and programs that themselves promote diversity.

The RIO is Here to Unlock Potential  

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus comprises a large and diverse biomedical research community. Conversations with approximately thirty senior leaders, faculty, and staff from across CU Anschutz, Children’s Hospital, and UCHealth have revealed a fragmented suite of institutional data, analytical, and personnel assets in informatics and infrastructure.

These assets hold tremendous potential for CU Anschutz, regional hospitals, and partnering organizations to realize the promise of precision medicine, learning healthcare, and global research prominence.

If you have ideas for a new campus informatics or data science initiative, please email CRIO@cuanschutz.edu, and let us know.

Meet the Chief Research Informatics Officer

Melissa A. Haendel, PhD
, joined the University in late spring of 2021 and was named Chief Research Informatics Officer (CRIO) for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. This position is responsible for transforming the campus use of information and information systems to accelerate biomedical discoveries, streamline health system operations, and continuously improve patient care. She also holds an appointment as professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics in the CU School of Medicine.

The RIO, created summer 2021, leads efforts to strategize and coordinate informatics governance, infrastructure, data management, and data-driven analytics across the CU Anschutz schools and colleges. The RIO will be a key partner for centers and hospital partners on the campus, accelerating research and translating those discoveries to improvements in care. 

Institutions that have invested in their informatics infrastructure, expertise, training, and data governance experience greater efficiencies, innovations, financial outlooks, and importantly, improved care and patient outcomes. At the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, we have an excellent opportunity to work together to make a difference for patients, learners, researchers, and the entire biomedical community. Collaboration is key to realizing the promise of precision medicine, to deploying new models for training health professionals, and to achieving global research prominence.