Johns Hopkins University Names Stephanie Reel Chief Information OfficerIn an effort to approach the information age in the 21st century with a clear vision and direction, The Johns Hopkins University named Stephanie Reel as its chief information officer. She succeeds the university's first CIO, David Kingsbury, who departed in May 1997.
"There has been great anticipation throughout Hopkins about the appointment of a chief information officer to provide strong leadership and direction in information technology," says Theodore O. Poehler, vice provost for research and the chairman of the search committee that selected Reel. "I believe that Stephanie Reel is a person who can fill that role and that she will do a superb job in responding to our long-standing need to strengthen and integrate information technology across the institution."
Reel served the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Information Services Department, as director and then senior director, from 1990 to 1994, when she became vice president for information services for Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"Stephanie Reel has been extremely successful in her efforts to organize information services in the vastly complex setting of Johns Hopkins Medicine," says Provost Steven Knapp. "In so doing, she has won the deep respect of her colleagues around the university. In the three years I have worked with her on our institution-wide Information Systems Coordinating Council, I have come to admire her high professionalism, managerial skill and evident commitment to our academic as well as our clinical mission."
Reel earned a bachelor's degree in information systems management at the University of Maryland and an MBA at Loyola College, in Baltimore. Working for five years in Anne Arundel County's judicial system, she played around with computers and found it rewarding to use technology to address basic challenges, like managing court dockets and sharing court documents. Her career then turned to health care information. She says the unifying aspect of her work has been the desire to help people solve their problems with increasingly complex tools of technology.
Reel will serve all eight academic divisions, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the health system and the university administration; the specifics and the depth of her involvement in each school and division, however, are still somewhat fluid. And that's how she prefers it.
"My job is not to get people around the university to do things my way," she says. It will be, instead, to facilitate discussion, develop collaborations and communicate effectively throughout the university. "This is a leadership position, and I believe you lead best when you listen and learn what each division needs and how you can best help them achieve their goals. I know I will need to earn the right, among the deans and faculty and senior staff, to go forward.
"My greatest asset for this job may be my optimism," she says with an easy laugh. "I really think this job is doable."
That said, the job is a formidable one. She believes her early efforts will be enhanced by various entities working together and sharing ideas and information.
"The CIO needs to provide the glue for tying our efforts together. I know from my experiences in East Baltimore that there are incredibly talented people throughout Hopkins. I have been successful leveraging faculty strengths, and their talents have led to great things--all the better if we can now do that on a grand scale. Not to take advantage of all the institution has to offer would be unfortunate."
Reel believes her first year, which will begin Jan. 1, 1999, will involve getting back to basics.
"I want to learn a lot about the telecommunications, networking and service level processes," she says. "I want to better understand what the needs are, where the problems are and how people dealing with them daily think these functions can be improved. These things need to be in place if we are to build further into the information age."
She believes her attention can then turn to looking for what the university's entities can do together--like combining purchasing decisions to better take advantage of Hopkins' buying power--and building on a solid infrastructure. Reel also expects to devote a lot of her attention to reducing the university's exposure to the year-2000 problem, a project she has been working on in East Baltimore for many months.
"She clearly understands both the weaknesses and the strengths that affect our readiness to flourish in the information age," says university president William R. Brody. "Her deep knowledge and appreciation of Hopkins, in all its aspects, make Stephanie the ideal person to move us forward in this challenging but essential area."
Reel will be located at the Homewood campus. She plans on keeping an office on the East Baltimore campus and will continue to lead the work already being done there.
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