François Grémy, First IMIA President, Passed Away
We regret to inform colleagues that Prof. François Grémy, one of the founders of IMIA and its first President, has passed away. His close colleague Prof. Patrice Degoulet writes: “It is with a great emotion and sadness that I inform you that François Grémy passed on July 22, 2014 at the age of 86. François was a physician with a specialty in neurophysiology. But he also got degrees in mathematics, biophysics, and more recently philosophy. He created the first laboratory for medical informatics in the mid-60s at the Pitié-Salpêtrière School of Medicine in Paris. As founder of IFIP TC4 that gave rise to IMIA he is considered to be the IMIA father and a key European figure in the field. All those that have the chance to meet him recognize his kindness, his deep humanism and his brilliant character and brain.”
Messages of sympathy can be transmitted to his daughter Isabelle Grémy-Trouillet at the following email address : gremy.trouillet[at]wanadoo.fr
François was the recipient of the first IMIA/UMIT Medical Informatics Award of Excellence, which was given in 2004 during a ceremony at MedInfo 2004 in San Francisco CA, USA. The Nomination Committee unanimously selected Prof. François Grémy, Uzes, France, in recognition of his work as one of the founders of IMIA and an outstanding pioneer of the field of medical informatics. The award celebration took place on September 11, 2004 at MedInfo 2004 in San Francisco, CA culminating with Prof. Grémy’s Medical Informatics Award of Excellence Lecture, entitled “Hardware, Software, Peopleware, Subjectivity: A Philosophical Promenade“ which was published jointly with other papers on his work in one of the 2005 issues of Methods of Information in Medicine.
Photo above: Reinhold Haux, KC Lun, François Grémy, Casimir Kulikowski; Photo left from IMIA Newsletter 1993 and IMIA Archive.
UPDATE (30 July): The published paper based on Prof. Grémy’s Medical Informatics Award of Excellence Lecture, entitled “Hardware, Software, Peopleware, Subjectivity: A Philosophical Promenade”, and the associated Editorial by Degoulet et al, have both been made freely available. Our grateful thanks go to Methods of Information in Medicine, Schattauer as the publisher, and to the editorial team, lead by Prof. Reinhold Haux, for facilitating this. In “Hardware, Software, Peopleware, Subjectivity: A Philosophical Promenade” (Methods Inf Med 2005; 44: 352 – 8 – free PDF download), François Grémy deals “with evaluation of health information systems, where he was involved, [and] describes the evolution of his personal ideas … he proposes the main distinction between systems where the user(s) remain(s) external from the running program, from the ones where the user(s) interacting with the program become(s) the main component of the system.” He addresses conventional methods of evaluation used in Medical Technology Assessment, how the whole knowledge in anthropology may contribute strongly to evaluation, and and how the subjectivity of the user(s), how he (or they) react(s) with the computing machinery, is a main key to the success or failure of the whole system. He asserts that the temptation of the eradication of subjectivity as a condition for progress “is deleterious for our civilization threatened by a comeback of barbarity, and is scientifically wrong.” In the Editorial “François Grémy and the Birth of IMIA 1st IMIA/UMIT Medical Informatics Award of Excellence Given to Professor Grémy”, Patrice Degoulet, Reinhold Haux, Casimir Kulikowski and K. C. Lun describe the life and work of Prof. Grémy, the establishment of the IMIA Award of Excellence, and the selection of Prof. Grémy as the first recipient (Methods Inf Med 2005 44 3: 349-351 – free PDF download).
Other tributes include:
Prof. KC Lun from Singapore, IMIA President (2001-2004), writes:
I had the honor of meeting François Grémy in person at MEDINFO 2004 in San Francisco when, in my capacity as the then IMIA President, I presented him with the first IMIA Award of Excellence for his outstanding contributions to IMIA and to health informatics. François was one of the founders of IMIA and his extensive research especially during his time at the University of Montpellier had left a lasting impression on his colleagues, students and friends in Europe and many other parts of the world. My wife and I send our deepest condolences to the family of the late Professeur François Grémy.
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