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July 22, 2015

PHII welcomes new Informatics Analyst

This month, PHII is pleased to welcome Claire Loe, PhD, MPH, as a Senior Informatics Analyst. In this role, Claire will leverage her policy and informatics expertise to assist with PHII’s public health projects.

Claire is no stranger to PHII. During the Public Health Informatics Fellowship she recently completed with the CDC, Claire received training from PHII staff, whom she later tapped as advisers on her fellowship’s capstone project.

Prior to this internship, Claire enjoyed an extensive career in health promotion, most notably at the consultancy she co-founded with a classmate from her UNC Chapel Hill master’s program. Claire worked with this consultancy as a partner for 16 years. It was during her work conducting evaluations and developing training for public health practitioners that she became aware of the complexities involved in collecting and reporting data at the local level. She later learned to label these informatics issues.

While at her consultancy, Claire also co-founded Sage Words, a nonprofit committed to developing targeted, low-literacy, culturally appropriate materials that could promote healthy behavior. As part of this work, Claire created targeted materials that addressed issues ranging from methamphetamine addiction to depression, translated into languages including Spanish, Navajo and Hopi.

Claire’s passion for informatics dates back more than a decade to a viral hepatitis education and training project she worked on under a CDC grant. For this project, Claire worked to scale up providers’ ability to provide preventive hepatitis care to their adult migrant patients. During the project, she realized she couldn’t evaluate the project’s effectiveness because she couldn’t measure whether testing or adult vaccinations had increased—either the data simply didn’t exist or no one knew how to access it. This experience sparked an epiphany. “It made me ask: how do we support public health organizations, both agencies and nonprofits, in having the information they need to do their work, or applying the information they do have appropriately?” says Claire.

In the pursuit of a more health information-rich world, Claire recently obtained her PhD in health information sciences from the University of Texas, making her the second PHII staff member to answer to the title “Doctor” (after our director Dave Ross). For her dissertation, she blended two leading educational principles—situated learning and social cognitive theory—to design and test a social learning system for community health workers.

When Claire isn’t solving problems with informatics and health education, she cultivates her urban garden (a thriving blueberry patch on her condo balcony), spends time with her one-eyed rescue cat Smudge, and rides her bicycle.

Claire also enjoys creating art cars—intricately decorated cars—which she sometimes displays in parades. Her most recent creation is the car she currently drives, a Toyota Prius she calls “Peace Portraits” painted in the style of Pakistani truck art. The car’s decorative exterior celebrates notable women who have worked toward a more peaceful world (see slideshow below). Claire created Peace Portraits with the help of a Quaker youth group as part of a community outreach and education initiative several years ago. The car is decorated with interchangeable magnetized plates bearing the portraits of famous women, including agricultural activist Vandana Shiva, journalist and author Arundhati Roy, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. “We don’t always remember the peacemakers among us,” says Claire. “I think it’s important to have a reminder of the nonviolent ways of contributing to a better world.”

Now that her school work is done and she embarks on her new role at PHII, Claire is looking forward to spending quality time with Peace Portraits to spruce up the fading paintwork.

Piper Hale, MPH

Assistant Director of Communications