Women Engineers You Should Know: Patricia Flatley Brennan

Women engineers make real change in the workplace and in our communities. We honor them in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”
Women Engineers You Should Know: Karan Watson, Ph.D., P.E.

This article is part of SWE Magazine’s Spring 2018 Issue.

Women Engineers You Should Know: Patricia Flatley Brennan
Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D.

Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., became director of the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, in August 2016. She is the highest-ranking female in the NIH and the first nurse to serve as director of the library, which is the world’s largest biomedical library and producer of digital information services used by scientists, health professionals, and the public.

Dr. Brennan exemplifies the significance and value of cross-disciplinary work, holding an M.S. in nursing and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering. She has pioneered the development of information systems for patients, conducts external evaluations of health information technology architectures, and works to repurpose engineering methods for health care.

Dr. Brennan came to NIH from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she was the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor at the School of Nursing and College of Engineering. She led the Living Environments Laboratory at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, which develops new
ways for effective visualization of high-dimen- sional data.

She developed ComputerLink, an electronic network designed to reduce isolation and improve self-care among home care patients. Dr. Brennan also directed HeartCare — a web-based information and communication service that helps home- dwelling cardiac patients recover faster, and with fewer symptoms — among other contributions.

A past president of the American Medical Infor- matics Association, Dr. Brennan was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2001. She is a fellow of the Ameri- can Academy of Nursing, the American College of Medical Informatics, and The New York Academy of Medicine.

Who Are the Women Engineers We Should Know?

women engineersQuite often, those who are behind the scenes and out of the limelight make real change in the workplace and in our communities. It is our intention to recognize such women and make their efforts better known in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”

Casting a wide net, SWE Magazine staff and editorial board members seek contemporary women whose lives have embodied the Society’s mission to: “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force for improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.”

Through a variety of means, including fielding suggestions and conducting archival research, we will examine the stories of many women who have made a difference in these critical areas. Determining a final list is a daunting challenge, and our selections are in no way meant to be definitive. While some names you may recognize, many are not recognizable to most people. From a variety of perspectives, in different environments and moments in time, these women represent “ordinary” when doing “extraordinary” things. In saluting them, we are saluting all the women, known and unknown, past and present, who have advanced our mission.

Nominate women engineers to know for our next article. The deadline for nominations is Friday, December 28, 2018. Submit nominations here.

With each submission, please include the following.

  • Nominee info: name, why her, links supporting your nomination, areas of expertise, where is she located
  • Nominator info: name, email, how you know the nominee

Thanks for your help, and look for the Spring 2019 issue of SWE Magazine.