This past week a dear friend and colleague passed away.
Mike Lincoln was on the admissions committee at the University of Utah medical informatics department when I applied to their graduate program in late 1997. On the phone from my basement outside Fulton Missouri, I had to explain to him why my test scores and my transcripts didn’t always reflect the same scholarly potential (speaking specifically about withdrawing from school completely in my junior-ish year, I said “hacky sack”, which was as good an answer as any, and one he accepted), and why the informatics program would be better off with me in it.
Although we’d lost touch recently, we worked closely together in the classroom, and later at Apelon, for many years. He guided my work and shaped my thinking about all things informatics and many things in life. He was a deeply decent and caring man. He hated the bureaucracy in his work at the VA, but he somehow stuck it out through the decades and made a difference wherever he could.
In addition to his actual work, which lives on in his many publications, and in the good health he helped his patients achieve, Mike was a great guy to work with. There are a lot of fond and funny stories to be told (sweaters! saving a little snack for later!), and I’m sure they will be told for a long time, by a lot of people, because he made a lasting impact on so many of us.
The world of medical informatics has been extraordinarily good to me, and running into Mike at the beginning of that journey was one of the main reasons.