2014 Bollinger Academic Staff
Distinguished Achievement Award
Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS) Director David Gustafson sums up Haile Berhe’s contributions with two words: forward thinking.
Berhe is director of software architecture and among the original members of CHESS, having joined the center in 1990. During his tenure, he has made major contributions to programming, software development and research and has worked tirelessly to keep the center at the cutting edge of technology. In addition, Berhe has taken an active role in grant writing so that technologies he has researched can be integrated into proposals.
He has designed several inclusive platforms that support CHESS projects over local networks, over the internet and on mobile devices. His innovations include an internal document management system and a high-risk location tracking system that uses a smartphone’s GPS as part of A-CHESS, a mobile application to support people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. In addition to leading development of several applications for smartphones, he has developed server-side and web applications that have helped thousands of cancer patients and their families. And, planning for the future, Berhe is leading efforts to develop a universal platform for programming for smartphones, which would allow current mobile applications to stay compatible with future smartphone technology.
Berhe also has been an integral part of CHESS research itself. He positioned himself at the forefront of healthcare software statistical analysis when he designed tools that capture a robust picture of computer use. This usage data allows CHESS researchers to understand how people use interactive health communication systems. “Berhe developed research tools to track and interpret computer use long before these tools were available from other resources,” Gustafson says.
Even in guiding the design and development of CHESS software systems, Berhe is always available to advise and mentor staff. Not only does he mentor and train student hourlies, graduate assistants and staff, but he also collaborates across the country and even internationally in an effort to better understand the unique challenges and needs of the organizations and institutions using CHESS software.
Berhe's contributions have had a major impact on CHESS as a whole. “The research we have done at the center would not have been possible without his unique skills and abilities,” Gustafson says.