From his time at the University of Wisconsin creating student health interviews, to his work at Beth Israel and Harvard Medical School innovating the way patients interact with their doctors, Warner has touched the lives of thousands of people. Below you can read the hundreds of comments that people have already left for Warner or view the archived news stories about Warner with the button above. And if you haven't already, we invite you to leave your memories of Warner.


When I was a young assistant professor at Wisconsin, I began to collaborate with Warner, Harold Erdman and John Greist to develop a predictive analytic that interviewed patients complaining of suicidal thoughts, used a Bayesian model to predict whether they would make a serious attempt on their life. The model we developed back in the early 70s was a for-runner to predictive analytics now being created with big data and machine learning. Only 40 years ahead of our time. Like always Warner was far ahead of his time and so enjoyable to work with. I have missed him from the day he left Wisconsin and I miss him even more now.
Submitted by David Gustafson on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:54
In the 9/22/2018 issue, The BMJ ran Warner's obituary in the print edition, an honor that only a small minority of its obits receive. I hope it's the last page of the issue's Comment section (PDF): I did a screen grab of the PDF and posted it on Facebook.
Submitted by Dave deBronkart on Tue, 09/25/2018 - 23:44
A wise and wonderful man, who will live on through those he inspired.

I have fond memories of a letter Warner wrote to me after a talk I gave to Charlie's group.
A generosity of spirit among other greatness. A life well lived.

Sincere condolences to his family.

Submitted by Iain Buchan (MD... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
A wonderful man who helped me, and so many others, to get started in the informatics world. He lives on through many technical advances and personal inspirations.
Submitted by Jonathan Teich ... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
On behalf of the Brazilian Health Informatics Association we'd like to express our sentiments to the family of Dr. Warner Slack. The international health informatics community will certainly miss him!! May he rest in peace.
Submitted by Beatriz de Fari... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Charlie, I’m sorry for your (and the field’s) loss. He was a great man and scientist. 

Submitted by Steven Labkoff ... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
He was a lovely man, will be missed.
Submitted by Geoffrey Rutled... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
I remember Warner being annoyed with some paper we had written in the late 80s or early 90s (I don't remember why now), and I was about to meet him in person and had my misgivings. What a warm reception I got from him, and what a warn reception I got every year I saw him at AMIA or elsewhere. He ended up certainly being one of my mentors on different levels. All these years, when I have thought of Warner, I just feel good, and I will continue to do so. A good soul. George
Submitted by George Hripcsak... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Warner was a pioneer in our field but also a person of integrity. He helped those who sought his help.
 He and Caroline and Mary and I were friends at P&S before he wandered West.

The LINC got to Wisconsin because NIH provided it and also training for the WU physiologist who brought it West. He too was a grand person who welcomed Warner and others to the world of small computers near real patients (or cats too if you studied them). 

I can easily believe Warner in departing felt proud of his accomplishments - as well as those of the whole field he created.
 Don Lindberg
Submitted by Donald Lindberg... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
I can only add to the many glowing tributes to Warner both as an Informatician, a colleague, and a friend. His warm hearted spirit and wisdom have been a joy to us all. I have known Warner since the mid-1960s, when Jerry Grossman and I visited him at the U of Wisconsin, where he proudly showed us his Linc computer patient history program. I have followed all his pioneering achievements in engaging patients in their care since then. He will clearly be missed, but it must have been gratifying to him to see the surge in patient-centered and behaviorally focused activities in our community that he foresaw the need for in the earliest days.
Submitted by Robert Greenes ... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Sad news. Leaves a great gap but his legacy continues, even down under. Condolences to Mrs Slack and family. Teng
Submitted by Siaw-Teng Liaw(... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
A truly gracious gentleman, always looking out for others. I will miss him greatly. Peace to his family, he was greatly loved.
Submitted by Lael Gatewood (... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Thank you for sharing this sad news, Charlie. What a loss for us all. My sincere condolences to you, his family and all who knew and loved him. Peter
Submitted by Peter J. Embi (... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
No one could have said it better! Thank you!  Marion
Submitted by Marion Ball (Ed... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
There are few people whom we can say were true pioneers, who established a path or a field of endeavor, blazing a trail that many, many thousands of us have followed. Warner was truly one, and while being sad at his passing, we must honor him and celebrate his life and legacy. Warner was both a giant and a gentle soul, and I will miss him greatly. ‒ Bill
Submitted by William M. Tier... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Sadly, Warner has passed us his torch. Somehow we must carry it. My favorite Warner effort involved him, a Harvard professor, 'walking the walk' by taking the College Board Exams - back in the day, Ca 1980.  (How many of us would do that, or something equivalent, today?)  As I remember, he took exception to one of the vocabulary questions involving the word 'vespers'. The larger conclusions are here ...,-issue-2/herarticle/a-critical-appraisal_616
Submitted by Mark Tuttle (MD) on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
So sad. He was a great friend and a great man.
Submitted by Clement McDonal... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Warner was an inspiring mentor and colleague who will be truly missed. Sending my best wishes to his friends and family. -Jon
Submitted by Jonathan Wald (... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
He'll leave many fond memories and a great legacy.

Submitted by Bonnie Kaplan (... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
He was a true transformer.
Submitted by Connie Delaney ... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
He will be missed!
Submitted by Blackford Middl... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
We will miss him but am glad his ordeal is over.
Submitted by Leslie Lenert (... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
This is a great loss to our community. My most sincere condolences to you and his family. Best regards, Peter
Submitted by Peter Elkin (MD... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:54
Dear Warner, I'm wishing you well! Thanks for your kindness to me, and your encouragement. Every time I see you, you have a smile on your face, and a kind word. One of the highlights of my professional career thus was getting to write a paper with you, and I'm proud that it just came out in JAMIA! Sending you all my best for a speedy recovery, Adam Wright
Submitted by Adam Wright on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner Frankly, it has been quite an honor and pleasure to have known you. Your visionary outlook and graceful embodiment of what Dr. Osler had called 'Aequanimiltas' are just as inspiring as your accomplishments and pioneering work. You have been, without any question, the role models' role model. Wishing you full recovery Tony Kldany
Submitted by Antoine Kaldany on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner Sorry to hear that you are ill and hospitalized. You were and remain a great inspiration to me. Best wishes on a speedy recovery. Ron
Submitted by Ron Gochakowski on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner, It has been a great honor and privilege to have worked with you since the earliest days of my career. Little did I know that when, as a new employee, I appropriated an office by putting my name on the door, that I was paying homage to you and the division's rich history! Back then I learned from you that 'the quality of the system was inversely proportional to the size of the manual'. In that spirit I always endeavored to make my programs intuitive and easy to use. Your teachings are the reason those systems have been adopted and you have met but a tiny fraction of the large number of thankful users. However the greatest lesson was not related to informatics. At all times, from the day I met you some 28 years ago until the present, no matter what the circumstances, I have never seen anything but the utmost in optimism, sincerity, gratitude and selflessness. You are the consummate professional role model, and all of us who have spent time with you have been greatly enriched by it. With the deepest of appreciation, --Larry
Submitted by Larry Nathanson on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
I first met Warner in 1976. At the time, he and Howard Bleich were starting to computerize the Beth Israel Hospital. He was kind and welcoming. Several years later during my residency, he and Howard published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on PaperChase, a program to search the Biomedial literature. It was about time for me to look for a job, so I contacted Warner and to my delight he was still welcoming. After a day following them at the hospital, they asked if I would be interested in joining them to work on a new project they called PatientChase. It has been my privilege and joy to work with Warner for the last 35 years. There are lots of stories I and you can share about Warner. I will start. You might know that Warner has come into work for the last decade. Warner is always available to counsel, help, support or console. What you probably don’t know is that Warner has a “bat signal.” My office is between Warner’s office and the coffee machine. He walks past my office at least 4 times each day to get coffee. When I need Warner, I close my door except for a 1 inch gap. Within minutes I hear a knock and the door opens and life is just better.
Submitted by Charlie Safran on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
When I met Warner a few days into starting with DCI in 2008, he had his close friend and colleague Dr Howard Bleich seated near him in our old offices at the Feldberg building. He and Howard were kind and cordial — and welcoming, of course. It was a little later that day that Warner, introduced to me as a renowned physician, scientist and author (and cofounder of DCI of course), took a few minutes to come over and get to know me. I remember thinking — is it possible someone is actually this nice? Turns out the answer is a resounding yes. Over the years I have come to look forward to helping Warner in any way I can. Whether I’m making a PDF for him or figuring out a weird quirk in Word, I am always happy to help keep his ship afloat! Warner taught me a lot about kindness and respect in the workplace — we aren’t there only to do work but to do GOOD work that does GOOD. His lovely family is a testament to the sort of person Warner is, and I am quite honored to be counted among those who can say they have learned from him over the last 10 years. Warner’s selfless ways and charming, funny, timely and historically significant stories are something special and I look forward to continuing many more years of quoting him.
Submitted by Eli K. on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Early in my career I read a paper called “Patient Computer Dialog” published on June 15, 1972, in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Warner V. Slack and Charles W. Slack. I was impressed not only by the innovation in that paper but also the humanity of putting the needs of patients first. I would later read many more inspiring papers from Warner and meet many people who were inspired by his wisdom, humanity, and friendship. Warner not only put patients first, I later found out he helps everyone. I was fortunate to meet him in person, and even more fortunate to come work in the division he founded. Countless people come to seek his wisdom and friendship. He always has a kind word and gentle way to support others. His many expressions, “Warnerisms”, a gold standard for how to be a great friend and mentor. One of my favorite Warnerisms is hearing Warner say “How can I help?”. I have heard him say that oh so many times with such great kindness and humility. Warner is the ultimate friend.
Submitted by Yuri Quintana on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Dear Warner, I want to send you best wishes for a speedy recovery. You know well how admiring I am you and all you have contributed to our field. For me you are a super star. We need your continuing guidance and advice. Get well soon your friend and admirer, Marion
Submitted by Marion Ball on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
When I think of Warner I think of ...warm welcomes... legitimizing patients as a part of the care team...Carolyn...challenges to always be better...respect...integrity...laughter... friends...generativivity...engagement... &, of course, “the patient is the most under-used resource in health care”. Warner, do not let them under-use you!!! Patti Brennan
Submitted by Patti Brennan on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Professor, I send you my affection and gratitude, wishing you a fast recovery! You have been an unique mentor and inspiration - an example of wisdom and kindness. I am grateful for the welcoming and the moments I had the privilege to chat with you during my fellowship at DCI.
Submitted by Heimar on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner, Carolyn and Family, the internet in health care has been a major part of your life and it is this medium that brings us news of your ill health-thanks Charlie Safran. All we know is that you are seriously ill. So, the first message is please recover soon if the illness can be overcome. What is important to say is the despite the the tyranny of distance Mary & I are spiritually by your side (and Carolyn’s). For both of us you have been a person of unlimited generosity of spirit and charity over the years we have known you-“unconditional giving” is the first phrase that comes to mind. As a mentor to myself you exist amongst the pantheon of the gods. I am not the only person you have ever nurtured in your professional career but your influences are tattooed on my soul. So from deep within Thylacine country we look forward to better news soon. With ALL our love and affection. Mary Suchodolsky and Terry Hannan
Submitted by Terry Hannan Ma... on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner, Hoping for your recovery! Best wishes Ilan
Submitted by Ilan Zelingher on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner and Carolyn: I'm very sorry to hear you are hospitalized. Your presence will light up the day for all those around you. I hope the mecicals will help you in whichever ways are feasible. Mary and I are somewhat stuck in a similar situation. I'm awaiting a 'next' small surgery, but plan to return to Washington in June if all goes well. Warner, you are a swell person. I've admired you since medical school. Your fame grows, but it's hard to beat just being a medical student! Best wishes ....Don
Submitted by Donald Lindberg on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner - Godspeed and I hope this little bump is nothing more than a hiccup along your path. Thank you for your forever friendship and collegiality as another Montclair boy in the field. You have inspired me and many others along the way. Looking forward to the next rendezvous. Best, B
Submitted by Blackford Middleton on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner and Carol, I am sorry to hear that you are having this trouble. Please accept my most sincere wishes for a speedy recovery of both body and spirit.
Submitted by Peter Elkin on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, Vimla and I are distressed to hear that you are ill and in the hospital. I have many fond memories of our interactions, professional and personal, over the years, and often reminisce about the 'good old days' in Boston and at informatics events. We will be thinking of you and hoping that you feel better soon. With great respect, Ted Shortliffe and Vimla Patel
Submitted by Ted Shortliffe on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner, I can only add to the many glowing tributes to you both as an Informatician,, a colleague, and a friend. Your warm hearted spirit and wisdom are a joy to us all. I have known you since the mid-1960s, when I visited you in Wisconsin, and have followed all your pioneering achievement since then. I wish you all the best during your hospitalization and hope for a speedy recovery. Warmest regards,
Submitted by Bob Greenes on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Dear Warner, Wish you the best for a quick recovery. Aziz
Submitted by Aziz Boxwala on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, When did we become patients? As Don said: Light up the day! Mark
Submitted by Mark Frisse on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you and your family as you cope with your illness. Sue
Submitted by Suzanne Bakken on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, Hi. I've always appreciated the genuine interest and warmth you have shown towards me whenever we have bumped into each other at AMIA, in Boston or wherever. I hope some of that good feeling you have given me comes back to you at this tough time. And thanks too for all the inspiration you have given to me and many, many others as we have looked around at this great field of medical informatics and wondered what's the best way to spend our time? Your leadership by example always has been terrific and so much appreciated. Wishing you all the best, Gil.
Submitted by Gil Kuperman on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, I’ll never forget the time Joan Ash and I had the opportunity to interview you and Howard. It was so great to hear all the old stories and get to know you both in some small way. It always makes my day to run into you at AMIA or the ACMI dinner. Best wishes to you, Dean
Submitted by Dean Sittig on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, We need you. We appreciate all you've done for healthcare informatics. And there is more for you to do. I'm reminded of Wordsworth poem, 'London, 1802): Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee: she is a fen Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Have forfeited their ancient English dower Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; Oh! raise us up, return to us again; And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart: Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life's common way, In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on herself did lay.
Submitted by Ross Koppel on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, visiting Harvard was always fun and you were a big part of that. Wishing you well!
Submitted by Mark Samuel Tiuttle on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, The world is filled with dedicated health care IT professionals, you have taught, guided, and inspired. As we are perched on the precipice of HIT truly changing the way all the world delivers care, we need your knowledge, kindness, and inspiration more than ever. There are so many who have never met you yet know your name and speak it with reverence. Get well soon and continue our journey, that you very much started, to make the world a better place. Barry
Submitted by Barry P Chaiken on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
Warner, Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery. Bill Hersh
Submitted by Bill Hersh on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50
I wish a speedy recover for you. We still have a lot of young kids to teach. Think of you with good thoughts.
Submitted by Ed Hammond on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:50