Rick Jones obituary

Other lives: Medical data scientist who helped establish the Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics at the University of Leeds

My brother, Rick Jones, who has died of cancer aged 61, was professor of chemical pathology and health informatics at the University of Leeds. He was involved in establishing the Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics in 2001, which aims to bring together academic interests, industry and the NHS to develop modern health data. Rick also worked on the development of a joint BSc in computing for medicine and an MSc in health informatics introduced at Leeds in 2008.

He became a national expert on informatics in medicine, advising on the modernisation of pathology in the NHS. His work with colleagues on "big data" has contributed to the improvement of data standardisation within NHS systems, which should lead to the improvement of patient care.

Son of John and Mary Jones, both teachers, Rick was born in Manchester. His childhood fascination with how things worked was encouraged by our parents. They were socialists, supported the co-operative movement and attended the Methodist church. We travelled a great deal – to Wales, visiting family and to go hiking, and camping in Europe. Rick won a scholarship to Manchester grammar school (where he also learned mountaineering and became a blues and jazz fan).

Working in the Co-operative Bank's computer department fired his curiosity about IT. He studied medicine at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, qualifying in 1978 (after a placement in California) and winning the Martin Wronker prize in medicine. At Oxford Rick met Vivien, whom he married in 1975.

Working in Oxford, with stints at the Radcliffe Infirmary and the John Radcliffe hospital, he carried out research assignments for the UK Prospective Diabetes Study and an MRC training fellowship, completing an MD thesis on the role of insulin in the regulation of the mammary gland during lactation.

The family moved to Leeds in 1983, when Vivien took up a lectureship in English at Leeds and Rick became an honorary registrar and tutor in medicine in the department of medicine and at Leeds general infirmary.

He played the bass guitar in the band Blues Positive, sometimes accompanied by his son on drums.

Rick is survived by Vivien, their children, Anna and Luke, Mary, a granddaughter, Sky, and me.

Sara Newman

The GuardianTramp

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