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The Woody Beeler Memorial Scholarship for Healthcare Interoperability

This scholarship is funded by friends, families and co-workers of Woody Beeler as well as those who share his passion for enabling healthcare interoperability through technology and his belief in accomplishing this aim through partnership and community building. The scholarship supports individuals who, like Woody, demonstrate strong commitment for healthcare interoperability through concrete action and results above and beyond commercial interest. The scholarship builds on Woody's vision by enabling committed individuals with limited financial means to attend HL7 working group meetings and fully participate in the HL7 international community with an objective of building that community and improving patient care through interoperability.

Woody Beeler

Dr. George (Woody) Beeler was an informatician, leader, educator and software developer. He was a stalwart believer in the power of information technology to improve patient outcomes by enabling the sharing of information, and dedicated his life to helping to shape the architecture, technology and most importantly the organizations of people who could bring those potential benefits into reality.

Born in 1938 in Princeton, New York, Woody's education included Bachelors and Masters degrees in electrical engineering and a PhD in biological systems research. After a time with US Army Medical Corps, Woody became an employee of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where he focused on the potential for computers to aid in care and biomedical research. He held a number of positions, culminating in his role of chair of the Division of Information Architecture and Technology.

In addition to his work at Mayo, Woody was active in the standards community, helping to lead work on a shared healthcare data model through his work at the IEEE and later in his extensive work with HL7. Woody was also a key contributor to ISO TC 215, committed to helping to limit divergence in those international Standards and HL7.

At HL7, Woody took on numerous roles. He was treasurer, chair of the board of directors, leader and one of the initial founders of the HL7 V3 Project, and long-time co-chair of the Modeling and Methodology Work Group. He helped in every way he could to advance the cause of healthcare interoperability, including negotiating with other standards organizations, developing tooling to support managing models and terminology, helping to define a harmonization process for attaining consensus on models across the organization, mentoring new participants, and managing numerous discussions and debates that determined the direction of not only HL7 standards but also the HL7 organization itself.

While these efforts started while Woody was an employee of Mayo, his work went well beyond the expectations of an employee. Woody volunteered numerous hours of his own time, regularly donated funds to help support the organization and continued to be an active leader long after he retired.

While working hard to improve healthcare interoperability, Woody was an extremely well-rounded individual. He had a tremendous sense of humor, loved travel and exploration and very much enjoyed the outdoors, whether on a golf course or fixing drinks at his cottage in Traverse City, Michigan. He was also a formidable poker player. Woody adored his family and frequently traveled with his beloved wife Selby and with his children and grandchildren. Pictures of the latter always dominated his computer desktop.

In the last few years of his life, Woody was forced to relinquish some of his leadership roles at HL7 as he turned his attention to battling Lymphoma and spending time with his family, though he still made the effort to attend working group meetings to meet with his extended family at HL7 when his health and treatment schedule permitted.

The Scholarship

The Beeler Memorial Scholarship was created by friends, family and co-workers of Woody Beeler to honor his immense passion for, and contributions towards, the area of healthcare interoperability. The scholarship is managed by HL7 International® the organization Woody was an active part of for nearly thirty years. It coordinates the solicitation of donations, the management of the principle of the fund, the evaluation of applications, and the awarding of the scholarship.

Scholarships are expected to be awarded on an annual basis to partially cover travel, accommodation and registration expenses enabling at least one selected individual to attend and participate in one or more HL7 working group meetings. Funding provided will be sufficient to enable attendance but will require a meaningful - and achievable - contribution by the award recipient. Awards for each working group meeting are expected to be in the neighborhood of $1500-2500 USD per working group meeting, depending on meeting and award recipient location.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a candidate must:

  • Demonstrate, through both effort and impact, a passion for healthcare interoperability above and beyond commercial interest. This passion may be demonstrated via any combination of leadership, community engagement, education and tooling support. Preference will be given to applicants whose passion has been demonstrated in relationship to HL7 standards but consideration will also be given to those with backgrounds in other standards development organizations.
  • Demonstrate that financial issues are a barrier to attendance at HL7 international working group meetings and that the lifting of such barriers would support attendance and active participation in a full WGM.
  • Identify how their HL7 WGM attendance will positively impact the standards community and the long-term improvement of healthcare interoperability.
  • Commit to ongoing participation in the HL7 community.

The selection committee will include at least three members of HL7 International or one of its affiliates, as appointed by the HL7 board of directors. They will be responsible for the design of the application process as well as the evaluation of applicants. Evaluations will consider both assertions of the applicant as well as recommendations by others in the standards community.

The objective the award is to enable meaningful engagement with and contribution towards the standards community. To allow reasonable integration into the standards community, the committee may choose to sponsor the same individual for up to three working group meetings, providing the opportunity to establish the relationships, build expertise and make a meaningful contribution.

The lifetime of the scholarship will depend on contributions. While the initiators of the scholarship hope that it can be sustained for many decades or perhaps even function as an endowment, the priority of the scholarship will align with Woody's spirit of getting real work done and making a difference.

Tax status

HL7 FOUNDATION FOR INTEROPERABILITY is a Michigan nonprofit corporation that is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax exempt charitable organization. The HL7 FOUNDATION FOR INTEROPERABILITY will issue receipts for all donations.

With respect to non-U.S. persons, we believe that U.S. tax treaties with Canada, Mexico, Israel, Germany, and the Netherlands address cross-border treatment of tax-exempt entities and recommend that donors from those jurisdictions consult their tax advisors to identify home-country benefits, if any.

Contributing towards the scholarship

HL7 welcomes contributions of any amount, though receipts will only be provided for contributions greater than $20 USD. Contributions may be in the form of one-time donations or through regular contributions.

Check payments may be made payable to the HL7 FOUNDATION FOR INTEROPERABILITY and may be mailed to:

HL7 Foundation
3300 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite 227
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA


HL7 is also happy to accept contributions via electronic wire transfers. Should you wish to contribute via this method, please send an email to peggy@hl7.org requesting wiring instructions.

HL7 also supports the usage of DAF Direct for charitable contributions.

Applying for the scholarship

For all individuals with a sincere interest in HL7 but are unable to participate at the HL7 Working Group Meetings due to financial reasons, please submit an essay not to exceed 200 words explaining your situation and your interest in HL7. The Woody Beeler Scholarship Committee will review all submissions and announce the scholarship awards about six weeks before the next HL7 WGM. To apply, please complete the Woody Beeler Memorial Scholarship Application Form.

In memory of George W. (Woody) Beeler October 5, 1938 - May 7, 2017

Apply Today

To apply for the Woody Beeler Memorial Scholarship for Healthcare Interoperability, please complete the application form.


Donate Today

Please use the button below to make a donation through PayPal. You may enter the amount of the donation at the top of the form.

HL7 also supports the usage of DAF Direct for charitable contributions.