Dr. Tierney received a B.A. degree (biological sciences) from Indiana University in 1973 and an MD from IU's School of Medicine in 1976. After completing his residency in internal medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1979, he was Chief Resident at Wishard Memorial Hospital from 1979-1980. He joined the IUSM Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics in 1980 where he was a clinician-investigator focusing on the application of information technology in medicine and its effects on the quality, efficiency, and costs of health care.
In 2021, Dr. Tierney was appointed associate dean of population health and health outcomes at IU's Fairbanks School of Public Health. He joins the school after serving as the founding chair of the Department of Population Health at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Previously, Dr. Tierney spent 36 years at Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute, as president and CEO, and associate dean and chairman of the department of Internal Medicine at Eskenazi Health where he led the implementation and study of electronic medical records and health information technologies. He also served as the founding director of informatics and research for the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), a 30-year collaboration of more than 20 North American universities with universities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. He co-directs ResNet, a primary care practice-based research network of 27 inner-city and suburban primary care practice sites in central Indiana, 250 physicians, and more than 150,000 patients that has received more than $30 million in extramural funding and published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Tierney is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Dr. Tierney is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Master of the American College of Physicians. He is listed in the Guide to America's Top Physicians published by the Consumers' Research Council of America. Dr. Tierney is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (for which he is the immediate past-President), the Royal College of Physicians–London, and the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics. Dr. Tierney has received more than $20 million as principal investigator in grants and contracts from federal agencies and research foundations and has published more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Tierney was named IUPUI Chancellor's Professor in 2004 and Sam Regenstrief Professor of Health Services Research in 2010. In honor of his distinguished contributions and dedicated research, Dr. Tierney was awarded IU's Bicentennial Medal in 2019.