FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2011
Contact: HHS Press Office
New innovation winners honored by Secretary Sebelius
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced six winners for Round 3 of the HHSinnovates program, and said the program is part of an HHS-wide initiative “to build a constant thrust of innovation into the everyday operations of our health and human services agencies.”
At HHS, we’re proud to create new ways to achieve America’s goals,” Secretary Sebelius said in recognizing Round 3 winners. “Along with our partners in the states and the private sector, HHS is delivering on the President’s vision of an America that does not rely on accomplishments of the past, but accepts once more the challenge of creating the future.”
The awards were presented by Secretary Sebelius in a ceremony today at HHS headquarters featuring John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management. “Innovation doesn't happen overnight. It requires investment in creative minds,” said Director Berry. “High-performance government means giving our employees the opportunity to create and invent and serve the American people with all their heart and soul; it means thousands of managers in thousands of workplaces changing the office culture, changing the way they motivate their teams.”
The HHSinnovates program was launched last year to semiannually recognize outstanding innovation efforts throughout the agencies of the department. In Round 3, more than 85 qualified candidates were submitted. After an initial review process, the best candidates were submitted through an open web-based process and then put up for a vote using a secure intranet site.
“The HHS voting process, open to all HHS employees, has itself been recognized as an innovative feature that accelerates wide-sharing of new ideas,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr.
Candidates are judged on both innovativeness and applicability for use by other programs in HHS, or throughout the federal government. The final six awardees include three “Secretary’s Picks” and three honorable mentions.
The Secretary’s Picks in Round 3 are:
National Database for Autism Research – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), which is poised to bring together 90 percent or more of all human research data concerning autism spectrum disorders (ASD). To accelerate progress in this complex and multidisciplinary scientific field, NIH created a federated data repository and portal that interconnects different informatics platforms, tools, and data from the public and private sectors and enables active collaboration and data sharing across laboratories. Such an environment could transform the very way that ASD research is conducted: it allows researchers to ask new types of questions and quickly combine information in novel ways to develop answers. NDAR is a versatile platform that is highly extensible to other domains beyond ASD research with the potential to save millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent funding data acquisition or developing a similar platform. Key contributors: Greg Farber (NIH), Michelle Freund (NIH), Daniel Hall (NIH), Matthew McAuliffe (NIH).
Making Vital Health Information Accessible, Understandable and Actionable – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed “Vital Signs,” a program that dramatically transforms the way scientific information is distilled and released by CDC. It is a dual information initiative that develops customized messages written for professional and lay audiences using scientific data from CDC surveillance programs as the foundation of its messages. The program relates the public health problem, its context, and critical interventions in a simple, straightforward way using plain language that all can readily understand; and then provides the message in many formats and through various outlets, including podcasts, Twitter and Facebook postings, banners, widgets, and Q&A forums, so people of all ages will see, hear, and understand, and will recognize its relevance to their lives. In its first year, the program’s estimated reach was approximately 3.7 billion potential viewings, vastly exceeding original expectations of fewer than one million potential viewings the entire first year. The initiative demonstrates the effectiveness of different techniques for using and presenting sound data in the service of disease prevention. Key contributors: Barbara Bowman (CDC), Ronald Campbell (CDC), Carol Crawford (CDC), Karen Resha (CDC), Richard Schieber (CDC), Lynn Sokler (CDC), Stephen Thacker (CDC).
Light-Emitting Diode Cap Lamp – The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and external partners developed a new mine workers cap lamp, using a special form of illumination, known as light-emitting diodes (LED) that can be programmed or “tuned” to suit individual needs and provide lighting that is superior to the traditional single light beam spot. Testing results have shown up to 194 percent improvement in detecting floor hazards and 79 percent improvement in peripheral motion detection, thereby addressing the leading causes of injury to mine workers. The knowledge gained from this research has resulted in five major changes in the international standard for cap lamps, benefitting miners worldwide. Methodologies and test apparatuses developed as a result of this innovation may be applicable to future research in emergency lighting potentially impacting standards used for buildings, trains, planes, subways and tunnels. Advances in LED cap lamp lighting technology are expected to crossover to other industries and benefit other workers that use personal lighting such as military, security, and search and rescue personnel. Key contributors: Sean Gallagher (CDC), Grant King (CDC), Timothy Lutz (CDC), Timothy Matty (CDC), Miguel Reyes (CDC), John Sammarco (CDC).
The honorable mention awardees are:
Increasing and Supporting Tribal Grantees – Facing challenges of constant turnover within Tribal Child Welfare Programs and a desire to increase the number of Tribes applying for title IV-B grants (non-competitive grant for Tribal Child Welfare programs), the Tribal Child Welfare Team within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Region VI Children’s Bureau created a solution for improved accessibility to grant funds. The concept involved developing application templates with simple instructions for two key aspects of the grant application process. The template and resulting grant applications are maintained electronically by the Region VI Bureau, making it easy to integrate new materials and share historical knowledge with new program directors. The templates have made it easier for Tribal directors to submit the needed planning and evaluation documents demonstrating the value of federally supported services, while increasing protection for children. Since implementation two years ago, nearly all of the 67 recognized Tribes within the states of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are taking advantage of title IV-B funding. Key contributors: Nanette Bishop (ACF), Dana Huckabee (ACF).
Video Search: An Open-Source Software Tool – The National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the NIH, has developed unique new software that offers rapid retrieval of medical and public health films created by the U.S. government, including historical materials. The software is based on a combination of open-source and inexpensive commercial tools augmented with speech recognition technology. It solves the challenge of accurately searching digital videos with embedded transcripts, including full-text search and the ability to go immediately to the portion of film where the search word or phrase occurs. This technology can be easily adopted by other organizations within HHS, other federal agencies, or other institutions that want to provide searchable, federally compliant captioned video content to their web users. It is easily integrated and customizable to fit any digital content, repository or web application. NLM Video Search holds tremendous potential for enhancing collaboration among government agencies by making videos of current lectures, conferences, governance committees, training meetings, and official observances more accessible. Key contributors: John Doyle (NIH), Edward Luczak (NIH), Simon Liu (NIH), Wei Ma (NIH), Jennifer Marill (NIH), John Rees (NIH), Doron Shalvi (NIH).
Making Healthy Eating the Easy Choice in Federal Facilities – A collaborative effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) resulted in comprehensive “Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations.” These landmark guidelines address both nutritional and environmental impacts of food service while aligning employee health and dietary demands with cafeterias, snack bars, and vending operations. The guidelines represent the first time the USDA Dietary Guidelines for America have been used as the basis for a set of food service guidelines. Released in March 2011, the health and sustainability guidelines have been successfully implemented at HHS headquarters and ten other GSA facilities nationwide and eventually will be employed in the food choices and operations at all HHS and GSA locations. Key contributors: Marjorie Coy (CDC), Kris Gillham (OS), Joel Kimmons (CDC), Kathleen Koehler (OS), Holly McPeak (OS), Crystal Rivers (FDA), Aimee Whiteman (GSA).
The ceremony, as well as other information about HHSinnovates, can be accessed at http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/hhsinnovates/r3index.html
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Last revised: September 26, 2011