18,000 – that is the number of individuals who voted the last time we asked the public to vote on which innovation would receive the People’s Choice Award.  We are, once again, proud to announce that public voting for the HHSinnovates People’s Choice award is now open.

In its sixth round, the HHSinnovates program is showing us that HHS employees have come up with a variety of new and interesting solutions to solve some of the most complex issues facing the health care industry, both inside and outside of government.  One of the most fascinating aspects of HHSinnovates is hearing stories from the individuals who decided to experiment and innovate; learning about their motivation, and how they went about it.

One interesting story is from a finalist in the last round of HHSinnovates. One day, on a morning run, Gwen Shinko, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was thinking about how resources could be utilized more efficiently among the laboratories at NIAID.  On her run, an idea came to Gwen: to create an internal supply exchange that would facilitate the sharing of surplus equipment and supplies between laboratories.  With her idea in mind, she rounded up an enthusiastic young scientist who had returned to school for an MBA and was looking for an interesting project, as well as a developer and designer to help create this exchange called NIAID FreeStuff.  Their idea not only resulted in economic savings and waste reduction, but is now being rolled out NIH-wide.  In the first six months, it is estimated that over $30,000 was saved as a result of this tool!

Like Gwen, each of our six finalists has their own story. Each has identified and developed new solutions for complex problems, ranging from battling the scourge of counterfeit drugs, to combating obesity, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, to ensuring food safety, to better training our workforce.  You can learn more about the finalists and their projects at the HHSinnovates Gallery.

From this fantastic pool of six finalists, only one will be chosen as the People’s Choice, and your vote can help choose the winner, so vote today!

Public voting begins today and runs through March 10, 2013. See two projects that are worthy of your vote? Feel like you just can’t decide which project is the best?  The good news is that you can vote for each of the projects.  Let us know which ones you like by voting.

The winner will be announced at the HHSinnovates awards ceremony on March 19, 2013 from 11:00 – 11:30 AM EST, and will be telecast on http://www.hhs.gov/live

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