HHS Innovates Celebrates 7th Round of Innovations!

Today, the six finalist teams for Round 7 of HHS Innovates were celebrated by HHS Leadership and their peers for their innovative projects and their impact on the Department of Health and Human Services and services to the American people. The People’s Choice Award and Secretary’s Picks were announced today.

With nearly 5,000 people voting, the People’s Choice Award winner this year was:

Suicide Prevention: What’s Your Role Suicide Prevention: What’s Your Role

Imagine combining the reach of the Web and the power of community engagement to reduce suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in the nation.  Using “echo sites”, which are defined as community-organized gatherings, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) partnered with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Administration for Community Living (ACL), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and with local communities to hold interactive dialogues that transform participants into change agents capable of spreading the message that everyone plays a role in preventing suicide.

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Recognized by Secretary Burwell, and Deputy Secretary Corr the three Secretary Picks were:

Breast Cancer Startup ChallengeBreast Cancer Startup Challenge

The first-of-its-kind, an international, university student-based startup competition, the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge was launched by the National Cancer Institute in partnership with the Avon Foundation and the Center for Advancing Innovation. The primary goals of this challenge were to accelerate the process of bringing emerging breast cancer technologies to market and stimulate the creation of start-up businesses around the inventions.  As a result of this challenge, 10 new startups are expected to launch this summer.

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Whole Genome Sequencing: Future of Food SafetyWhole Genome Sequencing: Future of Food Safety

Sometimes the food we eat can be hazardous and finding contaminated foods before consumers become ill is a major challenge. The process for identifying disease-causing organisms that can be found in food and can be a slow and cumbersome process using conventional detection testing methods.  Whole genome sequencing is a new technology has the potential to speed up detection and enable faster interventions to stop an outbreak of disease in its tracks.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with agencies across state and federal government, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health National Center for Biotechnology Information to engage in a demonstration project to showcase the benefits of using Whole Genome Sequencing for food surveillance and detection purposes.

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JumpStarting Drug ReviewJumpStarting Drug Review

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “JumpStart” program is modernizing the review process for new drug approvals.  FDA medical reviewers are using “JumpStart’s” automated analytics and data-driven tools to more efficiently assess data from clinical trials, helping to ensure safe and effective drugs are approved for public use.   This innovation demonstrates the value that data analytics can play in allowing the FDA to more effectively manage complex drug reviews.  The “Jumpstart” approach has the potential for application to other areas subject to FDA review.

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The honorable mention projects are:

Using Motion Comics to Educate Young People About HIV and STD’sUsing Motion Comics to Educate Young People About HIV and STD’s

Over half of all sexually transmitted infections occur among young people 15 – 24 years of age.  To promote HIV and Sexuallly-transmitted disease awareness and prevention among youth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used a very popular form of mainstream entertainment – the motion comic – to engage this population through animation.  This innovation represents a novel effort by a public health agency to use motion comics to engage and educate young people about the risks of HIV and STDs through entertainment and animation.

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NIOSH Ladder Safety ApplicationLadder Safety: NIOSH has an App for That

30°, 63°, 75° incline? Do you know the proper angle to use when setting up a ladder? You may be surprised, but ladder-related injuries account for $11 billion dollars each year. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) decided to take this challenge head on developed a Ladder Safety app.  The first of its kind for the industry, the app uses the latest safety research and smart phone technology to deliver free, innovative and easy-to-use ladder positioning tools, checklists, and guides into the hands of ladder users where and whenever they are needed.  This app is available for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

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We would like to thank all of the teams for their participation and their willingness to test, experiment and challenge the status quo. Ultimately, government is a customer service organization – it is imperative on us to test and adopt new ways of providing services and information, which is why, the work of these teams, and teams like them is so important.

More information on HHS Innovates can be found on the HHS Innovates page.